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Flight Simulator 2002 Review

/ Nov 1st, 2001 No Comments

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 is the new edition of Microsoft’s highly realistic, graphically advanced flight simulator, the best-selling PC flight simulation game ever – not that there has been a heck of a lot of competition. Flight Simulator 2002 represented a leap for the FS series, because it includes real-time, interactive Air Traffic Control (ATC), stunning new scenery and visual effects, and new airplanes – including the Boeing 747-400 and Cessna’s highly successful Caravan in both land and amphibious configurations.

Installing FS2002 isn’t a big deal, throw in the first of 3 CDs (yes, three) and that gets you rolling. With a full install, you’re looking at a very robust 1.98 GB worth of installation on your hard drive. Wow!

The thing that you will probably hear most about with FS2002 are the graphics and the details of the rendering of the cities and landscape. The graphics are fairly impressive and are very accurate indeed. The landscapes and cityscapes look pretty well rendered , the sky well done, and the best part is the scenery, things like mountains, hills, and the like. The shorelines of several of the maps look downright awesome, with the ability to see waves breaking and even the moon reflecting off the ocean during night flights.

For newcomers to the Flight Simulator series, there’s a great tutorial that is conducted via Microsoft Media Player videos, embedded into the game itself. The videos are done by Martha and John King, who are evidentially world renown for their video flight school videos. From the picture you can see that these aren’t the dare devil Top Gun types, in fact, these two make an episode of Full House look like the bloody sequel to Total Recall. So what if they’re a couple of dorks, evidentially they know how to fly, and they teach you how. The tutorial flights are pretty helpful to figure out how to get your flights started , and get you familiar with the controls and cockpit of an airplane. So, if you’re worried about the learning curve, Flight Simulator 2002’s couldn’t have been easier. Incidentally, The Professional version gives users four additional planes (the Beech Baron 58, Beechcraft King Air 350, Cessna Grand Caravan, and the Mooney Bravo) than the Standard, as well as gMax, a 3D modeling tool that will allow users to build their own landmarks and aircraft and an additional multiplayer option which allows players to hook up with friend who would act as an online instructor. If that’s worth an extra Hamilton to ya, then so be it.

The entire “Learn to Fly” section is extremely helpful to any newbie to the Flight Sim series. With instructors such as Rod Machado (again, maybe that meant something to somebody out there), they give you the ultra-real feeling of actually being in flight school. Another big thing that was great about the tutorial modes is that they went over both the keyboard hotkeys and the Microsoft Force Feedback 2 joystick controls, which made things very easy to pick up. Between all the videos and the in-flight instruction, it’s very easy to get yourself up and flying a Cessna or even a big giant Boeing 747!

It’s very easy to fall in love with the scenery of Flight Sim 2002, they put a heck of a lot of work in there. Included in the package is the game “Fighter Ace II” which is playable on Microsoft’s on-line “zone”, where you get to pit yourself in WW2 combat against other people on-line.

As far as replayability goes, there are tons of things to do in FS2002. The “Create a Flight” mode allow you to control the plane, location, weather conditions, and date & time for your given flight. Being totally customizable with start and ending locations (where you take off from, and where you land), the ability to see most of the USA and for that part the entire world, rendered nicely, is a great one that makes FS2002 the best flight simulator to date.

Other great features include the “Select a Flight” mode where the boys at Microsoft have prearranged a flight mission for you, anything from a simple hop around the Hawaiian Islands, to piloting a European 747 around the middle east, there’s tons of flights to take at a variety of difficulty levels.

Overall, if you’re a flight school wanna-be , a pilot in training, or just someone who likes to fly big things, then Flight Sim 2002 is a must have. If you’re into killing things and shooting things down, then it’s not for you – that easy. It’s a nice change of pace flying around and getting actual flight instruction. For the right price, and with the Force Feedback 2 joystick, it’s a quite entertaining experience.

Greg Gibson

Greg Gibson

Lead Reviewer / Editorial Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg Gibson’s resume spans over 40 years in the world of nuclear engineering and technology, having received a Masters Degree in e-commerce in 1998. Our resident MMORPG expert, Greg’s ability to understand the dynamics of MMOs is unparalleled.
Greg Gibson

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