5 out of 5
Simply spiffing flying larks
Anyone on the look-out for an unusual and immensely entertaining flying game would be well advised to check out this unique and original little game. It's not for hardcore flight sim fans but its unusual narrative and slick action make it a classic slice of arcade-style shooting which is reminiscent of Red Baron
. The background to the game is certainly imaginative and places players in an alternate history where the US is a collection of independent countries and where they take on the role of the dashing leader of a group of sky pirates. The game unfolds through a series of flying missions where you face off against an array of military forces, including England, the USSR and of course other pirates. These missions are nicely varied and well designed, with an excellent difficulty curve which provides just the right kind of challenge. One of Crimson Skies' biggest selling points is its fantastic design work, with the extensive selection of alternate reality aircraft all featuring wonderfully bizarre additions, like wings which seem to sprout from everywhere and insanely oversized and impractical guns which nevertheless look amazing. There's a great sense of old-fashioned adventure on display here, from the missions that involve rescuing people via rope ladders,to taking on Howard Hughes and his cronies in Hollywood, to the wonderfully cheesy voice acting and stirring music. There are a couple of minor niggles with the game, such an occasionally uneven difficulty level while the customisation options have some slight frustrations, but these really don't stand in the way of what is simply a hugely enjoyable and downright fun experience.