• Stuka Dive Bomber

    Stuka Dive Bomber

    By David Mulcahy (7 March 2000)

    My new copy of Data Becker’s Stuka Dive Bomber just arrived. Like a kid with a new toy I can’t wait to rip into the box. A quick glance at the packaging teases my imagination with ten historically exact dive bombers, treacherous weather conditions and authentic scenery of every major military airport in Berlin. The rest of my day is now on hold and I’m off to my computer.

    The Installation

    A review of the 72 page users booklet offers me 22 pages of installation instructions with the remaining dedicated to the history and specifications of the JU 87 Stuka.

    The actual installation is somewhat tedious, requiring a separate install for your aircraft and another install for the scenery.

    The aircraft are installed one at a time. This isn’t a bad idea for those of us who may not care to add 10 Stukas to your hangar, but an “install all” option would have been nice. The scenery installation is an entirely different story. Although documented well in the users booklet, having to do a manual scenery install using the CFS world menu/scenery library option is something I would never have expected from a professionally developed add-on.

    With the installation now behind me, I’m ready to take a look at my new stuff.

    The Aircraft

    Into the free flight menu to take a look at my new aircraft. Overall the planes look good. The paint schemes are clean with clear cockpits and a nice panel that is shared by all. All the planes are fairly detailed featuring various drop tanks, bombs, missiles, rear facing gunner, even fold up wings on the “Carrier Special” version of the JU 87C. Unfortunately the designers stopped there. We have all come to expect moving parts. Other than the blink on - blink off type, Stuka has none, and the white circle intended to represent the propellers is disappointing at best. I tried my aircraft animator but the planes are not FS compatible so this did not help. OK - on to more important things because I’m ready to fly. I choose the “Tank Buster” and click on fly now. I made six attempts to get this plane off the ground and finally gave up when I found this to be more frustrating than challenging. I faired much better with the “Carrier Special” until I tested my weapons and discovered that the rear facing gun doesn’t fire, further tests showed the rear gun to be non-functioning on all of the Stukas. So much for historically exact. Onto a mission or two.

    The Missions

    There are none - no missions. This is so hard to believe, I even double checked my installation, Page 22 of the users guide tells me how to put my new Stukas into an existing CFS campaign. In lieu of a mission I’ll try this. The guide refers me to the installation CD/Stukacam folder/Stukacam.exe file. This turns out to be a big problem - the mentioned folder is not on the CD. Now I’m off to databecker.com where I find the Stukacam down-load in the support section. Stukacam did its job and I’m now able to fly my Stukas in scenarios intended for highly maneuverable fighters. This leaves an awful lot to be desired.

    The Scenery

    Stuka's scenery consists of five airports around Berlin. All nicely done, but none are selectable from the airport’s menu. In order to get to the five airports you must go into free flight and use the world/go to menu. Why they did this I don’t know and at this point I’m too disappointed in this package to care.

    Conclusion

    Stuka gives you ten JU 87’s in various liveries that you can insert into your single missions, free flight or quick combat modes, along with five airports you can access in free flight or utilize during your bomber runs.

    Stuka is a disappointing, half complete add on. It would be nice to see Data Becker pick up where they started and turn Stuka into what I’m sure they initially intended it to be - “a CFS add-on” rather than ten planes and five airports.


    For more/information:
    www.databecker.com

    The Author:
    David Mulcahy
    [email protected]


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