Review by BigJohnBoy 1

Reviewed: 10/22/03

Fly high with this masterpiece!

Introduction - This game was released back in 1997 on the Nintendo 64 home entertainment system. It was developed by Paradigm simulations (Who formerly made military simulation software), and was distributed by Nintendo as a first generation N64 game. On a similar note, it is a sequel to a SNES game of the same name.

First off, this review is coming from a person who first played this when it was fresh on the shelves, back in the early days of the Nintendo 64. Back then, then sheer amount of detail in the visuals was astounding, and still to this day, I sit in awe as I 'Birdman' around the Little States stage.

Gameplay - Well if I was to put this game into a gameplay genre, it would have to be 'Flight Sim', but don't let the title of the genre fool you.

When you start the game for the first time you are presented with 3 missions and also 6 characters (With the standard 'light, medium and heavy' attributes) to choose from. As soon as you earn a bronze medal on one of the 3 missions (you can choose between 'Hang glider, Rocket pack or Gyro chopper' vehicle category) you progress to the next difficulty in that category of vehicle. There are 4 difficulties for each category of vehicle (Beginner, Class A, Class B, Pilot Class), and as soon as you complete a class with all 3 vehicles, you earn a bonus game, but I won't spoil that for you ;)

Story - Story? To be honest there is no story to speak of, except to win gold medals in all vehicle category.

Graphics - Now, this is another key area where this game excels. The game areas are huge (and I mean HUGE!) and there is no real slowdown to speak of. The game is packed full of tiny details and quirky effects. (For example, if you were to fly into a tiny cave on Crescent Island, when you get all the way into the cave, the game changes from day to night outside.)

I must say that the only gripe that I have with this games visuals are that I have only ever owned and played the PAL version, and as we all know, first generation Nintendo 64 titles were renowned for having astounding black borders at the top and bottom of the screen, so an ambition of mine I would say is to obtain an NTSC machine and play games such as this, Mario 64 and Waverace 64 in their fullscreen NTSC glory.

Sound - When flying around the games stages admiring the scenery in all it's glory, one would need a fitting musical score to accompany it, and fortunately this game has one!

The music is uplifting, yet soothing in its own way. Also the vehicles sound authentic (even when piloting the hang glider, you can hear the wind rushing over the wings)

Play Time/Replayability - These days after years of playing this game to death, one can achieve all gold medals within a couple of hours. But, for a newbie to the game, this game could go a couple of weeks until it has been anywhere near mastered.

This game has lasted me six years, and I still have no qualms about reaching for the tattered old box in which it is housed, for a quick blast once in a while.

Final Recommendation - Well to be honest, there is absolutely nowhere that you can pick up this game from brand new, so you will need to check the bargain basement at your local games emporium, or you could check out some online auctions in order to catch this game.

For the gamer that is in two minds whether to pick this game up I say that this is gaming entertainment at its purest. I can solemnly say, hand on my heart, that you will not regret buying this masterpiece.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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