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Jane's Combat Simulations: AH-64D Longbow (DOS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  re_fold (282)
Written on  :  Sep 12, 2003
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Summary

Recruit me please!

The Good

It has been a few years since i last played this game, but my memory of it is good enough to write this review, as it made a very good, lasting impression on me.

This simulation of the AH-64d across several 'theatres' of war has you executing missions in those campaigns, and besides those a few others can be found in the 'Museum' at the base. Before you'll be ready to surprise a few tanks, you'll need to learn the basics and much more than that at the training grounds. A very gentle step-by-step program in which your teacher will explain all of the details (you can hear him, and watch as the instruments he speaks about light up etc). Soon the lessons will deal with more complex matters, and the excellent manual will explain tactics such as 'Side Flare Quick Stop'. It also has a 'In a hurry?' chapter to get in the air quickly, but this won't do if you want to complete missions and learn something as well. The reference card is keyboard-sized and has all the commands you need, shown by use of a colour-coded depiction of your keyboard.

I never ran a helicopter simulation before this game, and yet i was flying around the desert where i receive the training in no-time. The flight dynamics can be simplified to ease newcomers into the game. When i turned on the full simulation, i had trouble keeping my helicopter airborne, but after a while the 'easy' flight model felt too simple.

The realism of this simulation was a great challenge to me, a challenge which was correct, which had a basis in real helicopter flight. I can compare this game to a racing game i own, Grand Prix Legends, to explain this better. In that game, i still spin out at least a few times a lap, and i haven't even got a chance of racing with other drivers, but i know it is possible for me to learn it. I can not say it is a lousy game, because it is i who doesn't know how to drive. In this respect these games are comparable; the challenge seems equal to the one in real life. (I know i am disregarding the fact that the real drivers/pilots are risking their lives, among other things.)

The missions were never boring, even when i was flying nap-of-the-earth for ten minutes, as you need to constantly adjust collective, heading etc. However, they were not spectacular (another point for realism).

The Bad

It runs more slowly in a Windows 95 DOS box than pure DOS. I can't run this game in Windows 98 (it is possible but difficult) HOWEVER i can't expect it to support newer operating systems can i?

The Bottom Line

I've bought the sequel, hoping it would revive my interest in helicopter combat, which this game started. And this time, i own a joystick!

Exquisite AH 64d simulation.