Electron User

Spitfire '40

Author: Desmond
Publisher: Mirrorsoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in Electron User 5.05

All you lovers of those old World War II films can now train to become top fighter pilots with Spitfire 40, a new flight (or should that be fight) simulator from Mirrorsoft. With plenty of practice, skill and just plain good luck, you can rise to the rank of Group Captain and be decorated with the VC, DSO and DFC.

On starting, you are presented with five pilots' names from which you must select one. A log book for the pilot is then shown. This displays his name and rank, the number of flying hours clocked up, the number of victories and any medals awarded. I was disappointed not to be allowed to enter my own name here.

Finally, a menu is printed which shows the three game option. The first is a practice run which enables you to concentrate on learning how to fly the Spitfire without the worry of being shot at by enemy planes.

Spitfire '40

A successful landing adds the flying hours to your log. Once you've clocked up enough hours and feel fairly confident of your ability to fly you can try your hand at aerobatics in preparation for combat.

Combat practice places you in a situation where you can try out your technique. In this mode, crashing or being shot down does not count against you on your log.

Once you've had enough of this, you can move on to the real thing - air to air combat. First you are given your mission instructions. These tell you how many enemy planes there are and where they are situated in relation to the runway.

Spitfire '40

When airborne, you can have a map of the area you are currently flying over displayed on-screen. The enemy planes' positions and their heights are also indicated.

My favourite part of the game is the dogfight. I found it difficult to hit the enemy at first as it takes about a second for the shots to reach their mark.

Overall, the game is fairly easy apart from landing the Spitfire. The dogfights can be quite tense and the first time you shoot down an enemy aircraft you get a real feeling of achievement.

The instruction manual is clear and tells you all you need to know about the game. Not only that, it also gives you a brief, but interesting, background history to the Spitfire and includes a small bibliography of books for anyone wishing to learn more about this great aircraft.

The one thing I found lacking was that almost undefinable something which makes a game addictive. I enjoyed playing it for short periods, but it isn't one of those I would automatically reach for when sitting down for a gaming session.


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