Release Date: 1982
Publisher: M Network
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: MT5861
Programmer: Larry Zwick
Strap into the cockpit and take flight to engage in a not so thrilling dogfight against an entire enemy squadron.
Sadly you aren’t just fighting the enemy and a constant barrage of flak coming from anti-aircraft guns, you are also fighting against the stupidest ground crew in the history of warfare.
When you begin you are on the runway and must take off, which sounds simple enough. Your plane automatically gains speed and at the appropriate time you must pull back on the stick to take off. Do it too soon and you crash, which means you can actually get a game over in less than a second if you aren’t careful. Do it too late and you run off the runway. Of course the game gives you no indication of when it is safe to take off, because having that kind of information from your ground crew would make your life way too easy.
Once you crash and burn a few times and finally get the hang of taking off, it’s time to engage the enemy. For the most part they fly in packs of three along the horizon. They don’t actually attack you, rather they appear to just be out for a leisurely Sunday fly. Their flak cannons however can do great damage to you. There isn’t a damage meter or a power bar of any sorts, so you will never know if you are about to be brought down or not. The best bet is to just stay out of the “flak zone” that is marked on your plane’s dashboard.
Now that you are in the air, have a target and know what area of the sky to avoid, it’s time to open fire. Just don’t put the hammer down since you are limited to 99 bullets. This takes a lot of fun out of the game because instead of being able to go crazy with the hot lead, you have to carefully aim and squeeze off short bursts. Granted this is more on the realistic side, but if we wanted realism we would have taken flying lessons and not bought a video game. You also have a fuel gauge that depletes at varying speeds depending on what you do (climbing higher uses more fuel than diving for example). If you start to run low on fuel you must carefully decrease your altitude to zero and wait for the runway to appear. This only happens if you have successfully shot down at least ten enemy planes, since apparently your commanding officer just wants the good pilots to survive.
This brings us to the proof that you have the stupidest ground crew in the history of warfare. When you land they completely refuel your plane, so one would assume that since you are about to take off back into an active war zone they would refill your ammo as well. This would be an incorrect assumption, because they only give you a single bullet for every plane you shot down. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if they added it to your stock, but that’s not the case. For example, if you shot down say, 12 planes and landed with 40 ammo left, you would be taking off again with 12 shots rather than 52. It’s like the ground crew wants you to die.
Between the lack of fight in the enemy, the variety of cheap ways to die and having to deal with rampant ground crew stupidity, there isn’t very much good to be found here.