Jane's should have teamed up with these guys!
Novalogic hits hard with their new simulation using Voxel Space 2 rendering technology. Everything, except that actual "complete simulator realism" that Jane's Longbow captured so perfectly, is here in Comanche 3. Lets just go straight to the best part about the game: the graphics. They are simply stunning. Comanche 3 is the first game to use Novalogic's progression in 3d rendering and it has conquered all previous simulation graphics. With terrain as realistic as it gets, flying the Comanche was a pleasure I will never forget. Novalogic included differences in climate, environments, and terrain characteristics. In the desert, cacti sprout from the mountainside, and in the jungle green foliage is abundant in every corner. These details add to the feeling that you are flying in a real environment and make it even more addicting than the original hit. All other units including your wingman are camouflaged according to the environment and each unit and building is texture-mapped beautifully. The graphics, terrain, and visual realism are of the highest quality. Not a single detail missed; a perfect 10. On the other hand, that comes at the price of a really fast computer.
Music is a different story. With the enormous amount of attention directed towards graphics, it seems as though they totally forgot about music. If any of you remember those horrible midi tracks that they played endlessly in the original title... they're back! As for the sound effects, they're decent, but it's very obvious this wasn't the area they spent most of their time on. Effects aren't generic or bad, but nothing special or worth talking about.
Again, comparing the game to Longbow, Comanche 3 has a lot of good things that < a href="/review/pc/longbow_gold">Longbow forgot about. Starting with the biggest kick in the pants, Comanche 3 beats Longbow in all aspects of graphics. As superficial is it may sound (as I'm sure many of you out there agree that graphics isn't the only aspect that makes a game good), the terrain difference is what makes Comanche 3 the better game. Canyons, roads, mountains, cliffs, ravines, rivers and lakes make it all the more interesting. If you simply fly over dead grass the entire time it takes away a lot from attack helicopter tactics. The most important thing about flying a helicopter is using the terrain to mask your signature. If you can handle that, no one knows that you're in the area, which leaves you with the advantage of surprise. In Longbow, there were no surprises, just target and kill. Comanche 3 is a completely different story, you hardly know what's in the area until you are over the isolated confines of a certain valley, or mountaintop. This is what makes the game that much more addicting and fun. Not to mention it requires a hell of a lot more attention and demands that you act faster than your opponent does!
Comanche 3 offers a range of physics flight models from you to choose from. You can start out with the easy flight model and work your way on to more advanced versions (each effect can be turned on or off). Personally, I like the more realistic side of things, and I found the advanced version to be a fairly good, realistic physics engine, but definitely not as complete as Longbow's.
Multi-player options are somewhat limited. Novalogic, again, missed some standards in new games. Web play is nowhere to be found, and the only option you have for playing on the Internet is Kali. It does come with a starter kit with 15 free minutes (oh, boy!!!). Modem play is supported along with network, but finding a friend to play with because you don't want to pay for Kali is an option Novalogic shouldn't have left to the user.
Basically Comanche 3 is good mix between fun and realism. For all you out there who like a somewhat realistic game that you can pick up and start flying, this is the way to go. The visuals will knock your socks off. It has a fairly short learning curve, you can start flying within 5 training missions that are much shorter than Longbow's tutorials, and action satisfaction is guaranteed! Unfortunately Comanche 3 only offers 30 missions which is incomparable with Longbow's 400, but the non-repetitive nature of the missions will keep you flying until you beat every last one of them.
My final thoughts are that Novalogic should team up with Jane's in the future. Novalogic definitely knows how to make fun games along with their advancement in visual realism. That really put Comanche 3 above the rest. As for Jane's, they know how to make an unbelievably realistic simulation. If these two companies combined their efforts in making a realistic and fun title, I'm sure it would beat out all competition. For the record, I actually enjoyed Comanche 3 more than Longbow, despite its cutbacks, drawbacks, and lack of complete realism.