I feel that mission packs are amongst some of the harder add-ons to review; you need to give enough information to help influence the end users decision of whether to buy the product or not, but you also have to hold a little of that information back so as not to spoil the surprise. I hope I can get the balance correct with this review.
The mission engine is one of the best new features in FSX in my opinion; the missions provide a welcome break from airline flying and can help to fill a 30 minute gap where you wouldn’t have the time to plan a real flight. No matter how many times you complete some of the missions you will keep going back for more because they capture your imagination in a way that a routine flight cannot. They give you an end goal, whether it is beating the clock or completing a challenging helicopter rescue in the mountains, there is something for everyone.
This latest offering from Just Flight caters for all tastes, there are rescue missions, races, routine landings and tough weather to deal with along the way, all set against the beautiful back drop of the Rocky Mountains. There are 9 missions in all; I will give a brief outline of each one:
DENVER LANDING Land a 737 at Denver International Airport following ATC vectors before performing a visual landing on runway 10
RESCUE IN THE ROCKIES Search for a possible downed aircraft in the mountains outside Boulder Municipal Airport using the Beechcraft Baron. Listen carefully to the radio for guidance.
ASPEN EMERGENCY A normal flight into Aspen gets very interesting as you experience some problems aboard your CRJ-700. Will you be able to make it down safely?
DENVER RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK Fly a challenging course against the clock aiming to fly through several gates before your 5 minutes runs out. Put your flying skills to the test as you keep close to the ground at high speeds in the Extra 300
BOULDER RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK Hit the gates to extend your time as you try to get to the end of the course before the timer beats you, again in the Extra 300S.
DENVER LANDING IN ROUGH CONDITIONS The same as the Denver Landing mission, but with worsening weather and at night.
ASPEN RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK Fly through gates and try to beat the clock in the Learjet. Keeping close to the ground and such high speeds demands great skill but is a lot of fun.
RECOVERY IN THE ROCKIES Fly the Bell 206 Jet Ranger out to a crashed aircraft to rescue to survivors. This is the longest mission at 40 minutes.
ASPEN RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK EXTREME The same as the Aspen Race Against The Clock Mission, but at night and with less than desirable weather. The hardest mission of the bunch and this is reflected in its ‘expert’ rating.
As you can see from the choices above, there is something for everyone. Personally, the Denver Landing missions didn’t really pose a challenge to me as I am used to making landings in airliners during bad weather, but the rest were a lot of fun!
The mission pack is available for download from the Just Flight website and requires 48mb of hard drive space; peanuts! If you are able to run FSX smoothly, then this mission pack will run fine for you.
Each mission comes with many custom features with dozens of voiceover recordings throughout each mission, including from air traffic control. The missions make use of the default aircraft which shouldn’t pose a problem for you provided that you know how to fly the aircraft prior to engaging in the mission. The aircraft used are:
• Helicopter: Bell 206 Jet Ranger
• Single-engine: Extra 300
• Multi-engine prop aircraft: Beechcraft Baron
• Multi-engine jet aircraft: Learjet
• Multi-engine jet aircraft: CRJ-700
• Multi-engine jet aircraft: Boeing 737-800
After installation the missions will appear in the missions folder under ‘Caffeineated
Man Missions’ as opposed to Just Flight. It’s worth reading the
mission briefing prior to starting as there isn’t any
information included on the kneeboard to help you on the fly.
Although I think that this would have been a distraction as the
majority of the missions, especially the races, are flown at a
frenetic pace with very little time to take your eyes away from
what’s in front of you.
As previously mentioned, the Denver Landing Missions didn’t pose any challenge to me, but that’s not to say they won’t to other users. The ‘race’ missions though I really enjoyed, I don’t often fly so close to the ground against the clock and these missions were a real challenge and a lot of fun, although I found the times set to complete the courses are optimistic at best.
I’ve not managed to complete any of these courses yet, despite knowing the layout like the back of my hand. If you do not manage to complete the course in the allotted time you can carry on and complete it, just without the reward at the end. Flying these races in the Extra 300 from the VC using Track IR was a fantastic experience, and I have tried these missions many times as they are so enjoyable. I think that some of the gates and manoeuvres you are required to make in the Lear Jet race are bordering on insane, but it’s all good fun.
This is a great little add-on for FSX and will suit most tastes. There are some easy, medium, hard and insane missions included which really spice things up. I would have liked to have seen more information included on the kneeboard during the mission, and a longer time frame to complete the races. But the fact they are such a challenge to complete keeps you coming back for more.
All the missions are set in a challenging environment and the scenery improves the impact hugely. The price of only £4.99 is a fair price for what is on offer and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the add-on to anyone who wants a challenge!
Mutley's Hangar Verdict: A very respectable 8/10