September 22, 2000

Deadly Skies

Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Origin RRP

CRI's Aero Dancing may have been the first flying game to be released on the Dreamcast, but that by no means ensures that it has cornered the market. In fact, Konami's Deadly Skies, which is know as Air Force Delta in Japan, will probably appeal to more people then CRI's aerobatics title. Looking at Deadly Skies for the first time leaves you with the impression that Konami have had a long look at Namco's Air Combat series on the Playstation and then borrowed many ideas. Similarities between the two are easy to spot.

Konami have struggled as a company in recent years. Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation was the companies' first big title outside Japan for years. Konami's shift to the Dreamcast appears, graphically at least, to have been another great decision. Reviews from Japan for Air Force Delta were quite positive with a magazine scores generally above 75%.

But good reviews didn't translate into good sales as Air Force Delta struggled to sell in Japan. Sales in the first week were a disappointing 26,984 units (compare that to over 150,000 for Soul Calibur and around 400,000 for Resident Evil : Code Veronica). One interesting thing to note is that the game uses the ASCII Mission Stick, a flying controller. It is highly doubtful that this controller will ever be seen in large quantities in Australia and the standard joypad will have to suffice for most.

With a release date of early March now pencilled in for Australia it will be interesting to see how this game is received. I wouldn't expect it to be a huge seller due to an overall perception that flight sims are for PC's, not consoles. It's a shame that the game didn't include some online play. Sure, it would have tested even the fastest internet connection, but it would have been a great boost to the Dreamcasts' online gaming. How about a sequel Konami?