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Airforce Delta Storm Review

Shawn_Sanders By:
GENRE Action 
E Contains Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Eject! EJECT!!

What decent, red-blooded American raised on bad TV (Airwolf, Buck Rogers, and Firefox) doesn't love a good visceral flight combat game? Who wouldn't want to command agile, pterygoid vessels of immense power? The thrill of flying high and pulling crazy maneuvers in low airspace is always great fun. It's your highway to the danger zone.

With these thoughts in mind, I had no problem snatching up Konami's new arcade-style air combat game Airforce Delta Storm. I also had no problems putting it back down. Despite good visuals, the control is a little too arcadey, missions lack a great deal of excitement and the mission structure leaves a lot to be desired. But at least the story holds up well.

Some time after the 20th century ended, scientists had completed their analysis of the human genome, giving new insight into the human immune system. Soon, even the most terminal illnesses was eradicated. Mortality rates dropped, human longevity increased and as a result we began to severely deplete our planet's natural resources. The countries with particularly low natural resources rallied together and formed the United Front (a.k.a the United Forces). Their self-imposed task was to equally distribute the planet's resources across its many countries. Of course, this didn't go down well in the countries with abundant resources. Eventually, harsh words turned to harsh missiles and bombs. This is where you come in. The plot is obviously far from original but it works.

Essentially, the gameplay is pretty straightforward. Airforce Delta Storm drops you into an A-7 Corsair II, a modest but potent jet fighter. You fight your way through 50 missions across hostile territories dispatching land, sea and air assailants while attempting to cut a swath to your mission objective. You earn money for completing missions to buy better equipped aircraft (there are over 70 aircraft in all).

The missions branch, which is nice. After you have been briefed, you can saddle up and take a gander at the overhead map dotted with hotspots. You get to choose from a select few destinations, with more to be opened as you complete the existing ones. The areas connecting these hotspots are like roads or paths.

The problem is that for every time you decide to move to another location, you expend a movement point. There are many hostile spots on the map that have absolutely nothing to do with your current mission, so you'll spend a lot of points traveling through unrelated territories getting hammered and shot-up only to arrive at your intended objective with your fighter nicely perforated and your missiles depleted. Then you still need to fight though each area's complement of fighters and travel back through the area of unrelated hostiles to reach your airbase. That's a lot of dog fighting for one merc fighter with no wingmen. As you can imagine, the difficulty and frustration is mighty.

However, the game has some great visuals, something that has held true for most of the Xbox launch titles. The aircraft are impressive - the detailed textures are very realistic and the often talked about Xbox bump-mapping rears its beautiful head. Cuts and grooves are obvious and appropriate, plus the whole thing jets along at a smooth 60 frames per second with no hiccups, even during the more intense battles.

Also, an end mission replay shows your entire mission from cinematic camera angles. This is kind of neat, but somehow the given camera angles almost always miss the better part of the battle.

It's too bad the intense battles are few and far between. The enemy isn't very intelligent; it's like they don't really want to see you go down in flames. If anything, they're terrible shots. Accuracy is obviously not a prerequisite for enlisting with the enemy forces.

Augmenting the nice visuals are some great sounds of war. All the fighters have distinct audio characteristics. Engine sounds roar to command the enemy's attention when flying low to the ground. A near-miss from any type of ballistic ordinance whistles by, instilling some good old-fashioned near-death tension. The radio chatter can be kind of campy, but it's hardly an annoyance.

The music sounds like a theme from some B-movie. It's very bad and horribly out of place, like blasting Free to Be You & Me at an Insane Clown Posse concert.

The control is very arcade-oriented, utilizing one analog stick to perform all aerial maneuvers, which makes barrel rolls nearly impossible. Intricate flying with well-timed pitching and yaw stunts is nonexistent. It almost plays like a 3D version of a classic vertical shooter with waves of mindless enemies. This limits the gameplay depth and makes it hard to really get into the action.

Airforce Delta Storm is not fatally flawed; it's just not that much fun. Even with all of its high-flying graphical merits, this is one game that's best left on the shelf. You might want to rent it, but I'd rather watch Firefox again.

D+ Revolution report card
  • Good graphics and audio
  • Decent story
  • Retarded mission structure
  • Limited control
  • Bad AI
  • Ho-hum battles
  • Not much fun
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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