Compilations are a bit of a hit and miss affair. Only a handful manage to avoid the inclusion of a duffer, the rest always blowing it with that atrocity from the fog of 1986. Empire's last stab at compilations proved something of a motley collection, but they seem to have got the mix pretty much right with this one.
At first glace the minimal line-up might seem like a tech-head's dream - 688 Attack Sub, F-15 Strike Eagle II and Team Yankee - but looks can be deceptievm so just you take a bite.
Let's wade through 688 Attack Sub first, shall we? There's really no getting round it. If there are any weak links in the chain, then this is it. Let's be honest, as well designed and programmed as 688 Attack Sub, it's something of an eclectic choice for a compilation. I really can't see too many people getting worked up over this one. Delve (ahem) deeper though and there's actually some good fun to be had. And for once, neat graphics are on offer, with some good 3D routines and stuff. Gosh.
Moving swiftly on, we come to the much more accessible Team Yankee. Essentially a less ambitious version of Pacific Islands, the only real downside to this game is that it's uncomfortably similar to its successor. Limited game structure aside, Team Yankee is really rather special. The graphics will deter some, but beneath that dodgy 3D exterior beat the heart of a brilliant tank-based strategy/arcade crossover. A real gem, Team Yankee was never really accepted by the action-orientated public. Maybe its inclusion will sort that out.
But wait, the real reason for the golly-gosh mark at the end of this review is this. This is the big one. This is F-15 Strike Eagle II. Spectacular in every way, this represents the cream of 1991. Originally released by MicroProse, this one still soars up there with the classic F/A-18 Interceptor and Knights Of The Sky. There's Top Gun action aplenty waiting in this hot little number, and it's still just about worth pulling out 30 quid for this one alone.
But - hey! - when you get the totally tank-tastic Team Yankee action sim thing and a well done (if slightly minority interest) 688 Attack Sub as well, then there shouldn't be any question about a speedy purchase.
The Bottom Line
What Combat Classics lacks in numbers it sure makes up for in quality. Go on, off to your friendly computer game retailer with you.