MIG-29, Hornet. (combat flight simulation games)
by Scott A. May
Spectrum HoloByte sets the skies ablaze with the release of MiG-29 and Hornet, two hot additions to the software company's impressive Electronic Battlefield series. MiG-29. available in two versions - a stand - alone model or an integrated add-on to the company's best-selling Falcon 3.0 - sets a furious pace. Both of these versions offer advanced combat flight simulation fans the ability to pit these fearsome war machines head to head, either with remote modem play or with up to six pilots linked via a Novell local-area network. Whether you're flying solo or as part of a multiplayer squadron, it's an experience totally unique to this dynamic and exciting genre.
Veterans of Falcon 3.0 will feel right at home with the game's interface and main control panels. Just select Instant Action to jump right into the cockpit of the MiG-29 Fulcrum, the Soviet's most advanced fighter/bomber, for a no-frills, quick-and-dirty dog fight. This is also a great place for you to practice new combat maneuvers and other flight skills. Back in the War Room, you can choose Red Flag to run a series of training missions, each one carefully designed to hone one of the many skills that you'll need to become an expert pilot. If you're an experienced player, you'll also want to use the Red Flag editor to design your own missions. Especially worth noting are the onboard flight recorder and the ACMI playback unit, which is a sophisticated training tool that you'll use for analyzing mission highlights from inside or outside of your aircraft.
Once you feel fully at ease with the abilities of the Fulcrum, take off in one of six multimission campaign scenarios, designed in counterpoint to selected theaters of conflict from Falcon 3.0 and its add-on mission disk, Operation: Fighting Tiger. Lead your Soviet squadrons against U.S., NATO, and Coalition forces in such hot spots as Iraq, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, and Pakistan. Remote or networked serial connections let you fly on opposite sides of the conflict or, even more exciting, as part of multipilot squadrons. Simply put, there's nothing else like this on the market. Should you choose to be a MiG-29 pilot, you'll enjoy a slight advantage in many areas because of the aircraft's extreme speed, agile handling, and stability during a high angle of attack. Other goodies include a sensational infrared tracking system that not only improves weapon accuracy but whose use of passive (nonradar) target acquisition also prevents enemy detection of missile or gun lock-on.
The third side to this scintillating series is Hornet, available only as an add-on accessory to both stand-alone versions of Falcon 3.0 or MiG-29. This one puts you in control of the F/A-18 Hornet, a multipurpose, fly-by-wire naval strike fighter. Somewhat similar in design to the F-16 Falcon, the Hornet is strictly carrier based. Though a superb air-to-air fighter, heavily used both for air defense and as a fighter escort, the Hornet's main area of expertise is air-to-ground missions, utilizing up to 15,500 pounds of deadly payload. In addition to duties as fighter escort and air defense, the simulation requires that you master carrier catapult launches and three-wire landings, complete with digitized voice communications with the on-deck Landing Signal Officer. The game follows the setup and control design of the previous titles and can be enjoyed alone or linked to Falcon 3.0 (as friend) and MiG-29 (as foe). In addition to two-player modem links, networked play can actually incorporate all three simulations. Hornet features only one theater of war, Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it's politically charged.
Both MiG-29 and Hornet come equipped with Spectrum HoloByte's typically outstanding documentation and support materials, including full-color campaign maps and quick-reference cards outlining HUD and cockpit layouts, as well as each game's extensive keyboard commands. The MiG-29 main manual weighs in at a hefty 491 pages, while the Hornet tips the scales at 110.
In combat culinary terms, MiG-29 serves as a robust addition to Falcon 3.0's main course, while Hornet whets the appetite for even greater glory. Those wishing to expand their Electronic Battlefield should consider MiG-29 a must-have and Hornet a should-get.