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Wings over Vietnam PC CD-ROM

Published by Altitude
Developed by Third Wave
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Wings over Vietnam, an introduction.

As disastrous as wars are there can be no denying that when it comes to books, films and games wars are very appealing. However, there are some exceptions to this. The Vietnam War for instance has always been very unappealing. Naturally there are many valid issues for this being so and it's far beyond the scope of a games website to talk about such matters. However, games based on the war in Vietnam haven't really been that successful when compared with games based on World War II. Nevertheless here we have another game based on the war in Vietnam, Wings over Vietnam, so let's see how it shapes up.

What's the game about?

Wings over Vietnam offers you the chance to take part in 3 dynamic campaigns, Rolling Thunder, Linebacker I and Linebacker II, as well as an Instant Action mode and a Single Mission mode. In Single Mission Mode you'll get the chance to create your own mission and you're allowed to select the mission date, aircraft, mission type (MIG combat air patrol, escort, strike, close air support, iron hand and armed reconnaissance), mission map, weather, enemy air activity and enemy air defence. If you don't want to spend several minutes choosing each of these options you can simply opt for the Instant Action mode which will then randomly choose all of the options for you and put you straight into the cockpit. The multiplayer mode is for LAN games only.

What's good about the game?

Wings over Vietnam offers a nice collection of aircraft from a time period that's not been covered a great deal. There are 5 variations of the F-4 Phantom II, 4 variations of the A-4 Skyhawk, the F-100D Super Sabre, F-105D Thunderchief, F-8E Crusader and the A-6A Intruder along with 2 variations of the A-7 Corsair II. Before a mission you'll get to use the Loadout screen to tinker with the fuel loads and ammunition as well as choosing the paint scheme and other details for each of the aircraft in the squadron which is a nice touch.

What's not so good about the game?

Wings over Vietnam whilst certainly not a bad game, in fact it's quite good, is below the high standards that we've come to expect from air combat simulations. The biggest gripe I have is that there is no tutorial. The game manual certainly covers all the questions you might have about what does what in the game, but if you haven't played an air combat simulation before I wouldn't advise beginning with Wings over Vietnam unless you're prepared to do a lot of reading from the manual. I found the missions in the game quite bland. The 3 campaigns in the game are all dynamic but mission variations are not as exciting (or as varied) as they should be. I personally would have preferred at least one of the campaigns to have been scripted and to have offered a great degree of variation of mission objectives. The briefings that you are given for each mission don't seem to be as informative as they should be, which again is disappointing.

How does it look?

The flight simulation genre has always been one for high graphical standards given the likes of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and Lock On: Air Combat Simulation. Whilst Wings over Vietnam doesn't look as impressive as these two titles it certainly looks OK. The terrain graphics are quite basic and are a bit of a disappointment to be honest. The aircraft models are fine but if you're an enthusiast who buys a lot of games in this genre, then you'll find them a little below standard in regards to the cockpit textures which look blurry when zoomed in.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Wings over Vietnam is subtitled and the subtitles are enabled by default. Briefings are given in text and the information on the Planning Map, Loadout Screen and Flight Roster screens is all in text. Communications during flight are shown in text too, although it does disappear rather quickly. In fact the text often disappears before the actual speech does. You'll have to be able to read quickly to catch all of the information before it disappears, which is not as it should be. There aren't any captions for any of the warning sounds which is disappointing given that the developers went to the trouble to put subtitles in the game; you would have thought including captions would have been a certainty.

Final thoughts.

All things considered, Wings over Vietnam is a decent air combat simulation but it lacks sparkle. The campaigns, which are the heart of the game, are bland and lack variation which means that they will struggle to hold your interest. The game could have done with a tutorial to make it more accessible to those who aren't used to the complexities of a combat flight simulation. That said however the game isn't as complex as some combat flight simulations (such as Lock On for instance), so the learning curve is not as steep as it might otherwise be. If you're interested in the aircraft used in Vietnam, you might want to give the game a look but otherwise it's tough to recommend.


Overall Game Rating: 6.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Wings over Vietnam is a solid air combat simulation but it lacks a scripted campaign. What's here is OK but it's rather bland and the game definitely lacks sparkle.