Twenty four years ago, Microprose released their First World War aerial combat flight simulator, Knights of the Sky. This was initially available for the PC, but a year later became available for both the Amiga and Atari ST. Microprose' reputation for creating quality simulators (at that time) was well known, thus ensuring that Knights of the Sky ticked all the right boxes. In 1991, it was a graphical marvel, and featured modes such as campaign, dogfight, and head-to-head action, via a modem.
Many a happy evening was had with Knights of the Sky; challenging the Red Baron to a duel, being shot down, captured, but somehow always managing to be back in time for breakfast. It would be a very long time before another WWI flight simulator came along to rival the enjoyment I got from Knights of the Sky.
Fast forward to 2014, and Wings Over Flanders Field (WOFF) is a First World War aerial flight simulator created by the team at Old Brown Dog Software (OBD). A development of Over Flanders Field (OFF), WOFF takes you back to the Great War of 1914 to 1918, and offers you the chance to partake in the first ever aerial battles over Europe.
WOFF features 55 highly detailed and flyable aircraft, with each being assigned to their own historically accurate squadron. These are not paid extras but are included in the sim, and add a great deal to the longevity and playability of the sim. These aircraft all exhibit different flying characteristics and paint schemes, and in my opinion, look absolutely beautiful, as well as authentic.
Once you have downloaded the WOFF zip file and it has been extracted, it is a simple task of running the installer. One thing I should mention is that one of the requirements of WOFF is the requirement of Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator 3 for part of the installation. The reason being is that WOFF requires some of the CFS3 core files to function. For me, this wasn't a big deal as I happened to already own a copy of CFS3, but for those of you who don't; a quick search on Amazon will locate you a copy for under ten bucks. (Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle For Europe - PC).
During the installation process, the WOFF installer will ask you to load the CFS3 disc into your DVD drive. Once done, it will extract the relevant data (not the whole CFS3 program) to the WOFF directory.
When the install process has been completed, a trip to the WOFF web site is highly recommended, so as to make sure you're running the latest version of the simulator.
To improve performance of load times and also gameplay, defragging your hard drive is recommended, but this is just my own personal preference, and not something which is required.
A nice feature of WOFF is the Manager, and this is where you can configure your numerous input assignments. As keen as you are to get into the air, I highly suggest spending a bit of time here setting up your controls; WOFF will feel all the better for it.
Documentation consists of five PDF documents covering areas such as FAQ, player commands, and a key guide, all of which are done extremely well. Like the Manager mentioned earlier, spending some time reading the FAQ, answers many of the questions you might have. One thing, which in my opinion is a must do, is the printing out of the key guide. Doing this will add greatly to your enjoyment of the sim and leave you free to focus on being shot down!