The Early Years of Flight review

Back when Heathrow was a village

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Realistic physics

  • +

    Some goofy charm

  • +

    Nostalgia value


  • -

    Slow and boring

  • -

    Lacking in features

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They might be hilarious when sped up and accompanied by the Benny Hill tune, but the early days of flight were dull. At least they are now, as we have fighter jets. Sure, the Wright brothers probably pissed their pantaloons as their shed of a plane awkwardly flopped upwards for a bit and Amelia Earhart probably let slip a giddy fart as she spluttered skywards for the first time, but when you’re trundling down a runway in what looks like a bunch of cardboard boxes tied together with wool you realise that the early days of flight were actually rubbish, and not fun at all.

This unofficial expansion for Flight Simulator 2004 and X attempts to recreate the ramshackle beginnings of our conquering of the skies. Not wanting to undersell one of mankind’s greatest achievements, the pack includes five of the earliest heavier-than-air aircraft (to quote the Wright brothers, “only arseholes fly balloons”) and three missions. The models are of FS2004 quality and so lack some of the nifty new views and effects FSX provides, while the already lackluster missions are ruined by FSX’s ground scenery, which places trees right in the way of famed aviator Louis Bleriot’s take-off en route to Dover.

Without the spectacle of invention, what you’re left with is the tedious job of flying the contraptions – a tiresome, effort-sapping (and at £25, overpriced) slow-motion crawl through the air. Yes, it’s got polygonal gentlemen with stately moustaches wearing their ‘trying to leave the ground’ faces, but this won’t tickle your balls even if you’re famous for being bat-shit crazy on old planes.

Jul 25, 2008

More info

DescriptionThis unofficial Microsoft Flight Simulator expansion has the unfortunate task of trying to make flying the Wright brother's era planes as fun as an F-16.
US censor rating""
UK censor rating"Rating Pending"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Steve Hogarty

Steve Hogarty is a London-based freelance journalist covering games and technology. His bylines have appeared in publications including GamesRadar, The Independent, Yahoo, VICE, Eurogamer, and more. He is also the co-host of the pocast, Regular Features.