Those who have read my last blog post about the Amiga 32 Event in Neuss, (and a record number of 1,200 people viewed this in the first 48 hours, so a big thank you those that did) will be aware that I picked up a copy of the long-awaited Wings Remastered Edition for Amiga OS4 which was due to be released last year by Cinemaware Retro.
Now the appearance of this game at Amiga 32 in Neuss has caused a bit of controversy on various Amiga forums this week and justifiably so. You see plans for this game were originally announced back in late 2015 with a view to a release in early 2016. Unfortunately the initial take up of pre-orders was not that great meaning that development of this game naturally slipped and here we are in late 2017 without its full release.
So how come those who attended Amiga 32 were able to get their hands on a copy? Well I think it may be a good idea to help clear up some confusion for you. I will go on record here and admit that the version that I picked up at the show is not the complete version, but more a pre-release copy which is about 90-95% complete and Sven from Cinemaware Retro was quite honest and upfront about this particular fact. The full game, when completed and which hopefully should be soon, will be able for me to download via a link which will be in the Wings Remastered folder on my computer.
So what exactly did I get for my EUR50.00 purchase. Well as you can see from the photo below, the game comes in this lovely and professionally produced box which has a nice cartoony retro feel which I personally really like.
The back cover shows some very nice screenshots and there is also a limited Amiga edition number, or which I appear to be number 3.
Inside the box come a CD containing the game files which was pressed for me by Sven in person at the show along with a reprinted manual of the original Amiga classic game, the manual does of course make references to making back up copies of your floppy disk. There is also a separate 85 page aviator manual giving players a background of World War I and the type of planes they will be flying.
Whilst the print quality of the manuals are quite high, personally I would have preferred a colour version of this manual especially as this we are paying for what is a collector’s edition here.
Lastly to round things off there is a small Wings Remastered Edition poster which comes in the box also.
Now the instruction sheet which has been given along with the CD makes reference to the fact that this will run oni MorphOS, however given that this is a pre-release version the MorphOS version is missing from the game folders.
There are also two versions for OS4, one which will support compositing and Radeon 4xxx, 5xxx and 6xxx cards and a separate one which requires Warp 3D. It is not clear certainly from the start which version I am actually using here. As regular readers of my blog will know I have a Radeon 7750 card in my machine and also Warp3D Southern Islands installed on my machine so mine will run both versions here. So which version am I running here?
Perhaps the above screenshot will give me a clue, you see the only way I was able to find this out was to rename all my Warp3D libs and then try to run the game which is then failed with the above screenshot advising that it couldn’t find Warp3D.library so I am guessing the version I am reviewing is the Warp3D version.
So what else do I get on this particular CD?
Well we get the Aviator and original instruction manuals as a PDF.
We get some MP3’s of the in-game tunes.
Also we get a few ADF’s and a WHDload of the classic version which of course came packaged with Amiga OS4.1 Final Edition anyway.
On to the game….
We are greeted with the opening sequence and a nod to the programmer Daniel “Daytona 675x” Muessener who is responsible for this port.
which leads us into the iconic Cinemaware opening screen which on the classic Amiga games of the mid to late 80’s gave the impression that you were about to launch yourself into something big budget and epic and of course 30 or so years on still give that impression, except what is this the screen starts to turn black and white.
and into retro mode here for some fine cinematic sequences which of course are displayed in HIgh Definition 1080P on my monitor.
The opening scene is quite atmospheric and gets you into the mood of the era that it is trying to re-create, bear in mind Colour TV had yet to be invented back in the early 20th Century.
Before we then move across to the Title screen
On the options page, you have all the standard configuration options and i decide to go here into the video options:
As you can see from the above there is the option to increase the scan line intensity which i am leaving blank as personally I think this game does look stunning in HD.
Here are the various screen modes that you can run this under. I personally go for the full 1920×1080 32-bit RGB mode for the best screen picture quality.
A neat feature in the sound configuration is to either have the original soundtrack playing during the game of the remastered version. Personally I do like the remastered tracks which are played during the various intermission screens as they give a wonderful atmosphere to the game. Make sure that you keep the voice acting tab ticked as during the various intermission screens and prior to each mission, there are some well acted and well accented lines to accompanying the text you see on-screen which I think add an extra touch of authenticity.
You can either control this game using the default set up which will be the keyboard, alternatively there is the option to configure this using a suitable joystick, although do make sure that your joy pad is being recognised in Amiga Input before running this game as I did have a few problems trying to configure this at first.
Upon starting the game you will need to enrol as a pilot and also attach some skills to your skill set based on what you think you would be good at.
Next up is to enroll in training. The presentation of these screens is absolutely stunning especially if we compare this to the original Amiga Classic version. I know the picture won’t show this or do this justice but the graphical effects even on the presentation screen are really well done here. Usually this type of screen would be a static screen, but there is a clever piece of animation here where the General’s chest breathes in and out, extending and puffing out as you would expect from someone who is dictating orders and more so doing this with authority.
