World Airports

Published by Just Flight
Developed by Simflyers
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Price £24.99
Requires: MS Flight Sim 2000/2002
Released: Out Now

If you've played Microsoft Flight Simulator you'll know that although they claim to have virtually all the airports in the world, this isn't strictly true. If you look at an airport in Flight Simulator you'll notice a shocking lack of detail in regards to buildings, other aircraft etc. In fairness to Microsoft it would be a mammoth undertaking to include detail such as this and what we have instead is a vague representation of the airport.

Of course as you all know Microsoft have always made their flight simulators accessible to be tinkered with by developers who have a) the skill and b) the time and c) the devotion to create add-ons for just about every aspect of the simulation. What we have in World Airports is a collection of nine lovingly recreated airports from around the world. The airports included are Atlanta, Bari, Dallas, Los Angeles, Manchester, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia and Rome.

Now I know some of you that are reading this will be experts and will probably have travelled the world and know exactly what these airports look like and maybe even be able to find the odd discrepancy with some of the details so I am not going to be dishonest and claim that I know what all of these airports look like. However I can say that to me they are very impressive and definitely take the simulation to the next level. In fact you'll find planning flights to and from the included airports preferable to those included in Microsoft Flight Simulator because of their sheer detail.

What surprised me with World Airports was the inclusion of Marshallers and electronic docking guidance systems. There's 3 different types of electronic docking guidance systems, US type 1, US type 2 and Rome. Thankfully the manual explains fully how to use all of these types in great detail so even novices like me can appreciate it.

There are also a couple of extra features included in World Airports. There's an operating jetDock, a docking bridge, that can be used when you've arrived in one of the included airports. There is also a serviceArmada, you know the service entourage that meets an aeroplane upon arrival in an airport. To see both of these features you'll have to have your scenery settings, in Flight Sim itself, set to extremely dense. The methods of using these two wonderful additions is fully explained in the excellent, accompanying manual. There is also a de-icing facility at Manchester, Philadelphia, and Newark airports. This feature is only available between the 1st November and 31st March, although the way the weather is here in the UK it probably should be available for longer in Manchester. Finally there is a 'Follow Me' vehicle that can be driven around the airports to allow you to fully appreciate the visual splendour of them all.

Of course it's difficult to sum up the quality of a title such as World Airports. The included airports look absolutely fantastic. Using an AMD Athlon XP2000+ CPU and a GeForce4 Ti4200 there wasn't too much of a dip in the framerate, which is very surprising given the huge detail in the airports. It's expansions of this quality that have made Flight Simulator the phenomenon that it is today. The depth and quality it adds are fantastic and that fact that the airports have static aircraft really adds atmosphere. During one of my sessions I landed in Manchester and requested to park the 737. On my way I was requested to wait whilst another aeroplane prepared for take off. It was dark and the airport was lit up like a Christmas tree and directly in my line of view I could the see airport in all it's glory with the aircraft moving down the runway. The whole thing looked unbelievable and very, very satisfying.

Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10 Outstanding. Any owner of Flight Simulator 2000/2002 should not be without this wonderful expansion pack. You'll find yourself avoiding the other airports and flying exclusively to the ones brought to life in World Airports.

Deaf Gamers comment: As with Flight Simulator 2002 there are no problems at all with World Airports.