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Review by: Shawn Quigley
Published: October 13, 1997
Dating back to the original IBM PC, the first Microsoft Flight Simulator gave PC owners a glimpse into the future with its 3D monochrome line graphics. Now, many years later, we are given the opportunity to play Microsoft’s latest release in Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98. There have been many changes made to the original version. Obviously the technology used in today’s games is a far cry from what the PC could do just a few short years ago. Flight Simulator ’98 brings the latest advances in flight and computer technology to the table by bringing gamers one step closer to flying actual planes.
A native Windows 95 game, Flight Simulator ’98 offers gamers a good mix of planes and a wide range of airports and scenery from around the world. There are a total of more than 3,000 that you can fly to from within Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98. With the aid of Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98′s advanced instrumentation, flyers can fly around the globe, hopping from airport to airport.
Upon entering the game, players are introduced to several options. You can take lessons, fly a challenge, learn about aviation, or join a multiplayer game. If the most important thing for a computer game is to have depth, then Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98 succeeds. All of the planes and the Bell helicopter are accurately modeled after their real counterparts and have been verified by the appropriate authorities. There are a number of planes to fly including the 737 and the Lear jet, but the most difficult option in the game to fly is the Bell 206 Helicopter. It is difficult because a rotary-winged aircraft uses an entirely different set of controls than those used for an airplane.
Before you begin flying, it probably is a good idea that you understand the different flight characteristics of the planes. To do this you can access online guides and take interactive lessons to practice your techniques. All the manuals for flying the different planes are available online at the touch of a button. There are lesson flights that will give gamers the chance to learn the more difficult techniques, like flying under tougher weather conditions. These training flights are offered for just about every situation you could think of while flying. They start out with your basic take-offs and landings, and progress through night landings with difficult cross winds. This gives even the beginning pilot or the seasoned pro the chance to experience various levels of flying without losing too much patience.
Along with the lessons there is an in-depth look at flying and the different aircraft that make up Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98. You can access this information from the main menu screen. Everything about flying that you would like to know about is in these help screens. There are “walk-thrus” about flight school and the different levels of obtaining a license. From there you can take a more in-depth look into every plane that comes with Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98. The in-depth look covers everything from take-off checklists to the planes’ histories. You can get just about every characteristic on the planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98 from this area as well. The online help system that is built into Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98 can be accessed at any time while flying, so, if you forget something about a particular situation, you can quickly pull it up without having to leaf through a book to find it.
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