April 8, 2000

Deadly Skies - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
VMU Game Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoMediumTBANoNo Small

It's been a long time coming but Konami's Deadly Skies is finally available in Australia. Released as Air Force Delta in Japan and America this game is a flight simulation similar in style to Namco's Air/Ace Combat with a few arcade aspects to it. But aren't flight simulators usually only found on high end PC's? Not any more.

Deadly Skies is an arcade styled flight simulator, which does have a story to it. As a pilot, you have been contracted by a mercenary organisation to complete over 20 missions to destroy the enemy. As you destroy the targets money is awarded to purchase new planes to help you in your next mission. There are over 30 planes to purchase including the F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, A-10 Thunderbolt, MiG 29, Su-27 and the top secret F-22 Raptor. Fortunately, unlike so many other flight sims each plane in Deadly Skies handles differently which increases the desire to earn enough money to buy more planes.

Before you start playing this game is imperative that you change the flight controls from Novice to Expert. If you don't do this you will be stuck with very simplistic controls which take away so much from the handling of the planes, including the abilty to do barrel rolls. The planes are all very responsive in this game and the controls are accurate while the game conveys a sense of speed rarely seen in console based flight sims.

One of the great things about Deadly Skies is the range of missions on offer. From normal dogfights to bombing runs to escorting other planes this game has it all. The targets are on land, on water and in the air. It is important to note that while this is a simulation the amount of ammunition you can carry is very high. You are given 60 missiles in each mission which still disappear very quick if you are not careful. It takes several missiles to destroy enemy targets, including their planes. Because of it's partial arcade slant, and contrary to it's detailed storyline, it is possible to pick up Deadly Skies and have a quick dogfight without having to wait for a lot of action.

Graphically Deadly Skies is solid while never reaching any sense of amazement. From the moment you start the first mission, which is based above a city, you realise that this is the best looking console flight sim ever. There is some fogging in the game but it is well into the distance and never becomes obtrusive. Unfortunately the frame rate can suffer a little, especially in confined spaces such as canyons. Texture joins are also apparent in places, although they are only noticeable when flying very low to the ground.

Sound in Deadly Skies is also pretty good with great stereo effects as the planes fly around you. Totally lacking however, is the radio chatter from your wing men which we've come to expect from flight sims these days. The music is adequate and is generally on pace with the game while never becoming annoying.

Compared to complex PC games such as Falcon 4.0, Deadly Skies falls well short of a next-generation, or even current-generation flight simulator. What must be remembered is that this game came out in July last year in Japan and was one of the first titles from Konami. Having said that Deadly Skies is probably the best flight simulator ever on a console. The graphics are great and the gameplay is furious with a variety in the missions. This is definately worth a look if you like action games.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall