by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Bombing runs occur later in the game as bombs became more frequently used during the war. You start out by receiving your mission briefing, giving your primary and secondary targets, similar to the strafing component of the game. Primary targets such as trains are simple but often you are tasked with destroying a certain building. If this is the case, you are given an aerial photo prior to the mission, pinpointing the desired location (or locations).
It is then off to the drop site, with the game taking a top-down view on proceedings and playing out like a classic vertical scroller. You guide your bomber around the screen, looking for your targets. Having only a limited number of bombs, you need to make each one count. Once you've located your target, it is simply a matter of dropping the bomb and watching with glee as it explodes. Aiming can be tricky at times, as you'll need to adjust for weather conditions. Here again, enemy AA placements will light up the skies in an attempt to bring you down.
Completing missions will eventually get you noticed by the Commanding Officer and will lead to promotions (assuming you don't get reprimanded for friendly fire or hitting Red Cross vehicles). Performing really well will also result in being awarded medals such as the Croix De Guerre or the Victoria Cross. Service records are kept, allowing gamers to view their progress as the war drags on.
The drama of the original Wings! remains, with the story lovingly played out in the journal entries of our hero, who starts off as a raw recruit looking to take on the Hun, but as the game progresses, you can see his demeanour change, suggesting that war wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. The journal entries (as well as the mission interludes) are all fully voiced, giving further sombreness to many of the entries and giving life to our hero.
Join the 56th Squadron
The small changes (apart from the visual upgrades) made to the game have slotted in well, improving an already loved game. The sound effects are fairly standard but still feel rewarding as you hear the sound of your Vickers machine gun hitting the enemy fuselage. The background music is wonderful as well, setting the tone during the game. An upbeat score plays during joyous moments, but more sombre music plays at times of trouble. If you played the original Wings! all those years ago, then you'll definitely enjoy the Wings! Remastered Edition. If you're a newcomer, there should be nothing stopping you from picking up a copy. Wings! Remastered Edition does everything right. The controls are easy to learn and although the flying is more arcade-style than simulator, it is a whole heap of fun. With the three difficulty levels and the ability to turn the targeting reticule on/off, there will always be a challenge. The main challenge for me, though, is coming out of the war alive. With enemies such as Manfred von Richthofen in amongst the 230-plus missions, that is not an easy task. So if you'll excuse me, I've been cleared for take-off and am ready to hit the Hun where it hurts.
Easy arcade-style controls, fun gameplay, great fully-voiced story.
Dying when a fellow countryman flies into you.