PHM Pegasus (Electronic Arts) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

PHM Pegasus
By Electronic Arts
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #37

PHM Pegasus

Two thirds of the earth's surface is covered with water, so it's hardly surprising that the seas arid oceans have often been the scenes of battle. Sea warfare in the eighties still involves missile and projectile combat, but the weapons are a little more sophisticated than arrows and rocks. The fastest ships in modern navies are the hydrofoils, which skim across the surface of the water at very high speeds. The star of this strategy/simulation is a patrol hydrofoil missilecraft (PHM).

Included with PHM is a manual containing information on the eight assignments you can undertake, an explanation of the cockpit instrumentation and a similar description of the operations map. There's also a breakdown of hydrofoil's weaponry and capabilities, and a spotter card to help identify enemy shipping.

There are two screens: a cockpit view from the hydrofoil, and the operations map. The cockpit view is split into smaller windows: a view from the bridge, a binocular view, information of weaponry, speed, fuel, direction, the time factor and a damage indicator. The operations map shows both the area in which the assignment is set and your hydrofoil.

The eight missions get progressively more difficult: from Battle Training, a simple introduction to hydrofoil combat, right up to Jihad (as in the Islamic Holy War), for the most experienced naval officer. Once you've chosen a mission, the operations map appears with your hydro-foil indicated by a dot within a small white circle. If the convoy is visible, or you have any helicopters, then they can also be directed from the operations map. A clock at the bottom of the screen shows the current time and time by which the assignment must be completed.

You can watch your hydrofoils progress from the operations map until something exciting happens or you can go to the cockpit view and look out over the ocean.

One feature that makes things happen more quickly is the time compression function, which speeds things up by as much as 128 times real time - there's no waiting around for something to happen in this game! Other companies should take note of this feature that prevents players getting bored waiting for things to happen.

Eventually you find some enemies to dispatch and the game becomes more simulation than strategy. Simply choose your weapon and target and get blasting.

There are three ways the game can end: completing the assignment, running out of time and being sunk. Your score is considerably better if you complete the mission because you receive a survival and time bonus. After the assignment you're given a rank that indicates how well or badly you did. It shouldn't take long before you've gone above the rank of Deck Mopper.

The operations map lacks a little in colour and things do get a little confused when there are multiple radar targets displayed. In the cockpit the only real moving graphics appear in the window that overlooks the ocean and here the ships aren't animated - they just move left and right as the hydrofoil turns. The ship outlines are well drawn and you can easily identify the ships from a side view. Unfortunately, you see the enemy head-on more often and since there are no head-on pictures on the spotter card, you'll have difficulty identifying the different enemy types. Sound is limited to crude explosions and the occasional warning sound when missiles are locked on, or you're in shallow water.

PHM may not be the most technically accurate simulation (that honour is split between Gunship and F15 Strike Eagle), but it does have plenty of action and strategy thrown in. Being able to speed up the clock to 123 times real time is a major asset in getting through the boring bits of an ocean voyage. The different assignments make for a long lasting game, but you're unlikely to play again when they've all been completed. This is the third game in as many months from Electronic Arts and it's of the same high standard. Let's hope they keep up the good work!

Second Opinion

PHM has a lot going for it - an effective view, well drawn ships, easy controls and achievable goals.

A pity the maps are a bit plain, but at least it all fits into memory. Worth a look.

First Day Target Score

Complete 'A Better Part of Valour'.

Green Screen View

No problem.


Graphics 68%
P. Detailed ships and map.
N. Some animation would have made things more interesting.

Sonics 29%
P. Kaboom and ping.

Grab Factor 79%
P. Simple scenarios get you going.
N. Rush-through-boring-bits option.

Staying Power 86%
P. Eight increasingly tough scenarios.
N. Once completed, never repeated.

Overall 84%
Another superb Electronic Arts game.


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