A simulation that has you flying Mail runs from many different airports in one of 5 states of America.For a game that arrived some 24 years ago now, it still manages to feature an impressive amount of remarkable details for the time, such as VOR towers readings, DME, ILS, and coupled with the game aspect that is to deliver post, Solo Flight is clearly quite unlike what you will have played before
Score for choices made meaning you must ponder certain things like how much fuel you might need for each delivery.Each mail delivered is to a different airport but the option is also there to carry several loads, each an additional weight that needs to be taken into account.Having a heavier payload means burning more fuel and a difference to how the plane handles, but potentially a higher score can result.It's this design that makes Solo Flight so intensely fun each time
Various weather conditions such as clear, nightime, light cloud and even a heavy cloud that requires IFR skills.It's entirely possible to fly using just instruments in total cloud blindness up until the point you pop out of a cloud to see the runway hopefully as you had planned.Indeed an accurately planned route using both VORS can have yourself precisely lined up and ready for a final descent using ILS.
You really do need the maps though and attempting Solo Flight without them is fairly pointless - playing this seriously requires maps for VOR plotting.
Ever fancy yourself a flying postman? If yes, then I might have a game for you. Meet Solo Flight, the very first flight sim from MicroProse and the genius designer Sid Meier. In this little game, you fly a civilian single engine prop-driven plane across the US delivering mail.
You can play the game in 2 modes, training and actual mail run. The training mode actually give you basic knowledge needed to play much more complex sims, like how to take off and how to perform basic navigation, and how to handle different weather conditions. Being a civilian flight sim, this is basically what you do... you know, don't expect any shooting.
So, what about the graphics then? Being an early 80's sim, don't expect much in this department. Pink landscape and cyan skies are the norm here for the PC version (The Amiga version is much, much nicer). For me, lying around without shooting while admiring photo-realistic environment like in Flight Unlimited 3 is fine. Or having a tense action while viewing a 4 color CGA graphics is also fine (F-19 came to mind). But Solo Flight simply has neither, and for me, this little game is a pass.
In my opinion, Solo Flight is ulimately only good as a historical interest-- a proof of Sid Meier's ingenuity and a reminder of how much we have gone with today's graphics. Why didn't I say today's gameplay as well? Simply because for a civilian flight sim, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with Solo Flight's gameplay. A flying postman is no bad idea at all.
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