When the Battle of Britain was finally over the RAF had suffered losses totalling over three hundred, nothing compared with the twelve hundred plus German fighters and bombers which fell prey to Britain's Hurricanes and Spitfires. Though it looks slightly similar to Lucasfilms' other flight sim Battle Hawks, Their Finest Hour possess a far superior depth in both gameplay and design.
The first thing you'll want to check out are the planes. These range from single seat fighters such as the Spitfire through to medium bombers such as the German HE 111 and the JU 88. Each handles differently, with some of the larger planes coming equipped with tail guns, 20mm cannons and bombs. After browsing through the manual, you choose your mission. Fly a simple training combat mission against dummy fighters, or re-enact an actual battle. The nice thing here is the total versatility. All the way through the game you can set different game options, making things as easy or as hard as you want. It's great being able to go on a bombing run with an infinite payload.
As for the flight simulation itself, SubLogic fans, stay away. This isn't intended to be a simulator, the onus is on arcade action. As far as sim fanatics go, this isn't such a bad thing. Their Finest Hour is a hell of a lot of fun to play. On board your plane you have all the basic instruments, plus a map with regular radio reports of enemy positions. TFH is pre-radar so you need to rely on visual identification. The cockpits are nicely drawn, but it's the exterior views which are outstanding. All the planes are sprite based, so they're more detailed than the now - popular vector animations. When there are a lot of bogies around the screen update does slow and that detracts slightly from the action - but only slightly.
The dog-fighting in this game has got to be the most exciting I've seen. And then there are the explosions. The planes break up realistically, which is probably the best thing about the game. Clip the tail, and bits will start flying off. Get a good shot in, and the engine and fuel tank will explode, causing a glorious smoke-filled mess in the sky, before the wreckage plummets to the ground below. If you're lucky, you might even see the pilot bail out and drift earthward.
What more can I say, apart from it's amazing. The style of the game means instant appeal, and the sheer adaptability means you'll be playing for weeks. I wouldn't miss out on this even if you paid me.
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B17: Flying Fortress, Blue Max, Wings, Advanced Destroyer Simulator, F15 Strike Eagle 2, Birds of Prey, Battle of Britain (from TalonSoft), Silent Service 2
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