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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Shrapnel Games

 

Developer

Joe's Games

 

ESRB

N/A

 

Released

Q2 2001

 

 

- Just like solitaire

- Map editor

- Easy to get into, hard to master

- I have a lot of respect for air traffic controllers

 

 

- Music should have been left out

- No tutorial mode

- Basic graphics

- Donít have to worry about terrain elevation

 

 

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Air Command 3.0

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

After playing through many hours of Air Command 3.0 (AC3) I have grown to respect air traffic controllers everywhere.

 

Iím sure that AC3 just scratches the surface of what real air traffic controllers go through in  a day Ė day in and day out. AC3 gives players the luxury of stopping mid-game if things arenít going well.  There are no lives at stake in a computer game either, lifting that emotional burden. Of all the stressful jobs, air traffic controllers must be near the top of the list, and I for one am glad that I donít have their job.

 

         

 

AC3 is very easy to get into. Just pick an airspace and away you go. Reading the manual is necessary as there is no tutorial mode, which is unfortunate because it would have alleviated some of the "Why the hell did that happen?" questions. Itís not enough to direct a plane to an airport. You have to direct them to a proper 

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elevation and speed so as not to cause mid-air collisions. You also direct takeoffs, too. Itís sounds so easy but itís certainly not. Planes (depending on the game length you select) come fast and furious and the majority of my time was spent directing planes to circle the airport or hold. Points are awarded for successful landings and for getting planes out of your airspace. But they are also subtracted for failure to perform well.

 

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The interface and graphics are simple, although sometimes there are so many abbreviations and lines all over the place your head will spin. Point and click rules, with the only real keyboard shortcut being the "Boss Key" something Iíve not seen since the days of Leisure Suit Larry. The boss key also comes in handy since the system requirements arenít high and playing a game or two during the course of the work day is easy. In this way, it has replaced Solitaire as my time waster of choice at work.

To extend replayability, as if random generated flight approaches on a dozen different maps doesnít do this, you can make your own maps Ė backgrounds included. Itís fairly easy to do and if you have the wherewithal you can model your local airspace.

AC3ís biggest drawback is the music. The pilot voices and sound effects are fine, but the music could have been left out entirely. It would be damn hard to find appropriate accompaniment for air traffic controllers. Fortunately, you can turn it off.

On the whole, you can expect to get some enjoyment out of Air Command 3.0, especially if you're tired of Solitaire.

- Omni

(September 2001)

 

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