Dynamix has once again created an incredible historical simulation of air combat with Red Baron 3D. Red Baron I and II were well received with their excellent take on World War I air combat, and Red Baron 3D brings back the excellence with the wonders of 3D accelerator technology and much, much more.
The game boasts a number of good features such as 3D planes, buildings, bridges, and the occasional skydiving pilot (without a parachute). Also, the Glide-enabled features really add to the fun and realism of the game. The sound effects must also be mentioned as a feature because they were really extensive, from the sputtering of the engine every once in a while, to the groan of the pilot as a bullet hits him. Also, the multiplayer is rather good because of the constant online war going on. WON.net has a WWI scenario up and players run the battles and determine the outcome. Even though it has a small following, it is still pretty cool.
The gameplay in Red Baron 3D is really very good with the ability to alter a large number of realism settings to change how the planes fly and whether or not you die. Though the maps can be big, and the planes are slow, there is a time compression feature that is very useful. The missions are varied, as is the campaigns and the Fly Now feature can be set to random, or preset, and pits you against enemy aircraft every specified number of minutes. Without radar and guided systems, the game really tests your dogfighting skills and determination. Online play will also test you because it can get pretty hairy if there is more than 5 people in a close-quarter dogfight, which there usually is. If there is lag, though, it is really hard to fight, because even hitting an enemy takes a whole lot of work. In the end, though, it is worth it to see the plane spiral to the ground and explode.
The graphics in Red Baron 3D are superb and beyond expectations for a beefed up simulator. Normally, you would expect a few additions here and there, and the graphics would be somewhat nicer than in other versions, and if you expected that, you would be thrilled with what they have really done. Everything from the cockpit being wrecked as you take hits to the propeller actually looking like a propeller (amazing, huh?) has been added. I couldn't tell you how awesome it was to see the flames fly up from the cockpit as the engine overheated and the plane spiraled down. I really don't think I've been excited about crashing this much in my life. That's not all. As I managed to jump out of the plane, and as it crashed, I could see myself burning as I hit the ground.
Now, don't think the game is gory, because it isn't (it has an E rating from the ESRB, that means its for everyone), its just very detailed. Also it doesn't have every single thing done in 3D and totally detailed, but rather all of the important aspects of the game. All of the planes' cockpits were different and had nicely done instrument panels. There is also fog and sun glare, and all those pretty nice additions.
The only thing negative that I can say is that you really really want a Glide-enabled card for this game. If you don't have one, it will still look very nice, but it just will not be the same. Oh yes, I mustn't forget about the transparent cockpit feature as well, even though I really did not use it.
The sound effects are excellent to say the least. Dynamix paid really good attention to what it would be like to be inside of a WWI aircraft, and recreated it excellently. From hearing the creaking of the frame of the aircraft as you take a tight turn to the engine sputtering out, there are a lot of sounds that can be heard. You'll hear a groan or two if you are wounded by bullets, and you hear as they tear through your plane as well. One of the ambient sounds that pervades is the sound of the German towns as they prepare for an air strike. The air raid siren turns on, and a loud bell begins the gong. If there are any anti-aircraft guns, you'll hear them as well.
Overall, this is a very good game which I would recommend to anyone who likes simulators. The game requires real skill and patience, and is very challenging. The graphics are well done, and the sound effects are very nice. I must say that when I saw the huge historical section in the manual, I was really impressed because most games seem to forget about making a good manual. History pervades the game, and if you like simulators, or you like historical action, you will love this game.
People who downloaded Red Baron 3D have also downloaded:
Red Baron, Red Baron II, Flying Corps Gold, Aces over Europe, Rowan's Battle of Britain, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator: WWII Europe Series, Wings of Glory, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater
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