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May 7, 2007

Whirlwind Over Vietnam

by Tom "20mm" Hayden


"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am..."

- Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

At the base.

At the base.

Some of you folks may remember our E3Expo reports on this title from May 2005 and May 2006.

It was clear that SimHQ's Staff were eagerly looking forward to the release of Whirlwind Over Vietnam (WOV). So much so, that we wondered if it might surpass LongBow2 or EECH as one of our favorite combat helicopter simulations. So now WOV has arrived.

Does it live up to our lofty expectations and hopes, or fall short? Is it the second-coming of LB2, or something else? And what is the relevance to a quote from the classic movie On the Waterfront? Read on, oh valiant reader, as we explore those questions and more, in this, our review of WOV.

En route.

En route.

First, the title. I know: Picky...picky...picky. But it started out as a kind of working title, and just stuck. It's not so bad, I guess, but there is another sim out there with the acronym W-O-V, so it's a little confusing from that aspect. It's not even the "Over Vietnam" part, it's the "Whirlwind" part. I get how it applies to a helicopter simulation, Whirlwind (snicker...oops, sorry), but we in the desert southwest of the USA just never use that word. It sounds funny to us. Say "dust devil", "tornado", "hurricane", "windy as hell", and we get it. Say "Whirlwind" and we can't help it. We snicker.

WOV arrived at my house courtesy of FedEx. Nice box cover, got the screenshots there to see, open the front and see more of those plus some descriptions like "10 Story Based Missions on the Military Campaigns of the La Drang Valley November 1965" and similar. G5 Software is the developer. 1C is the Russian publisher. Evolved Games is the U.S. publisher. Says that it uses SpeedTree technology. Cool.

Inside, we have a hinged plastic box that contains (tada!) the installation CD's, two of those, and one paper manual, short, skimpy, yet repetitive in many ways. How can it be short and yet repetitive? I don't know, but it is. For example, I read that the pilot can control barometric altitude, climbing speed, thrust, horizontal speed, fuel volume, and gryo horizon. Guess what, the co-pilot can too! Same list. Just like the gun control list, it repeats. Waste of paper that could have been better spent on something else. Like a keycard. You think?

Listed minimum system specs say a 2.0 CPU, 512 MB RAM, a 128 MB video card, and 2GB HDD space. Recommended specs though are a 3.2 CPU, 1GB RAM, and a whopper 512MB video card. 512? Hey, I've got 2GB of RAM, but only 256MB on the video card. Man, 512MB video just to be recommended? Stiff that, wonder why?

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