Game Reviews for PC, PS2, X-Box, Playstation, CCGs, Pen and Paper Role Playing and Table Top Games, plus Movies, DVDs, and Anime!


     " Smooth as your arteries after 10 Big Macs. "

   Title: Mig Alley by Empire

   Format: PC

   Reviewing Monkey: Cornelius

   The Hype: Experience the dawn of jet combat by reenacting the Korean air war. Intense dogfighting, authentic aircraft, and excellent AI combine to make this the breakthrough flight sim of the year. Russian MiG 15ís vs. American F-86 Sabres. Finally a game with the speed of jets, and without getting shot down by antiaircraft missiles before you engage in your first dogfight.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: Damn! The graphics here are prettier than flight sim 2000. All the aircraft are beautifully rendered, and you will spend more time staring at the sun glinting off the canopy than chasing pinko commies to the deck. Damaged aircraft show nicely and tracerís trail beautiful into their burning carcasses. 5 out of 5

   Sound: Have I mentioned this game is cool. It is. Pull Gís and your pilot groans and grunts, pull more and you will hear the sound of your wing spars creaking and protesting under the strain. The jets sound very authentic. If you have a killer set of speakers and neighbors to piss off, crank the sound, run those turbojets up to full power and duck. Ever actually heard those very first turbojets? I donít think they actually produced thrust; rather the deafening roar propelled these jets at near supersonic speeds. Mig Alley faithfully reproduces that racket here for those with testosterone imbalances (like all good monkeys should have). Your wingmen also have decent phrases, which amazingly enough do not become annoying. And no, for once a game where they donít constantly scream for help. Radio communications are easy and useful for once. Empire went the extra mile to make the sound awesome and you can tell. 5 out of 5

   Game Play: The only element missing here was the fear of being subpoenaed by Joe McCarthy. Heh Heh. Not that I have anything to worry about. Donít listen to what they say, those werenít my books, and NO, I do not subscribe to Hammer and Sickle Weekly. And that statue of Stalin is a war souvenir. Oh God! Please donít let them take me!! I love capitalism! U-S-A! U-S-A! Actually maybe this game is too real. What makes it so real you ask? Aside from an astoundingly accurate flight model (note: even on easy flight mode this game is tough, beginning flight simmers may want to try something a little easier), Mig Alleyís campaign mode is far and away the best ever seen in a full-on flight sim. Not only do you get to command the whole allied air attack on North Korea, you also can fly as many of those missions as you want, and your success affects the outcome of the war. Yes, you heard me right, no more linear mission lines to follow, with seemingly no purpose other than to protect bombers, or destroy a rail yard. You can make a difference. Some one should stop me now before I start telling you to vote too. P.S. did I mention the flight model rocks? Oh yeah, you can fly aircraft from either side (16 flyable), and if your machine can handle it around 150 aircraft in the skies. 5 out of 5

   Level and Environment Designs: Empire basically one-upped Combat Flight Sim hear. The same texture mapped terrain, accurately depicting the Korean Peninsula. Of course I have no idea if the peninsula is accurately depicted or not but it sure seems this is what Korea would look like, and besides you have no idea either, so shut up. Mig Alley has added trees and forests though, so the ground has more texture to it, which is nice. Also almost all the towns and villages are 3D so when you hit the deck you can fly around huts and apartment buildings. Crank up the weather effects for realistic crosswind landings, and clouds so real youíll wish you had an instrument rating. Another great feature added by Empire is the contrail from the big turbojets at altitude. 4 out of 5

   Multiplayer: Up to eight on the web or over IPX connection. Which for most flight sims is fairly standard. It would have been great though to have epic dogfights of hundreds of planes. Maybe next year. One cool feature that was added is the ability to fly with friends and have AI controlled enemies. Finally, an end to the never-ending death-match! 3 out of 5

   Replayability: With stunning visuals, a killer strategic engine (youíll read about it in a few) and vintage Korean-era fighters, including the P-51 Mustang, any flight sim freak will love this game. The campaign mode is huge, and you can play it from both sides. Need I say more? 4.5 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: Excuse me? An actual flight simulator where targets youíve assigned and the success of your missions actually affect the outcome of the war? This canít be. And yet no matter how many times I play it is always the same, badass. Not since Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (warning: you will be dating yourself if you admit to remembering this game) has a flight sim let you make tactical decisions and then fly the mission(s) youíve assigned and affect the overall outcome of the war effort. 5 out of 5

   Instructions and Learning Curve: An excellent instruction book that really helps. It seems that empire can do no wrong. The book is well laid out, and is very informative, without becoming VCR instructions. As an added bonus Empire threw in The F-86 vs. The MiG-15 a side-by-side comparison of the two aircraft written by a squadron leader of the RAF. This is the same material handed out to Allied pilots during the war. For flight sim geeks, it doesnít get any better than this. 5 out of 5

   Minimum Sys RequirementsMinimum a P-166, realistically P-II. We run it on a K62-450 and it hums along just dandy. Youíll definitely want a good video card and at least 32 Megs of RAM

   The Verdict:

       An excellent buy for flight sim buffs. The fun of jet-to-jet combat with out the annoying surface to air missiles or BVR kills. A true guns and guts flight sim that delivers time and again. The flight model is incredible, and the game is smooth as your arteries after 10 Big Macs.

   The Good: This whole game dammit.

   The Bad: If I have to pick something I guess Iíd say the multiplayer was just average, but I only say it cause they make me.

   The Overall Ugly: Great graphics, great gameplay, great flight model, great instructions, great fun. This game is GRRRRREEEAAAAAATTT! Now Kelloggís will probably sue me.

   What it's Worth: Whatever its going for now.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

Copyright © Game Monkey Press, Game Monkeys Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Game Monkeys(tm) 1999 Game Monkey Press

http://www.gmpress.com