Echelon: Wind Warriors03 Dec 2003 0
Echelon: Wind Warriors is a stand-alone follow on to and greatly expanded version of the widely acclaimed Echelon, a futuristic flight-combat simulation first published back in 2001.
In comparison with the original game, Echelon: Wind Warriors promises a new command and control system whereby a player can communicate with and request the assistance of supporting units both on the ground and in the air. With this feature come many new types of playable and non-playable units, new weapons and greatly enhanced multi-player support. The solo player isn't forgotten either; bundled with the package is a 40 scenario single-player campaign.
Back in the days of limited RAM, slow hard-drives and even games being run from floppies, just loading a large game was a task in itself. To prevent a player from being bored during this process, developers began to arrange matters so that a quick to load movie or even just a text-based introduction loaded prior to the commencement of the game. This simple device served to engage and retain the player's interest until the game was ready to be played.
Since then the speed of hardware has increased exponentially and the days when a DX2-66 could be considered innovative technology are long since gone. With modern computers, games, and indeed most software, loads virtually instantly and there is no need to retain a user's interest whilst the software becomes available, why then include opening movies? Is it just habit or do they retain some real use?
Well, this game opens with a superb movie that certainly serves to whet the appetitive for the game proper; it's not to long either. This movie is well crafted; in this case the opening serves to illustrate the environment the player will soon find himself in and the kind of missions he may expect to encounter. Certainly following the movie the reviewer was keen to get started and launch himself into his first mission. So yes, in this case certainly the movie served a real use. It has to be remembered though that it is often the case that come Christmas the more glitter there is on the wrapping the less sparkle there is in the box. Is this true of Echelon: Wind Warriors or will the munificence of the game match the promise of the intro? Read on to find out.
The review copy came with an HTML "Brief Manual" loaded on the disk, a brief note at the top of which states that a full printed manual is available with the boxed version of the game. The review product was a specially-released press copy that lacked such a refinement. Certainly there was enough in the HTML manual to install and fully play the game, however a printed version including an up-to-date trouble shooting section including known software conflicts would have been of use.
Beggars can't be choosers though; armed only with the very simple instructions contained within the HTML manual I was up and running with the game in very little time and having a whale of a time. It is to be hoped though that the inclusion of a printed manual with the retail version will speed the ascent of a new player along the inevitable learning curve associated with a new piece of software.