Nations: WWII Fighter Command simulates combat flight on several fronts during WWII. It features replicated cockpits from combat aircraft belonging to the American, British and German air forces and bases gameplay on 45 historically accurate missions that took place between the years 1939-1945.
In addition to the 12 major combat fighters offered during gameplay (four each from America, Germany and Great Britain), another 22 are featured including four from Italy. The main dozen aircraft have extensive documentation in the manual that covers such information as dimensions, powerplant, armament, specifications, names and nicknames, performance specifications and range. A picture of each cockpit layout is provided with specific explanations for usable gauges, levers and their functions.
Tactics of air warfare are covered in considerable depth and include topics pertaining to positioning, deflection shooting, speed and altitude, maneuverability and specific battles. The manual also covers flight basics in detail including forces, angles of attack, views, take-off, landing and turning conventions, climbing and diving, weaponry usage, radio communications and maps.
Specific modes in Nations: WWII Fighter Command include single-player missions, training, instant action and multi-player action for up to 16 players over a LAN or the Internet. Mission types (instant action) encompass one-on-one, squadron duels, bomber escorts and interceptions, fighter interceptions, opportunity targeting, anti-shipping strikes, ground targets, surprise ambushes and scrambles.
There are three campaigns in the game featuring 15 historically researched missions each for the American, German and British air forces with three options for difficulty. After creation of your onscreen pilot, the game tracks uncompleted missions, offers mission briefings, replay of movie sequences, completed missions, medals earned, mission replay, commendations and rank progression (USA: Lieutenant, Captain, Major; Germany: Ober Leutnant, Hauptmanm, Major; Great Britain: Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant, Squadron Leader).
Relive the glory days of combat flight during WWII in Nations: WWII Fighter Command.
Nations WWII Fighter Command is the first attempt from Psygnosis at a flight simulator and they claimed on the box that Nations would have "True flight physics," "Incredibly realistic and detailed fighters," and "Unsurpassed graphics." Did they succeed?
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The main menu offers the usual options such as Campaign, Multiplayer, Instant Action, Training, etc. In the training missions, you can choose takeoff/landing practice, target practice, and "shake one off" where you start the mission in a defensive position. The training missions allow you to get used to the very unusual flight model. Unusual, because it is so unrealistic. Your plane will not stall or go into an uncontrolled spin if you are too excessive at the controls. As a matter of fact, you can shut off the engine and drift practically to a dead stop before you begin losing altitude. This is at the Ultra-Realistic setting for the flight model! I couldn't tell much difference between this and the other two settings: Realistic and Relaxed. Some other strange quirks are the fact that you have to press the "J" key to activate your joystick for each mission and bringing your throttle back to idle actually shuts off the engines. Applying a bit more throttle than the minimum will keep the engines running at an idle. The Instant Action option would be better named Single Missions because there is nothing instant about them. From the Instant Action menu there are ten missions from which to choose, ranging from ground strike, escort, and intercept missions to air-to-air duels. After selecting your mission, you can choose which airplane you wish to fly, set the AI difficulty and flight model realism, and read the mission briefing then you are ready to go. There is one campaign which consists of 15 canned missions for each of the three nationalities: U.S., British, and German. You cannot advance to the next mission until you have successfully flown the prior one. There are 12 flyable aircraft including some unique aircraft that are not usually featured in WWII flight simulations. Most notably, the Me-163 rocket powered plane is featured along with the Curtiss P-40, Hawker Typhoon, and DeHavilland Mosquito. The other more usual planes consist of the P-51, P-38, P-47, Hurricane and Spitfire, and the Me-262, Fw-190, and Bf-109.
Nations supports IPX (LAN) and TCP/IP (Internet) connections. Multiplayer games feature various power ups that you can fly through to gain shields, speed up effects, invincibility, health, 2x damage, and so on that will help you forget about the "Incredibly Realistic" flight simulation that Psygnosis boasts about on the box. The real trick will be finding someone else who has the game and is willing to invest the time and frustration playing with such a poor simulation.
The terrain graphics consist of repeating green farmlands with some mountain textures placed between them every now and then. The mountains are all pyramid shaped and the clouds are blocky and blurry to look at either from far away or at close range. There are occasionally some cool graphic effects in Nations when your plane takes damage. For example, if you lower your landing gear above 180 MPH, they will rip off in the wind and some of the crash effects are done well. Blue smoke can be seen coming out of the engine manifolds when the engine sputters from starting and stopping. For some planes, your forward view is looking through the motion-blurred propeller which is a cool and realistic effect not seen in most of the other WWII simulations.
Probably the best feature of this game is the sound effects. They are realistic sounding and the explosions, gunfire, and rocket sounds are all crisp and clear and done right. The aircraft engines will cough at low idle however the engine sounds don't always seem to correspond with the engine RPMs.
Nations leaves me with a feeling that this game was released before it was finished. There are some very nice details but even more incomplete features. A terrible flight model, inconsistent graphics, and poor campaigns make this simulation boring and lacking immersion.
People who downloaded Nations: WWII Fighter Command have also downloaded:
Jane's WWII Fighters, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater, Rowan's Battle of Britain, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator: WWII Europe Series, Pacific Fighters, MiG-29 Fulcrum, Mig Alley, Lock On: Modern Air Combat
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