Air Warrior III
If you’ve played any of the previous Air Warrior games (and let’s be honest, not many people have) then you’ll likely be hit by an instant blast of deja vu the moment you start playing Air Warrior III. Even glancing through the manual will have you wonder which version of Air Warrior you’re looking at – being almost identical to the AW2 manual, it includes the page header “Playing Air Warrior II”. Quite an embarrassing omission.
The best descriptive word here is ‘evolution’, with Air Warrior III offering but a 3D-accelerated upgrade as well as extending the number of planes you can fly… nice additions, but hardly sequel material. Newcomers will likely get a kick out of the sheer volume of aircraft and regions encompassed in Air Warrior III, since this is one of the few if not only game that covers some fifty years of aviation and four great theaters of war in one single package (the Korean War, Pacific War, Second and First World War). You can fly both the Fokker Triplane or Soviet MIG, and they come with an outright encyclopedic volume of information.
This is the first 3D-enhanced version of Air Warrior, and the graphics are actually a big improvement over the previous version. The landscape is now textured, but objects still retain their flat geometric appearance. The cockpits, some of which could really use a facelift, have not been altered from Air Warrior II. This detracts from the whole game and could easily be improved.
The flight models are not bad. The aircraft seem to fly correctly, although there appear to be some problems with stalling and spinning in the full reality mode. It is next to impossible to get out of a spin as you quickly lose oil pressure the longer you are in the spin, and once oil pressure is gone the engine is also out. Glitches prove to be a constant irritant. While viewing the map screen, the sound cuts out, and at different points the game freezes. Remember to download the patch.
Overall, Air Warrior III isn’t terrible but it is lacking overall. The singleplayer function has improved since the second game was released but is still more of a training facility. Where this game really shined was its online multiplayer, but which unfortunately has been long shut down. Still, it’s got some potential provided you can get it to run on its native Windows 95/98 – the game will install and play in XP as well, but is awash with graphical glitches in that OS. In all, this is a flight sim you might enjoy for its sheer historical material, not gameplay depth.
System Requirements: Pentium 133 Mhz, 16 MB RAM, 2 MB D3D Card, 70 MB HDD, Win 95