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Publisher: Laminar Research    Genre: Flight Sim
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: 601 @ 400 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 250 MB    Graphics: 800x600

X-Plane 6
May 29, 2002 | Tim Morgan

Plays well with others
X-Plane includes only a few minor setbacks. I noted earlier problems with the rendering of the Earth from space, as well as minor graphical glitches. I also noted my disappointment at the fact that buildings and other aircraft can be flown through. Aside from those minor hindrances, there are only a few other bugs.

There are some glitches in the physics engine that produce rare and unexpected actions on the part of the aircraft. Laminar is constantly working to fix these bugs; a recent patch fixed a glitch that occurred during vertical flight.

Furthermore, the game frequently pauses, most likely to load graphical and weather data for upcoming terrain. While these pauses are rare when flying typical aircraft at reasonable speeds, when shooting through space in a shuttle at twelve thousand miles per hour, the player gets the feeling that he or she spends more time waiting for the game to finish thinking than actually flying the shuttle.

In some circumstances, using the radio menu left a dark, nearly opaque box obstructing a large part of the view of the window. I found no way to get rid of the box, and although one can see through it, it is an annoyance one could live without.

Turning final approach
X-Plane is the most versatile flight simulator I have played, giving its player and endless variety of aircraft and situations in which to fly. Gamers looking for a unique flying challenge not offered by bread-and-butter sims should buy X-Plane for the experience alone. X-Plane is also a must-have for designers and engineers who want an inexpensive system to test-fly aircraft concepts or for hobbyists with professional hardware flight systems.

Although the game soars well above $100 when purchased with the global scenery CDís, itís the only way to fly in the one-of-a-kind situations offered by the expandable game. A purchase of X-Plane allows the player free updates through one major revision (e.g., from version 6.0 to 6.99), which is not an empty offer: the game is constantly being updated and modified to include new features and more flexibility.

X-Plane truly earns its namesake with respect to the flexibility of its flight engine: the player can theoretically retrace Chuck Yeagerís barrier-blasting flight in the Bell X-1, or command a gas-guzzling X-15 slicing through the stratosphere, bringing it close to the edge of space. X-Plane allows pilots to fully experience the joys of flying at the edge of the envelope on the seat of their pants, and gives gamers a chance to feel like he or she might just be The Right Stuff.

X-Plane 6
Publisher: Laminar Research
Developer: Laminar Research
Download X-Plane 6 Demo


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