A.S.P.: Air Strike Patrol (SNES)

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Written by  :  So Hai (371)
Written on  :  Jul 18, 2009
Rating  :  3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars

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A Well Made and Eerily Relevant Jet Fight Simulator.

The Good

"Air Strike Patrol", or "Desert Fighter", as it is called in my Region (Australia), has you piloting various jet-fighters in a isometric view, quite like "Desert Strike", or "Urban Strike".

It's obvious that the background to this game is vastly influenced by the then current Gulf War. We see an American or Coalition force (which is what the player takes control of), going up against a Middle-Eastern-type opposing force. The parallels are virtually rammed down your throat in this title, (the enemy are called Ziraqi, for example).

Although a lot of the content in this game is heavily derivative, once you begin playing, you realise that there is a decent shooter to be had. For a title of this age, there is quite a lot put into the gameplay.

Firstly, from your command-centre type interface (inter-cut with various "GNN" video news highlights), you can review your current mission status and play with various options. The main decision being just what plane you should take out on your "sortie".

You can choose from two plane types, the F-15 Eagle, or the A-10 Bomber ("Tankbuster"). Each plane is quite different, and you'll find yourself changing between them quite often - one has supreme air-command, while the other has great air-to-ground offense.

Most missions or "sorties" as they're referred to in this game, have you on a search-and-destroy action. It's either blowing up various radar stations, pipelines, or, that Gulf War icon, the SCUD missile. There's lots of room to manoeuvre on the large desert maps, and you'll find that the enemy, although usually under-armed as compared to you, make up for it in their vast numbers. The last sortie really proves this point! It's a great challenge.

This games presentation is of a above standard quality. The publisher have really tightened the games details up well, and the feeling of being a kind of a military/airforce unit is fairly convincing. The use of military-type radar, maps and personnel are the little touches that convey this.

The Bad

I feel that the game does bog down in sub-screens too often though. Your command-centre and briefing are filled with detail that you really don't always need, and I'm afraid they're are mostly un-skippable, (you can hold down A to speed through them though).

Watching the handful of GNN newsreports becomes old fast too. And although I'm sure they're intended to both provide a realistic touch and congratulate the player, these two effects become pointless out of their sheer repitition.

The Bottom Line

Desert Fighter or A.S.P., is a game that really might have slipped through the cracks in the Fighter-sim genre - I'm sure it lost out to "Desert Strike". It is however, a superior game, and stays truer to the material than the other's in this genre. Apart from it's unusual and/or anti-social interface, this game was a pleasant surprise when I bought it, (so many years ago).