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     " If you don’t need to shoot at something every time you turn the computer on check out Hangsim. "

   Title: Hangsim by Wilco

   Format: PC

   Reviewing Monkey: Cornelius

   The Hype: Ahh… the wonders of free-flight. Flight without the constant drone of a 250 horse lycoming, or the annoying buzzer of an enemy missile lock. Pilot hang gliders, parasails, ultralights, and gliders over photo-realistic landscapes. Bask in the picturesque glory of Torrey Pines, California; soaring without a sound like an eagle at wing. Oh my god, did I just say that? Can a sim with no Jet-A (aviation fuel for the uninitiated) or GPS guided bombs make it in today’s lock and load world? Read on monkey-maniacs.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: The graphics are very pretty. Gliders look like gliders, clouds look like clouds. The pilots in hang gliders actually run on the ground to gain speed, and then pull their legs up after jumping off a cliff. The photo-realistic scenery looks stunning when you are at altitude. Wilco added shadows to objects like groups of trees and this gives the illusion of depth even though it is texture mapped. There are times when I was fooled into thinking the ground had actual 3-D objects on it. Of course this illusion is ruined when flying near the earth, but at altitude it is gorgeous. Wilco ingeniously decided to include the option of making thermals visible. When just beginning to learn the game this is a tremendous help. The graphics of it could have been a little better. As it stands the thermals look like giant champagne bubbles woven with acid induced hallucinations boiling out of the ground. Ignore the flash backs and you’ll do fine. SPIDERS EVERYWHERE…GET THEM OFF ME…AAAAGGHHH!!! The coolest aspects of the graphics are the maps. They are satellite photographs of the world’s best soaring locals. There were times I spent longer studying the maps than flying the challenge. 4 OUT OF 5

   Sound: It’s a free-flight sim. Need I say more. Make good wind noises and you have your sound. Actually there are Ultralights, and a motorized glider whose engines sound just as annoying as their real-life Rotax counterparts. Yep, when you go faster the wind sound is louder, when you go slowly the wind sound is minimal. The music is probably the greatest aspect. Melodic, heavenly, soothing harp, violin and soft plinking sounds put lift under your wings and it allows you to slip earth’s surly bonds. As a warning however, you may go into a frothing-at-the-mouth, assault-gun-wielding, McDonald-land killing spree if you listen for too long. I will deny any accusations. 2 out of 5

   Game Play: For those of you who thrive on mach 2 flight and kills at BVR (beyond visual range), this is not the game for you. On the other hand, purists who enjoy the Schwitzer in MS Flight Sim will love this game. Wilco has made an excellent flight model for the free-fliers, and they are not very far from the real thing. Instead of throwing in a ton of poorly designed aircraft, Hangsim has 7 aircraft, each with accurate flight modeling. There are 4 flight modes; free flight, challenge, competition, and fun flight, and a create a flight mode as well. Competition is probably the most fun. There are 3 levels of difficulty and each one has several flights to choose from. Generally they are race to the finish, or fly the farthest, etc. They are usually an interesting mix of environmental and geographical challenges, while trying to beat other competitors. The environmental physics in the game are great, wind blowing over a ridge acts just like the real thing. This game will teach you more than any other flight sim to be constantly aware of the weather. Okay for the death and destruction types Wilco has added fun flight. Wherein you pilot any one of the craft, only armed with rockets. Yes, the object is to shoot down the other gliders. What makes this fun is in addition to shoot and avoid being shot, you also have to worry about staying aloft! Interesting twists on the old death-match, unless you are a wuss pilot who has to have an engine to bail him out. 4 out of 5

   Level and Environment Designs: I have on major beef with Wilco here: Four of the fight arenas are in France! When you think about it, it figures that the French would have gunless gliders, probably explains their propensity for surrender. Other wise the scenery is gorgeous, and the environment is real. These aren’t made up places, simians, and all the places in the game are the great soaring areas around the world. They are recreated faithfully too, right down to small streams and shopping mall parking lots complete with cars. Wilco went to a lot of trouble to make this look pretty so enjoy. The only real problem is a lack of 3D objects on the ground; trees and buildings would have been extra cool. 3.5 out of 5

   Multiplayer: No multiplayer. Why Wilco didn’t add this I don’t know. Maybe they thought that there wouldn’t be enough flight sim geeks who would want to fly gliders together, and therefore they wouldn’t have to include it. If you ask me, and you are by reading this, Hangsim would have benefited through multiplayer. It would have been fun to race each other and the death match with gliders would have been and interesting twist. 0 out of 5

   Replayability: If you can replay Flight Sim over and over again, you will certainly be able to do the same on this one. The added challenge of no engine really adds a new dimension to your flying, and testing your skills is what will keep you coming back. 3.5 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: No story, therefore no rating. Really doesn’t need one anyway. What were you expecting; Race around the world, rescue priceless artifacts from large-breasted, gun toting, tomb-raiding thieves, only to sail off into the sunset on wing made of silk? (Maybe that would have been cool….) No rating

   Instructions and Learning Curve: The instruction book is great. In addition to telling you about the game and the other standard fare, you will also receive a short lesson on both aerodynamics and meteorology. Knowing what keeps the aircraft aloft and how best to use it is absolutely necessary, and Wilco does a great job of simplifying very complicated material into a short understandable lesson. Mastering the elements on the other hand could take a long time. Which is why this game is fun, don’t expect to stay airborne forever on your first few flights. 4 out of 5

   Installation and Real System Requirements: Installation was a snap, and here are the digits. Pentium 200 MMX, D3D compatible video card, sound card, 32 Megs of RAM and finally 190 MB on the hard drive. When you see how pretty this game, and how complicated the flight model can be, you’ll understand why the requirements are a little on the high side. 4 out of 5

   The Verdict:

       If you like flight sims a lot you should enjoy this game. And no, downloading gliders for Flight Sim 2000 will not get you the same result as Hangsim.

   The Good: Incredible flight model, and gorgeous terrain. A unique and interesting addition to your flight sim library.

   The Bad: Definitely would have benefited from multiplayer. And the soothing music has the potential to turn you into a numbed, drooling, mouth-breather. Who am I kidding, if you’re reading this you are already anyway.

   The Overall Ugly: If you don’t need to shoot at something every time you turn the computer on check out Hangsim. If you do, you probably also worry about your penis size, and try to prove your manhood by killing everyone in multiplayer games by cheating.

   What it's Worth: You will not be disappointed if you spend $25 on this game.

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