With a crash, a bang and – indeed – a wallop, Blazing Angels comes blazing into the commercial games market; justifying its hefty £9,997 price tag with a heck-load of special features. An arcade game in the old-style (ie: with a great big shell to nestle away inside as you unleash electronic death on hordes of digital bad guys), Blazing Angels takes the bog-standard flight simulator model, adds a ton of carnage and fleshes the whole thing out with some realistically-rendered classic battle scenes – exactly the sort of thing guaranteed to have most WWII nuts practically jumping up and down with excitement.
Looking at the machine itself for a minute, the Blazing Angels game comes with all sorts of extras designed to impress (and hoover up the loose change of punters). Joystick controlled, the interior of the gaming machine is designed to look as close as possible to an actual WWII-era fighter plane, with something called ‘authentic controls’, which suggests the design team did their research. The seat comes equipped with something known as ‘forced feedback’, meaning all those bumps and bangs and screaming nosedives come a little more alive, as the seat bucks and shudders in response to the onscreen mayhem. Speaking of the screen, the monitors used in these games seem to have improved since my day – with Blazing Angels boasting a 42” HD flat screen and 5.1 Surround Sound.
Taking a step back, the machine is clearly designed with the commercial market in mind: combining vibrant WWII imagery with fake bullet holes and whatnot. The idea is presumably to make it stand out amongst all the other gaming machines of your typical arcade, and I suspect this will turn out to be the case. Obviously, I haven’t tested this hypothesis as I don’t own an arcade. But looking at the snarling stickers on the side and ostentatiously large screen, it seems hard to imagine any child over the age of 8 just walking past without noticing it.
As for the game itself: the graphics appear good, accurately rendering a number of real-life locations such as Paris in the 1940s. Although still slightly blocky, they’re easily up there with something like GTA V – in other words, Blazing Angels is packing a modern graphics system that does its subject justice. That subject, by the way being actual air battles of WWII. For military and history nuts, this will doubtless be the biggest draw. According to the supplier, the game includes “a number of well-known battles, (including) Pearl Harbor, Midway and a range of European and African missions.”
A word for any prospective purchasers: the suppliers are keen to indicate that this is a commercial-only model, although they will deliver it to your home if you so desire. Those who are looking to do so should be aware that a commercial arcade machine carries with it no option of return, refund or even warranty (bar the manufacturers 3 month onsite guarantee). Their blurb goes to great lengths to stress this, so I will here as well: this isn’t a piece of kit to be bought on a whim, but something you should only get if you really want it. However, if you’re looking to shell out ten grand on an arcade game, it seems sensible to assume money and refunds are the least of your worries.
Delivery is free to the UK mainland, but only on the proviso that the suppliers will drop the machine kerbside at your door – you have to do the heavy lifting (and with something like this, it’ll require roughly six strong people). Is it worth it? Well, I guess that depends entirely on how much you like your historical arcade games. However you look at it, it’s going to be a major talking point.
Author: Nathan is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in London. Having graduated from the University of Kent in ’96 and after working for various agencies, he decided to go freelance in 2009.
Nathan is currently producing a series of articles in partnership with Home Leisure Direct.