Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Crimson Skies is a series of games that spans several genres. The games take place in an alternate history version of the United States, where the nation crumbled into many hostile nation-states during the Great Depression. With no continuous railroad route, commerce has taken to the skies. Great cargo zeppelins escorted by fighter squadrons are the targets of many ruthless air pirates.
Crimson Skies was first introduced by FASA as a board game simulating aerial combat. In 2000 it was released as a computer game developed by Zipper Interactive and published by Microsoft. In 2003 Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge was released for the Xbox, as well as two collectible miniature games by WizKids. Crimson Skies: Air Action is an aerial combat game, where Crimson Skies: Aces is more of a role-playing game.
Crimson Skies (FASA Boardgame)
The board game never attained a large player base, possibly due to a rather complex battle system. But the extremely complex universe of Crimson Skies made this game some very devoted fans. Dozens of different weapons, planes, nations, air forces, bands of pirates, and characters were all given detailed pasts.
FASA was later bought out by Microsoft, and stopped producing this game. FASA (and by extension Microsoft) owns the license to this series, with WizKids given permission to only make a collectible miniature game.
Crimson Skies (Microsoft PC game)
The PC game also never quite attained main-stream popularity. This combat flight-sim offered fast-paced action without the hassle of realistic flight mechanics. The game included a 24-mission single-player mode and an on-line multi-player mode. Both modes make use of over ten different customizable plane designs. The spirit of a pulp fiction novel is well captured with catchy pirate music, excellent voice acting, and great attention to detail. Unfortunately, the original release was plagued with bugs that would cause the game to freeze or crash. A patch was released to alleviate these problems.
The character of Nathan Zachary, leader of the Fortune Hunters, was introduced as the hero. He is an air pirate, reminiscent of Robin Hood. Perhaps he described himself the best, saying, "I don't pretend to be Errol Flynn, Errol Flynn pretends to be me."
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Xbox)
Nathan Zachary returns as the hero in this arcade-style game. Crimson Skies reaches the main-stream due to the much-lauded multi-player mode available on Xbox Live. This game retains some of the atmosphere of the series, but attempts to make itself an arcade style game, with power-ups and CGI cut scenes. The planes and weapons available are much less customizable than in its predecessors, but the multi player mode provides many options for type of game, as well as fast action.
Crimson Skies: Air Action (WizKids miniatures game)
WizKids makes collectible miniatures with a baseplate. This baseplate has a dial that will click through different sets of stats. Instead of a complex set of rules for damage and the like, this dial is clicked once every time a figure is hit. The Air Action game is simplification of the original FASA boardgame for use with this system. The air action game sets players in control of a small fleet of aircraft, to combat each other.
Crimson Skies: Aces (WizKids miniatures game)
While on the same system as the Air Action game, the Aces game focuses on role playing as an individual pilot. Air Action and Aces can be played together, with a game starting as an Aces role playing style game, and using the Air Action game for any aerial combat that might occur. The rules for both games are sold together.
The film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow has some background in common.
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