One of my fondest gaming memories is Wings, a World War I fighter plane arcade simulator released on the Amiga back in 1991. It was the first game in which I was able to create a profile, it offered three different gaming options within the pilot’s career and most of all it was hugely playable and addictive. Sadly over the years I’ve never been able to find a game that comes close.
Rise of Glory is a Windows Phone game with a similar premise. Complete with tutorials and missions to shoot up the enemy in long-winded dogfights, this Xbox Live game evokes the spirit of Wings (just as it does those brave heroes who took to the skies in machines made of wood and steel). But can it replace that old 16-bit game in my affections?
The Setting For Rise Of Glory
For the younger among you, from 1914-1918 there was a devastating war in Europe. Known at the time as The Great War but now alternatively as the First World War or World War I, the full, horrific details of the conflict (including cause, outcome and tactics used) can be found on Wikipedia. What is notable about the conflict is that several new types of warfare were borne out of it.
On the ground, tanks, heavy artillery and machine guns were employed for the first time, while the recent invention of the aeroplane by the Wright Brothers was adopted by a new division of the British Army, the Royal Flying Corp. Similarly, Britain’s enemy in this war, Germany, was equipped with its own aircraft, and while the gun battles and artillery bombardments raged across the fields of France and Belgium, one-on-one combat ensued in the air.
You Are an Airman
We look back on these airmen – on both sides – with some romance. One of Germany’s most successful pilots was The Red Baron, and in the majority of cases these were daring, officer-class recruits who signed up to their respective fledgling air forces out of patriotism and reckless derring-do.
This spirit isn’t present when you first open Rise of Glory. The game forces you into a rather dull tutorial, forcing you to learn to fly and reach way points successfully before giving you the chance to destroy some sheds and barrage balloons in your rickety airplane before progressing to real action.
To this end, all you have is an accelerator and decelerator, a gun and a rudder control – along with the gyroscopic capabilities of your Windows Phone 8 device. Don’t worry about sensitivity, as this can be adjusted in the game settings.
Fly Into Battle
Different planes are available as you proceed through the game, usually locked to specific levels, so you should check the details of the craft before engaging so you can alter your tactics accordingly. Some craft have better armour than others, for instance.
Gameplay is fun and engaging, especially when the enemy attacks! This is the moment that you need to take full advantage of the plane’s strengths, which usually involves a lot of spins and weaving while firing your gun whenever the enemy is in your sights – but not before! Overuse of your single mounted machine gun can cause the weapon to overheat and lock up (a genuine challenge faced by those pilots nearly 100 years ago) so this should be used sparingly.
Beyond the gun, the only other real challenges are avoiding crashing (it’s easy to hit the ground in the middle of intense combat) and the increasing difficulty of the missions. A huge selection of achievements are available (the credit for doing so added to your Xbox Live Gamerscore) but you’ll need to put in a heck of a lot of game time to complete them all…
Graphics & Sound
From propeller sounds when starting the biplane in the training mission to the sounds of bullets in combat, Rise of Glory is also accompanied by a music soundtrack with typically triumphant military overtones. Audio levels can be adjusted in the settings, while the theme tune can also be set as your ringtone.
Other than the gameplay, however, the real pleasure in Rise of Glory is work put into the graphics. The aircraft are detailed, while the landscape moves in such a way as to create the sort of motion you would expect. Acceleration is impressive too (the plane moves away from the camera in the main third person view) and all of these elements are the icing on the cake of an impressive game.
Flight of Fantasy!
Easily one of the best Windows Phone games I’ve played, Rise of Glory marries the bravery of the era in which it is set with the solitude, the lack of communication and exposure to the elements that would have been experienced by pilots in the First World War. A good selection of different achievements can be earned (excellent for your Xbox Live Gamerscore!) from Rookie (three kills while surviving battle) to 10,000 kills throughout the game, with plenty in between (Flawless, Ace, Clean Match, etc.).
The difficulty level is well-balanced, the graphics evocative and the user interface perfect.
If you own a Windows Phone, Rise of Glory should be installed already – if it’s not, make it a game that you plan to buy. To give you an idea of its quality, we’ve added Rise of Glory to our Best of Windows Phone Apps page.
Rise of Glory can be purchased from the Windows Phone Store for $2.99 (£2.29 in the UK).