NEW ATARI FLIGHTS
Latest Simulation Softwareby CHARLES JACKSON
Antic Staff Writer
Professional pilots as well as armchair astronauts and arcade aces will enjoy these "uplifting" new programs for Atari. Flight Simulator II and Space Shuttle plus F-15 Strike Eagle all offer more realism than many "professional" flight simulators
Space Shuttle is a home version of the flight simulator used to train shuttle astronauts. You begin your mission in the cockpit 15 seconds before liftoff. Fire your main engines and watch a blue sky fade to black as you pilot the shuttle into orbit 210 miles above the earth. There, you must rendezvous with a satellite and return to earth before running out of fuel.
Your shuttle is equipped with five radar screens, two sets of retro rockets and a mission status board. Use the board to monitor elapsed time, position, speed, fuel level, plus status of your engines, landing gear and payload bay doors.
Programmers Steve Kitchen and Bob Henderson included many special effects. Just after liftoff, you'll see a flash of light and hear your booster rockets fall away from you. During re-entry, while plummeting through the electrically charged upper atmosphere, some of your instruments will temporarily "black out," just as they do during actual shuttle flights. As you near the runway, you'll hear a pair of sonic booms as you pass through the sound barrier. Upon landing, your main tires squeal as the shuttle rolls to a halt at the end of the runway.
Space Shuttle offers three training modes: an introductory level to give you the "feel" of flying the shuttle, a "training" level to sharpen your piloting skills, and the "Mission" level where you must test your skill against the clock and a diminishing fuel supply. I'd recommend this simulation game for ages 10 and up.
FLIGHT SIMULATOR II
Flight Simulator II is the most advanced flight simulator program available for the Atari. It puts you in the pilot's seat of a true-to-life light airplane, a Piper Cherokee Archer. The program features four-color scenery including mountains, islands, buildings, parks and 80 usable airports. At the start, you're on a runway at Meigs Field near Chicago, facing the Sears building and John Hancock tower. The program also comes with recognizable scenery for Chicago, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles
Flight Simulator II has an editor that can freeze your position and change any combination of flight conditions, such as altitude, speed, location, power setting, weather conditions and time of day.
Beginners should be warned that Flight Simulator II is a sophisticated program with very detailed instructions. If you've never piloted an airplane before, your first few days with this software will be filled with stalls and crashes.
Flight Simulator II is not easy to fly. The plane is controlled by joystick plus much of the keyboard. You must press the right cursor arrow key 16 times to advance from idle to full throttle. Press the  and [B] keys to look out of the rear window, and repeatedly press the [C] or [M] key to move the rudder.
The program comes with a 92-page book about aeronautics, a 90-page flight manual and pilot's handbook, four flight charts and a double-sided "quick reference" card. Flight Simulator II is not really a game, although it offers a "game" option. The program is actually an excellent training tool which can best be used by student pilots or aviation buffs aged 16 and up.
F-15 STRIKE EAGLE
Launch into the most exciting aerial combat since Star Raiders with F-15 Strike Eagle. Microprose Software has realistically computerized seven sky battlezones over the Mid-East and Vietnam.
As the pilot of a fully equipped F-15 jet fighter, your first mission sends you into Libya to bomb military airfields and the Libyan Air Command Center. A Libyan Su-22 fires a heatseeking missile toward you as the dogfight begins. Should you need to refuel, you can land on the carrier Nimitz, now patrolling the Mediterranean just off the coast of Libya.
The U.S. Air Force F-15 offers state-of-the-art navigation and weapons systems, including computerized radar and tracking displays, radar jammers, electronic early-warning systems, automatic steering cues, eight supersonic guided missiles, 18 bombs and a 20mm cannon with 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
Your flight instruments, navigation cues and warning signals are projected onto the front windshield. These "heads-up" displays let pilots monitor their instruments while closing on a target. The game is the first flight simulator to include such a display.
The game is controlled by keyboard and joystick. A second joystick may be added to control your throttle and speedbrakes.
F-15 Strike Eagle is an engrossing game which challenges pilots of all skill levels. Beginners will enjoy flying the F-15. Jet aces will enjoy mastering it
Flight Simulator II
713 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
A Journey Into Space
2350 Bayshore Frontage Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
F-15 Strike Eagle
10616 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, MD 21030