Knights of the Sky

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Knights of the Sky Cover.jpg
Amiga cover art
Developer(s) MicroProse
Publisher(s) MicroProse
Designer(s) Jeff Briggs[1]
Platform(s) DOS, Amiga, Atari ST
Release 1990 (DOS)
1991 (Amiga, Atari ST)
Genre(s) Combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Single-player or multiplayer (head-to-head)

Knights of the Sky is a World War I combat flight simulator designed by Jeff Briggs and published by MicroProse in 1990 for DOS and in 1991 for the Amiga and Atari ST.

A MicroProse action-strategy game titled Knights of the Sky (actually a Mega Drive port of 1992's The Ancient Art of War in the Skies[citation needed]) was also completed in 1994 but never released. In 2007, it was also a working title for the never-finished World War I flight simulator that was supposed to be a debut title by the now-closed developer Gennadich Team.[2]

Tommo Inc. purchased the rights to this game and digitally publishes it through its Retroism brand in 2015.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Knights of the Sky came with multiple gameplay options including full World War 1 campaign, single dogfight, head to head and flight training.

The World War 1 campaign mode involved moving through a series of missions. Each mission contained an objective (ex: bomb a specific German airport behind enemy lines) as well as a number of dogfights that would naturally arise in the course of attempting to complete the primary objective. The game would track the number of enemy planes you shot down in total and would rank your character as compared to other famous World War I aces. Iconic World War 1 flying aces like the Red Baron as well as other well-known historic figures were included in the game and would occasionally be encountered in dogfights. As you progressed through the game your mechanic would provide you intel on where you might encounter these aces.

The single Dogfight mode allowed the player to select from a number of historical World War 1 aces with which to engage in a dogfight.

Head to head mode allowed the player to challenge another player, via modem connection, to a dogfight.

Development[edit]

The game's working title was Red Baron, until this name was "stolen" by Dynamix for Red Baron when the latter had been publicly announced first.[4] Following its original PC release, the game underwent two subsequent patch-style revisions that would add a more realistic plane damage system (source of much of the early controversy, as just one well placed bullet could cause a critical damage and taking non-critical hits were not communicated to the player whatsoever), and active NPC allied planes undergoing their own patrols (in a way similar to enemy patrols), available for free after sending a blank floppy disk to the MicroProse.

Reception[edit]

Knights of the Sky was a critical success. Computer Gaming World liked the game replay and other external views, and the challenging computer opponents. The magazine concluded that "this game is a must for WWI fans and flight simulation fans".[5] In a 1991 survey of World War I flight simulations, Computer Gaming World called Knights in the Sky "the most realistic", superior to Dynamix's Red Baron for "the advanced air combat simulation jocks";[6] a survey of strategy and war games that year and in 1993 gave it three and a half stars out of five, preferring Red Baron.[7][8] Amiga Power awarded 87% on its initial port for the Amiga, praising the feel of the gameplay, vivid graphics and quality presentation. Criticisms included a low framerate compared to the DOS version, poor handling of analogue joystick or mouse control, and having to use the keyboard to glance around during a dogfight.[9] On the game's budget re-release in 1993, Amiga Power revised their score to 92%, emphasising the exciting dogfights and scenery appreciation that comes with simulating the low-speed World War I aircraft.[10] In 1996, the latter ranked it as the 10th best Amiga game of all time.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Knights of the Sky". Lemon Amiga. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. ^ SimHQ Interview - Knights Of The Sky
  3. ^ "Purchase Agreement between Atari, Inc. and Rebellion Developments, Stardock & Tommo" (PDF). BMC Group. 2013-07-22. 
  4. ^ Computer Gaming World 79 (February 1991)
  5. ^ Sipe, Russell (February 1991). "Jousting over Germany / MicroProse's Knights of the Sky". Computer Gaming World. p. 68. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Weksler, Mike (June 1991). "Dogfight at the PC Corral / WWI Air Combat Simulations in Review". Computer Gaming World. p. 31. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (November 1991). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: The 1900-1950 Epoch / Part I (A-L) of an Annotated Paiktography". Computer Gaming World. p. 138. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (September 1993). "Brooks' Book of Wargames: 1900-1950, A-P". Computer Gaming World. p. 118. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Jonathan Davies (December 1991). "Knights of the Sky review". Amiga Power (8): 56–57. 
  10. ^ Cam Winstanley (November 1993). "Budget Game Reviews - Knights of the Sky". Amiga Power (31): 86. 
  11. ^ Amiga Power issue 64, Future Publishing, August 1996

External links[edit]