The first training missions are quite simple, like in most other modern games they aim to throw the game player in to the game slowly explaining how the controls work, what various buttons do and what the main mission objectives are and what to look out for. Even at this early stage it is clear that this game is full of really nice graphical effects such as the clouds moving and at different levels and layers even though in this particular sequence the action is being viewed from the top looking down. The landscapes and action you can see on the screen are quite detailed and look really polished.
Action on the next set of the training takes place from a 3D isometric viewpoint where the attention to detail is quite something here, especially when you fly over terrains where there are literally dozens of soldiers on the ground all armed. Again the effects like flying through clouds work really well here.
Once you have completed the first bit of training it is time to undertake some missions and here the action switches to the cockpit view found in the original game.
You are assigned your roster and as you can see I am as yet a lowly 2nd Lieutenant, in other words it will be my body on the line to do the dirty work here.
You are then shown a number of presentations which lead into the action which again are all superbly presented with voice overs.
Here is a still of another animated sequence where you plane takes off into the action which looks lovely and atmospheric. In fact the still shot here allows you to appreciate the detail which has gone into the game from the grey/reddish sky which is so synonymous with war to the comic book look of the graphics which resonate with a bygone era.
Here we find ourselves within the cockpit. Now it should be noted that the programmer Daniel Muessener actually released a game on Amiga OS 4, MorphOS and Aros back in 2015 called Wings Battlefield Ultimate Duel Edition which was a nod to the original Wings game but in a more modern setting with multiscreen battle modes. His game made use here of the Cherry Terrain Composite 3D Engine which for the time looked really impressive as we had not really seen anything similar on Amiga OS4. A similar type of engine has been used here but the end result is that this is a lot more developed and a lot more detailed resulting in some fantastic graphical effects that really push forward Amiga OS4 gaming to a new level.
Here not only can we see the Pilot’s head turn in different directions but you can see below at the ground the complete patchwork quilt of green fields which you only begin to appreciate once you are in the sky.
Even when we swap the viewpoint round to different angles, such as from the rear for example, notice how detailed the landscape is along with the cloud formations which all move, this is really impressive stuff here by the programmer adding to the realism.
You will notice from the above screenshot that your targets are highlighted in red and I’ll be honest here what isn’t totally realistic is the lack of being able to move to the left of the right or turn around during these dog-fight scenes in order to home in on the above targets. Yes this is in keeping with the original game, but personally I would have expected given the massive upgrade to the graphics and in-game detail that we would be looking at dog-fight scenes that were a tad more realistic so I guess this is my only real criticism of the game.
Action scenes where the action is from a top down or isometric view-point such as above are a lot easier and more satisfying in terms of gameplay and I totally love the effects that rise up as a result of a direct strike, the smoke in particular is very well done as are the movement of the men on the ground.
Here we have a target of a convoy of lorries and you can clearly see the men on the ground where the bombs have dropped and some nice fire and smoke effects.
The crash scenes too are quite satisfying, although this sadly will result in you losing the game, but the plane crashes and the animations on these are really well done with a nice 360 degree viewpoint of the crashed out plane and then cutting to another nice animation where your tombstone appears.
I will hold my hands up here, when Cinemaware Retro announced this game was coming out in 2015, I was not too enthused about buying this game. Generally I am not a huge fan of games where the action takes place inside of a cockpit and this coupled with the fact that it was a pre-order where no one was totally sure if this would ever see the light of day, were two of the main reasons why I held off from pre-ordering it.
However having had the chance to play around with this game, see something more tangible and more importantly be very impressed by what I have seen, I am glad I did pick up a copy last weekend. If you are sitting on the fence wondering if you should order this game then i suggest that you try out a demo for yourself at the following website. http://www.goldencode.eu/amiga/ Whilst the demo version is similar, The pre-release version that I have reviewed here is a far more polished product and is a good indication of what the final game will look like.
Do I think it was a good idea to release this pre-release version at Amiga 32 when others who have pre-ordered this game are still waiting for news of theirs? I can certainly see both sides of the argument here and of course those who have pre-ordered should be given the chance to play this version too and I hope something is sorted out soon. Equally I see the other side of this too, those who bought a copy at Amiga 32 have probably helped to finalise the development of what is a really nice looking game. Fingers crossed there are not too many more delays to its final release.
f you are wanting to get your hands on an actual full copy then it is worth remembering that there are only a limited number left. At the time of writing only 99 copies are left and can be ordered from http://retro.cinemaware.com/product/wings-remastered-amiga-edition/ I wouldn’t wait around it I were you, this is really visually impressive stuff on the Amiga.
Until next time have fun with your Amigas!