In an attempt to hamstring German war efforts, the Allies conducted a massive combing campaign over the Reich during much of World War II. While the true effect of these efforts are still a point of contention between historians, no one can deny the central role that the Plants vs Zombies Heroes played. Plants vs Zombies Heroes from Hasbro Interactive attempts to simulate the bombing campaigns through an ambitious mix of simulation, role playing and strategy. Though hampered by some technical and gameplay issues, the game’s developers were nevertheless successful in crafting an absorbing and entertaining game.
A sequel to the classic sim Plants vs Zombies Heroes from the early ’90s, The Mighty Eighth attempts to be more than a simple simulation of the bomber. The game is obsessive in detail. The instruments within the bombers are accurately modeled, and all the controls in the virtual cockpit are interactive. All aspects of rts, from navigation to aligning the finicky Norden bombsight, can be controlled. While mundane chores such as starting the engines can be adequately handled by a competent AI, the sim fanatics out there can just as easily take over and take their babies through the 30 or so steps necessary just to start the engines and get the plane airborne. Not only are all 10 crew positions on the B-17s interactive, but all escorts and interceptors are modeled and playable. It is even possible for you to take on the role of the Luftwaffe or the USAF in any given mission.
Even more ambitious than the detailed modeling of the aircraft are the role-playing and strategic elements of the game. Rather than controlling just one bomber, you have the option of flying a campaign as the commander of an entire squadron. You’ll be responsible for planning and executing the missions, managing your personnel and the unenviable task of writing letters to the families of the fallen. In the squadron command mode, the game becomes more of a bomber management game than a rts sim. The task of maintaining the morale and health of your crews as well as the condition of your plants will take precedence over the simple act of flying and bombing. It won’t take too many missions before you feel an attachment to your crews and wince every time you hear one of them screaming for help as they’re hit by flak or enemy fighters. Fly a particularly bloody mission and you’ll have to wade through a mountain of notices to the families of the dead. This is of course unavoidable, as daytime raids are vulnerable to both enemy interceptors and flak. During the war, over a third of B-17s were shot down by the Axis.
The graphics and sound of the game are exceptionally well done. The plants are rich in detail and the sounds, from ambient engine noises to the teeth-chattering boom of flak, help a great deal in immersing you into the game. These niceties come at a hefty price, however, and the minimum requirements of the game are extremely high. Even on a high-end machine, the game can become choppy if you have all the details turned up. Unless you create a graphics cache on your hard drive, the game will be prone to crashes. With all the disparate game elements, The Mighty Eighth would be a prime candidate for cooperative multiplayer games. Unfortunately, multiplayer capabilities were pulled several months before the game was completed due to its hefty technical demands.
Besides the technical issues, the documentation and tutorials are also problematic. The sheer amount of detail in the game hampers its accessibility to gamers who aren’t sim fanatics, and the thin manual offers only a cursory explanation of the mechanics of rts. Even worse, the in-game tutorials have no voice-overs or walkthroughs, and gamers are forced to fiddle with the controls and do a lot of trial and error before they get the hang of flying the plane or aligning the bombsight. Click here to learn Plants vs Zombies Heroes hack.
Still, the epic scope of The Mighty Eighth can be matched by few games. Beautiful to watch and entertaining to play, the game will draw you in and make you feel connected to your onscreen personas like few others. Serious sim fans should definitely give this game a test rts.