Air Force Delta Storm XBox Review

The Dreamcast had quite a few flight games in its time. Game such as Iron Aces, Aerowings, and it's sequel set a high standard for the console. A little known game called Air Force Delta popped up on the console soon after launch and was largely overlooked. (Honestly though: flight sim, Soul Calibur?) Had more people taken notice, the masses would've found a game strong enough to stand up to Namco's awesome Ace Combat games. Konami has taken the same basic foundation laid down by the first game, juiced up the graphics, added full 5.1 surround sound support, and has created one of the best arcade style flight games ever.

Throwing you into the typical military war zone, players will be forced to navigate crowded air space, taking down enemy fighters, all the while making sure the ground forces aren't getting any free shots. Most of the game takes place in the expansive 3-D environments, but to get there, a map must be followed to the destination. Certain points on the map can't be passed without some dog fighting resulting in a whole lotta flying that can get irritating. Unless you can make a beeline to one of your home bases, your plane isn't repaired and missiles don't get reloaded between missions. This gives the game an underlying strategy aspect, as each movement must be thought out before the D-pad gets pressed. Flying is simplified and dumbed down so anyone can pick off bogies with little trouble. Any fans of Ace Combat will feel right at home as the control scheme is replicated perfectly.

Pop-up, fogging, draw in, N-64 syndrome.... whatever it's called, it's definitely in this game. The distance at which this occurs is certainly more than tolerable, but it's still noticeable and must be brought up. The ground also suffers from blurring, but unless you're flying at less than 500 feet (which you certainly shouldn't be doing under any circumstances), you won't notice it. Other than these flaws, the game performs admirably. The frame rate is constant, the enemy strongholds look fantastic, and the replays are more exciting that Top Gun.

It's becoming harder and harder to rate the sounds in video games nowadays. Thanks to the advent of the CD and DVD formats, scratchy voices and MIDI soundtracks are things of the past. Now it's all about surround sound. I've played a lot games with surround sound support, but NEVER has one actually caused me to begin swerving out of my chair. When a missile is launched at your plane, you can hear it approaching from the appropriate speaker which not only helps gamers know which way to dodge, but enhances the experience to all new levels. You could literally play the game with your eyes closed and know when danger is on your wingtip. Definitely a game used to show off your black box or surround sound system. (Turn off the music however!)

While some people would prefer more control over their planes, the arcade style controls allow anyone to jump right in and start playing. The combination of outstanding sound and passing graphics make this a game that shouldn't be overlooked. Fans of the DC version should definitely take notes as very little has changed from the previous entry in the series gameplay wise. Definitely recommended.


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