Sinclair User7th November 1988
Published in Sinclair User #83
Operation Hormuz is not, as you might expect, a medical simulation involving the removal of some strange internal organ. No indeed. It's operation in a military sense, and Hormuz as the Arabian Gulf, an area of the world where one load of Arabs are constantly shooting up another load of Arabs because they open their eggs at the wrong end, or something equally childish.
This leads to a great deal of military argy-bargy in that part of the world, and Operation Hormuz is an arcade/simulation involving carrier based American fighters trying to sort out the aggro.
Hormuz is written by Durrell, whose chequered past includes some good games, many awful ones, and some of the most spectacular missed release dates of all time. This one's coming out on the Again Again label, but the question is, ho-ho, will you want to play it again and again?
You have three vertical take-off Harrier aircraft, which are based on a carrier. Your mission is to take off from the carrier, fly to a series of enemy missile bases, the hell out of them and return to base to rearm and refuel. One slight snag is that Exocet missiles fly past you aimed directly at your carrier; fail to intercept them, and you won't have a home to go to, and can't complete the mission.
The sideways scrolling play area is dotted with oilrigs, wrecked ships and gunboats, while the air is full of MiG21s, Exocets and explosions. The graphics and animation aren't bad, but your Harrier is surrounded by an unmasked square which causes some peculiar effects.
Your planes are armed with machine guns, bombs, air-to-air/ship missiles, and flares. A radar display at the bottom left shows upcoming targets, while a message screen gives you helpful little hints like WARNING! LAUNCH FLARE! when a heat-seeking missile is on your tail. Looping to left or right sometimes throws enemies off your tail, but it's more fun to jockey into position behind them and blow them to bits - the explosions are particularly big and flashy.
If you get far enough, you'll reach a land-based missile emplacement which you must bomb. Careful experimentation reveals that a low-level attack isn't a good idea - guns and tall buildings tend to bring a swift end to your flying career. Try instead locating your target, gaining height, then diving down, guns blazing, and releasing a at the last before pulling out. Oddly enough you can't actually crash into the sea or land; similarly, you can't crash when you return to your carrier to re-arm, because an automatic pilot takes over and brings you safely in to land.
Not very polished or flashy, but action-packed and fast moving. Operation Hormuz won't teach you much about international diplomacy, but it will teach you enough sense to stay out of the Arabian Gulf.
Label: Again Again Author: Durell Price: £9.99 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Action-packed but unpolished arcade/simulator.