F-19 Stealth Fighter
Much has recently been made of in the news about the revolutionary bat-winged Stealth Fighter, and now Microprose, lovers of flying matter, take you behind the scenes of America's most hush, hush airborne wings.
The game starts with an aircraft identification quiz.
Don't worry if you get it wrong though: all that happens is you aren't provided with the full menus (which may be a blessing - only kidding, guys). Ranking is of course very important in the USAF, and you begin as a Second Lieutenant with plenty of options to keep you busy for the next few minutes. You can name your character or save and recall a pilot who has done very well for himself (promotion is rapid for good flyers).
Next comes the choice of missions: Libya Training (enemy can't damage you), Libya, Persian Gulf, North Cape and Central Europe (the last four are actual combat situations, so watch your tail). Then choose Cold War, Limited War or Conventional War, the aggressive potential of the opponents whether you want to crash or not upon landing and finally arm your plane. A 20mm cannon, a range of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground missiles and bombs are available, taking the mission type into consideration. Choice made it's into the wide blue yonder to destroy the enemy.
A good read of the 120-page (!) manual is essential because the game is as difficult to play as it is to explain. Graphics are wire-framed and move quite nicely, though sound is limited to the occasional effect, such as the chatter of machine gun fire and the whoosh of a released missile. We received the tape version for review and found the multi-load to be more than a mite frustrating. I hope the disk version will be more user-friendly. Definitely one for air combat sim aficionados.
Microprose, the masters of flight simulation (and it would seem not much else) have come up with another thrilling game - F19 Stealth Fighter. Flight simulations on the Spectrum have never been fantastic, but this is quite acceptable. With the game you get the usual Microprose three billion page manual full of detailed information about the plane you will be flying and all the different moves it can make with ease.
The game itself comes on two tapes, the first just holds an animated introduction with the F19 flying over a rugged landscape and then getting blown out of the sky (gives you some hope doesn't it?). The second holds the game.
There are the usual controls in F19, using up most of the keyboard with things like brakes on/off, bay doors open/close and map selection. It takes some time to get the thing started, but once you have the game sussed, it's well worth it. Definitely one for all the flight sim fans.