First Strike
By Encore
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #66

First Strike

"If Iron Eagle were a computer game, this would be it", claimed Elite to hype this all-out arcade game upon its release in October 1989. The scenario pits a single F-16 pilot against eight missions, from nuclear subs in the Black Sea to Russian stealth bases. Gameplay recalls Afterburner, with you viewing the action from behind your aircraft as plenty of scenery whizzes past at great speed. But in a touch particularly appreciated by Robin Hogg, before each mission you get a choice of weaponry. Mavericks for ground targets, Sidewinders for aircraft and either an ECM pod or a fuel tank on the centre-line pylon.

This tactical element adds to the game depth, and all the missions are quite lengthy with the jet landing at a base midway through.

Robin predictably raved over it, "Anything with planes in it gets my vote... First Strike is everything Afterburner should have been with a lot more to boot. The graphic effect is stunning... an ongoing battle through the missions is a nice touch... I love it!"

First Strike

A few readers wrote in to agree, arguing it should have been a Sizzler, but Ed Stuart had some reservations: "A good arcade game then, but lacking variety for heavy duty home play".

Less than a year later, the graphics are still spectacular - nothing has come close to matching it, certainly not Galaxy Force - and gameplay is much better value for money at budget price.

If you still haven't got this, now's your chance for a great mix of amazing graphics and varied missions.