Aerosoft Monaco X
Review by Joe "Mutley" Lawford

The Millionaire's playground.

The Principality of Monaco is the second smallest independent country in the world after the Vatican.  It is perched on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean with some of it's land in the Fontvieille region being reclaimed from the sea in 1970 and plans to reclaim more in the future.  At only 0.75 sq miles (1.95 sq km) There are many international airports with more land than this sovereign state.

Nice Airport serves Monaco and is 15 miles (24 Kilometres) away. There are several ways to travel from Nice Airport to Monaco, the quickest way is via helicopter to the helipads in the Fontville sector so the heliport  must be one of the most used in the world given the clientele!

So why bother with such a small area of scenery.  Well small is beautiful some people will say and the that is truly the case here, it boasts stunning architecture with an interesting terrain. There are beaches, quiet harbours with yachts in total costing more than some small countries GDP!


                        CLICK ON PICTURE FOR FULL SIZE VIEW

Time to play!

It is encouraging to note that one of the biggest flight simulation developer/publishers out there still cares about the smaller regions, Lukla is another prime example with rumoured plans for a FSX version too. This is not the first rendition of Monaco from Aerosoft and their loyal customers are rewarded with a discount if they upgrade to the FSX version.

Approaching Fontvielle Harbour.


The software is available in both download and boxed CD versions, so what do you get for your money?  Well besides the program, 2 pdf manuals, one with hints on the best setup for your PC, although quite rightly it is mentioned that is scenery is best run in high detail and this will have an impact on the lower spec PC's, the other pdf has a detailed approach chart and heliport information.

First look.

There are two start up flights provided with this product. The first puts you on Pad B in a small helicopter. The second one will load the default Goose moored at the buoy in front of the museum.

I started parked at the helipad or more rightly, heliport.  There are 8 pads, 2 of which are on extended ramps over the sea.  I was greeted with a wide vista (Small v!) encompassing the heliport buildings, the Espace Fontvieille building, the Palace (Which has the best views of course overlooking the Fontvielle and Monaco Harbours!), the hillside and plenty of other autogen.

Views view from Helipad B Bloke (Animated) on phone, "Where's my *** helicopter"!

A point to note here is that Aerosoft have actually added Monaco into the country list of FSX, an FSX first they claim! The 2 extended pads are listed in the runway selection for the heliport.  There is also a starting point for a float plane attached to the Ocean Museum buoy in the harbour.

Upon take off you are greeted with the highly detailed and densely packed buildings throughout with textures so good they are immediately recognisable.  Being a formula 1 fan I immediately found myself tracing the course of the Grand Prix where certainly the Hotel de Paris, Casio, Fairmont Hotel, Tabac and Mirabeau can be seen.

The Harbours

As mentioned earlier the harbours (There are 3) are full of yachts and are circled by flocks of animated seabirds waiting for a juicy morsel from the sea.  There are ambient sound effects which is nice when you are just boat watching in the harbour, it was quite funny watching the default MS boats which are not controlled by the scenery, on occasion just ploughing through these expensive yachts and jetties. Perhaps this is avoidable through programming, it wasn't a problem for me.

There are two big AI yachts in the main harbour.  The Lady Moura, which has a land-able helipad the other The Atlantis 2 has a pad but don't try landing on that one either as you will get wet.  Both yachts have sailing times detailed in the manual so don't leave your expensive helicopter on the Lady Moura at breakfast and expect it still to be there at lunchtime!

In the bay is a huge default FSX liner anchored offshore, don't be fooled by the helipad on it though as it is not land-able (Yes I did try!) 

The Lady Moura getting up steam Breakfast at the bistro beside the harbour


Some are more obvious than others. There is the distinctive Stade Louis II, home of AS Monaco, the Palias Princier Home of the Grimaldi family, Musée Océanographique, Hotel de Paris, The Japanese Gardens, the Casino and many more characterful places to discover.

Mission impossible?

After taking in the metropolitan scenery for a while I decided to fly the included missions.  The first mission is to take the helicopter to Nice airport to pick up some passengers.  On arrival at Nice heliport you are greeted with some additional scenery by way of a 4x4 with young ladies and luggage awaiting your arrival.  You are prepared for this as the ATC on the way in tells you! On completion of the first mission you are given an Aerosoft award.

The second mission finds the young ladies on board and you taking them back to Fontvielle heliport, no reward this time but hey, the flight was a joy!

Finishing the first mission Second mission done! Exploring the coast


Next I found myself exploring the coastline and some of the French country-side as the software is not just the buildings and harbours on Monaco it includes a small amount of the surrounding area too.  The scenery was nicely blended into the default, but you can easily see which is which.

Night scenery and seasons

Of course, any town with a Casino and thriving night life needs textures to match. To get a feel of the night textures I started my flight in the float plane attached to the buoy.  Again those buildings just jump out at you, the Hotel de Paris certainly had me snapping away as I could not believe the detail.  The scenery at dusk is simply stunning, once the ship in the bay has turned it's lights on, one by one so do the buildings, you will find yourself immersed in the vibrancy of the city at night. 

As this scenery is mostly object based the seasons do not really come into play, the base textures do change colour slightly as the surrounding and distant ground textures do but obviously the buildings do not. This is really as expected.


Flying in fixed wing aircraft.

Not having an airport does not detract from this scenery.  If flying VFR into Nice you can hug the coast and take in the views, or if you are inbound to Nice 22R or 22L via the SALEYA or the VOR/DME "ARZ" U/S approach, you will still get great views of Monaco too as nearly all approaches have to be done over sea to avoid flying over populated areas.

Also, all departures North and East from Nice will fly right in front of Monaco


Aerosoft have made a fantastic job with this scenery. There were a few teething problems that were soon sorted out by their technical team. Monaco X certainly lives up to their high standards of innovation, detail and value for money.

I can't think a better way to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon.  A chance to get away from the everyday stress of flight-simming!

If I had to give it a score, I would say 95%


Mutley's slide show, click on the images for a full size view.

The Heading back from Italy More taxiing around The city starts to come alive AI Yachts in harbour
Helipads at dawn View from the balcony F1 fans recognise this hotel Peaceful harbour
Hotel de Paris lit up The Goose facing the beach Over the Stade de Louis II Billionaire football team owner!
My review machine specs: Monaco X Links:

Click here to go to Aerosoft Monaco X

Self build:
MSI Intel 975X PCI Express Motherboard
Intel E6600 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo
4x 512Mb DDR2 667Mhz PC5400
Nvidia 7900GTX 512Mb DDR3 PCI-E
Windows XP Pro SP2
FSX with Photoscenery Fix
Aerosoft web site
Monaco X Home page
Aerosoft Scenery Forum


  Mutley says.. . . .

I hope you enjoyed this review, if you have any comments then you can contact me here


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