Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Computer games Reviews

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight

International Distributor: Microsoft Game Studio

Local Distributor: Microsoft Taiwan

Platform: English for PC

Taiwan Release: Late August

To celebrate 100 years of aviation, the Microsoft Flight Simulation series has produced a special release. The set includes nine historical aircraft and 15 of the very latest in aviation technology. The game includes an improved weather simulation system, auto-gen environments, realistic backgrounds and fantastic graphics.

Of the historical planes, gamers can experience the thrill of Charles Lindbergh's flight on the Spirit of St Louis and even have a go at getting the Wright brother's first plane off the ground. The Microsoft Flight Simulation series has always been known for its accurate historical detail, and this celebratory set contains quantities of notes to give gamers an even greater sense of the advances made in aviation over the last century.

Modern planes include the Cessna 172 Skyhawk SP, the massive Boeing 747-400 and the R22 helicopter. The physical responses of the aircraft in different conditions are lovingly replicated. Using links through the Microsoft Network, gamers also have access to updates on flight information.

Counter Strike: Condition Zero

International distributor: Sierra Studio

Local distributor: Unalis Technology

Platforms: English for PC

Taiwan Release: Late September

Counter Strike had a major impact on the computer games environment in Taiwan. By bringing hundreds of thousands of young people under its spell, in helped create a new environment of Internet Cafes, led many people to greatly improve their computer hardware and brought Taiwanese gamers into international gaming circles. Its popularity also led to agreements between the government, academia and industry that saw gaming cast off the stigma of being socially harmful to being encouraged by government grants to expert players.

After three years, a second edition is scheduled for release. Unalis, which achieved enormous success with the first edition, so much so that it expanded into a financial group on the back of CS profits, is planning massive publicity for CS2, hoping that the second edition will help pull the recently sluggish computer-game market out of the doldrums.

For beginners, CS2 has incorporated extensive single player scenarios, with three single player modes, six storylines, and 25 missions. This is a major departure from the original game, which made its reputation on its team play model. This introduction will give novices a chance to hone their skills before entering the online arena.

What veteran players will notice more than anything else is the improvement in the quality of "the enemy." In this instance, artificial intelligence has given computer-generated characters much more human reactions, making them more unpredictable and much harder to deal with.

There are plenty of scenarios that require technical methods of concealment, such as wading through channels while monitoring enemy movement through a periscope or difficult situations in which soldiers must coordinate with allies in poor visibility conditions. Online team play has not been neglected, with the game offering 10 online maps.

Medal of Honor Allied Assault: Breakthrough

International distributor: EALA

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