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Balearic Islands X
By: Edward Longe

Balearic Islands X
Manufactured: Simwings
Published: Aerosoft
Click on image's to enlarge.

The Islas Baleares or the Balearics is an archipelago of islands located in the
Mediterranean sea. The islands themselves are made up by Mallorca (the biggest
of the three) Menorca and Ibiza. All three islands are popular with European
tourists because of the warm climate and within 3 hours flying time of most
European nations. The islands themselves cover an area of roughly 5,000km
squared.
Earlier in the year Aerosoft released Mallorca X then Shortly followed by Ibiza
X and most recently Menorca X. As you may (or may not have guessed) Balearics X
is all three product rolled into one. The download itself is a whopper at over
6gb so Aerosoft took the initiative and split it into 3 separate parts allowing
you to restart the PC. The download is priced at €49,95 (about £43.11p). However
if you are prepared to pay an extra 4p you can have it a box which due to its
size, I would seriously recommend. Both the download and the boxed are available
at aerosoft.com.
Aerosoft Aerosoft

Now let's look more in depth at the product and documentation included in it.
The product itself. Obviously a product entailed Balearic Islands X you expect
scenery for the Balearic Islands and I am glad to report that the product covers
all 3 islands and all the airports on the various islands. All the airports
(according to Aerosoft) are done in high detail and so is the scenery on the
rest of the islands. Now as you may already know, Ibiza X has already been
reviewed by Sim Reviews so I will leave the party island out for the purpose of
this review.

Now it is time to probe the manual. Aerosoft surprised me here, instead of
creating one gigantic manual for the entire product, they have separated it into
3 separate manuals for the different islands. Personally I would have preferred
to see one manual for the product instead of lots of little ones. However
Aerosoft (as a German based company) has included both a English and German
versions and FSX and FS2004. All the usual stuff is included in all the manuals
like recommended settings and minimum requirements.
Also another feature I like was the history of all the
airports included in the manuals which I found an extremely interesting read.
Aerosoft have also included a separate program which allows the user to control
traffic on the different islands. The program allows you to alter the various
bits of traffic like ships and cars. I was slightly surprised about the size of
the manual itself though- only 17 pages for Mallorca X and that is divided into
a section for FSX and FS2004! Despite the clear lack of pages the information
provided is good. After all its quality not quantity. Similarly to Trondheim
Vreaus X, Aerosoft have included a texture program which allows the user to
alter the season to his/her desires.
Aerosoft Aerosoft

Now, let's check out the Airports of Menorca and Mallorca. While taxing around
both the airports, I was genuinely surprised at the clarity of every object and
texture Aerosoft have put into this add on.
First off let's look at the all important ground textures and taxiway signs. All
are done to the highest quality and much clearer then the default FSX taxiways
which from reviewing past Aerosoft scenery products I have come to expect.
Everything you would come to expect is included like runway and taxiway centre
lines, holding points and taxiway signs. The difference between the default
Palma and Aerosofts is like night and day! Another nifty bit of design work that
Aerosoft built in to Balearics X was the tyre and skid marks on the runways
which is always a nice. I would have to say that the ground textures used in
Balearic Islands X are probably the best I have seen.

Next to be put under the microscope, are the all important airports themselves;
instead of writing about the airports together I will discuss them separately so
I can delve deeper into the airports themselves.
The first airport I shall be looking at is Menorca (LEMH). Now, in 2006 the
Airport had to build a brand new terminal building after a partial roof collapse
which injured 3 airport workers. The new building is meant to look futuristic
with curves and allow plenty of light into the terminal; I am glad to say that
Aerosoft have captured the look of the terminal building extremely well.
Aerosoft have also included air bridges and although they are inactive, they
present so great eye candy when you are visiting the airport. I am also
delighted to inform you that Aerosoft haven't just done the airport in
marvellous detail but the surrounding area in the same detail.
Aerosoft Aerosoft

On comparing the real world Menorca airport to the one Aerosoft has modelled you
can see how well the main terminal has been done. Just looking at the entire
airport and the surrounding area, it's clear that the level of detail is second
to none. I also like the fact that the airport Vehicles have also been done with
a purpose instead of just been an afterthought.

The next in line for scrutiny is the biggest airport in the Balearics, Palma de
Mallorca (LEPA). Just like Menorca, Aerosoft have developed the airport
extremely well incorporating the dummy air bridges and amazing modelling of the
terminal buildings and area encircling the airport itself. Similarly to the
vehicles at Menorca, they haven't been just an afterthought which is always a
pleasant change from usual vulgar cars and pushback truck which seem to zip
around the airport with no real aim.
As Just a minor footnote before I close I leave this Palma and head inland its
probably worth mentioning the small General Aviation airfield of Son Bonet
(LESB). Although the airport is much smaller than the other airports included in
this package; it has been done to the same benchmark that the other fields set.

Now as I enter the twilight of this review, I would like to just briefly mention
other traffic that really brings the product to life and takes it to a whole new
level; I am of course talking about the boats that shuttle between the different
islands. I will admit that my ordinal belief was that they were going to be done
terribly but I was defiantly wrong to underestimate the skill and dedication of
the people who developed the Artificial Intelligence traffic on the islands and
the water ways. I hate to finish on a downer, but I have to mention that when I
first installed the add on, I experienced what I can only call a "user generated
bug" as I saw black blobs appear on the islands themselves but despite the
slight setback the issue was quickly rectified by installing the latest graphics
driver.
Aerosoft Aerosoft

Final Remarks
How can I sum up Balearic Islands X? I personally believe that Aerosoft have
done it again and developed a top notch scenery add on for Microsoft Flight
Simulator X that everyone can enjoy. It's clear to that Aerosoft have some of
the best scenery designers about today and I hope that they continue to develop
and eventually make bigger and better products. Balearic Islands X was one of
those products that you know is good but the question is...Should I? And the
honest answer I can give would have to be you won't be disappointed!

Overall score 9/10
 
System Requirements: System Tested On:
Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Acceleration or SP2)
Windows XP / Vista
3.0 Ghz Processor (Duo2Core Intel advised)
2 GB RAM
3D graphics card with at least 256 MB
Download-Size: 5.9 GB
Installation-Size: 6.7 GB
Intel Core i7 920@3.7
Windows 7 64 bit
Nvidia 8600 GT
6gb DDR3 1600mhz
Western Digital 500gb Hard Drive
Corsair 650w PSU

What I Don't Like What I Do Like
Blurred Textures Originality of pruduct

Price: £34.70 $49.95 €40.35 Rating: Gold
Reviewd By: Edward Longe Date: 19 May 2010
YouTube Link: No Link