Thursday, 5 January 2017

SNES review 109: Wings 2/Blazing SKies

So the title I am going to talk about today is actually a game I accidently purchased twice, how do you accidentally buy a game twice well in this case it has something to do with the fact that it has a diffrent title in each of the 3 regions 1 of which essentially makes it a sequel to an Amiga game. In Japan the game is called Sky Mission, in Europe it is called Blazing Skies and it is in America where it has sequel status and is calledWings 2: Aces High. For the purpose of this review I have been playing the two versions I own the European and the American.

Now the first thing that attracted me to this game was the fact it involved planes, there have been some flying games I have absolutly adored but in both cases when I decided to buy it there was really 2 main factors one was the low price and the other was that it had the Namco brand on it.I have said before that you just have to see certain video game companies logos and you automatically feel safe in buying one of there products and I find that this is usually true with Namco, there is a big issue here though Namco didnt make the game they simply published it, it was made by a Studio called Malibu Interactive who have a far worse pedegree than Namco, in fact I can only think of about 2 of there titles that I actually enjoy one of them being Ex-Mutants on the MegaDrive. I guess this is an example of how having the right publisher can help a title because if I had realised this game was by them I would have been far slower in reaching for my wallet. I am not even sure of how this became a sequel to Wings as that was both made and publised by Cinemaware although I believe by the time Wings 2 was released they had gone bankrupt so maybe the rights were brought up or something, either way its not really anything to do with it and is pretty much just a game about the same sort of thing which is a sequel in name alone.

So as far as the story goes all you need to know is that its set during World War I and basically your overall mission is to destroy Kaiser Wilhelm II's factories, out fly his best pilots and generally do your best to put a significant dent in his war efforts. As the game is set during World War I, you'll be using biplanes from that era and there limitations are pretty much stuck to, there are no lock on missiles or fling like a nut with no fear of stalling here and there is no radar system, sure this makes it close to the truth of what it would have been like but in some cases it doesn't make for the best of games.

This game has three different kinds of missions. There are the dogfighting ones basically plane against plane in the sky try to knock as many of them out while trying to survive yourself. These missions become harder and harder as the enemy AI/Pilots improve as the game progresses. You will really have a tough time on your hands moving all over the place trying to outmanoeuvre the enemy Since your flying a WW1 era biplane you can only shoot at enemies that are directly in front of you and some of them can be pretty darn tricky when it comes to getting them to stay still long enough for you to get enough shots of to down them.

Then there are bombing missions, in these you fly far overhead an area and you drop bombs on strategic military sites while watching out for anti-aircraft attacks coming from soldiers on the ground. You get shown a photograph of the target before the mission so you know what and where you are bombing but there is one important thing to remember and that is that you can not physically turn your plane around during these missions so if you miss something then you've missed it.

There are also what the game refers to as "strafing runs". In these you fly your plane at a low altitude and you have to wipe out targets that are described during the mission briefing. This doesn't sound so tough but you seem to fly like a bat out of hell so its very easy to miss lots of things and fail the mission.

Now I guess it sounds all nice and varied but in truth it just doesn't feel right, it feels boring, the graphics do the job but don't really do anything to excite you and there is no effort through the music or sound effects to really grab a hold of you, the controls work but also it all just feels kind of clinical and laboured, the dog fighting seems to play out kind of slowly, even the worst of enemies seem to be to good at avoiding you and it takes an age to just shoot down what you need to finish the stages even near the beginning of the game, this game commits the cardinal sin of gaming in that it simply is not fun. I found myself wanting to put this game down almost straight away, in fact I wanted to go back to one of the flying stages from Empire Strikes back and just play that a few times instead as that seemed to capture the thrill of dog fighting in a way this game didn't even come close to. You might think that I am just being a bit of a dick and simply prefer Sci Fi, well I am a huge fan of a lot of science fiction things but I have enjoyed other games involving old fashioned planes, heck Pilot wings was one of my favourite SNES games, I adored the plane flying in that.

I cant remember what I paid for my English copy of this game but I know I got the American one for £5 or less and in all fairness I think that's the kind of price it needs to be, its simply not fun or particularly interesting past the oh look there is a game I haven't played before buzz you will initially get when you see/try it. If you want it then remember I would only give it about 3 out of 10 and think your cash would be much better spent on well most other things... Online you can find pal cartridge only copies of this for about £7 but frankly I think that's to expensive for this game.

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