Two years ago in the run up to the launch of the X-Box, Microsoft launched Crimson Skies for the PC. It was a statement to say that with a console about to be released they could make console games. Unfortunately while good, the game failed to light any fires on the PC.
On a console, however, it's a different story. The graphics have been slightly updated to fit in with the usual X-Box sheen and rather than simply port levels from a game that is two years old, new ones have been created.
The storyline like the original is pure fun. You play Nathan Zachary, an American pilot-for-hire in the 1930's. An Indiana Jones of the sky if you like. The story in-keeping with the era is filled with swashbuckling moments as you complete your missions and earn extra cash to feed your gambling habits and love for bigger faster planes. This shows you the planes which open up alongside your depleting cash funds and the best bit of the game is watching them become more and more flashy.
And that's why the game lends itself so well to the console. PC users couldn't cope with a flight sim that wasn't all about the gauges and weather conditions. Here most of the levels start with your plane mid air taking away all the hassles of starting the engine, waiting for runway clearance and the suchlike. In short this is a thumb-twisting ride with all the boredom removed.
Missions vary and normally involve you gambling away all your cash until you eventually learn. Otherwise it's protecting friends and stealing the cash you've just lost of airships in the area. Because of this structure the game can tend to lose focus in perhaps the same way as Grand Theft Auto does, but like GTA its still good fun.
For players with friends you can spilt screen up to four players at once - although we would suggest this only on a large television and there is an array of games such as deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the chicken. The latter is based on you holding the chicken and keeping other players at bay. Why it's a chicken is beyond us, but it sure makes perfect sense after a few jars on a Saturday night.
If your friends can't come over to you then you can always join them online and Crimson Skies offers online multiplayer action through Microsoft's X-Box Live service.
It is obvious from this outing that Crimson Skies was always meant for a console gamer. It's fun and fast paced with plenty of action. Better still it actually takes the boredom out of the flight sim. Great fun flying planes.