THE CASSETTE cover of Strike Attack from Micro-mart for the 48K Spectrum claims that the program is the ultimate simulation, which might lead a potential buyer into thinking that the program has similarities to the Psion or Hewson programs which feature visual represenations of cockpit views. The instructions enclosed are more explicit and tell you that you will be provided with all the information you would have obtained by instrumentation or by visual means.
In fact, the player is cast in the role of the navigator of a NATO Phantom attempting to destroy an enemy base with bombs and is provided with a set of readings indicating flight status. The situation outside the aircraft is represented solely by a grid in centre screen on which graphic symbols depict target, hostile fighters and the Phantom.
Using the keyboard, the player moves the aircraft across the grid, paying attention to the various instrument readings and hoping to avoid missiles and other attacking aircraft by breaking. That is meant to represent the tight turns necessary in air warfare to escape attack. Warnings are flashed on-screen to describe the type of attack. There is a training mode and an operational level.
The instruction manual is rather impenetrable but after a few practice runs you will appreciate the general idea if you are not deterred by witty comments like "You jerk, you didn't break hard enough'. The program seems to run very slowly and the response time to commands is slow. That becomes a real disincentive to continuing after a time and there is little feel of controlling an aircraft - more the sense that you are obeying the computer orders.
Because of that the game is no compelling enough to make you want to get back in the air. Two or three attempts after the training sequence convinced the reviewer to seek pastures new. The program did not live up to the packaging.
Memory: 48K Price: £6.95