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AV8B Harrier Attack logo

Nach dem Sovjet-Falken "MiG-29 Fulcrum" rollt Domark nun einen weiteren Exoten aus dem Hangar. Doch während ihr Senkrechtstarter am PC recht flotte Kreise zog, zeigt sich der Sea-Harrier an Bord der "Freundin" etwas flügellahm…

AV8B Harrier Assault In Ermangelung eines passenden Kriegsschauplatzes haben die Engländer kurzerhand eine fiktive Story gestrickt: Während sich die indonesische Regierung ein paar schöne Tage im fernen Japan macht, ist daheim die Kacke am Dampfen - ein kleiner Putsch genügt, schon sitzt das Militär am Ruder. Also bitter man die UN um Hilfe, die ihrerseits einen Flugzeugträger der U.S. Marine einschaltet. Warum auch nicht, schließlich dümpelt der Kahn voller Harriers derzeit ohnehin gerade vor der indonesischen Küste.

Als Staffelkommandant kann man sich nun im bordeigenen Simulator warmfliegen oder gleich mit der Rückeroberung beginnen, wobei es jedem selbst überlassen bleibt, ob er dem vorgegebenen Handlungsstrang folgen oder sich auf der zoombaren Landkarte eigene Missionen zusammenbasteln will. So oder so müssen letzten Endes immer strategisch wichtige Ziele wie SAM-Stellungen mit hochmodernen Waffensystemen eingeebnet, ganze Horden von F-16 abgeschossen oder auch mal (per Helicopter) versprengte Piloten aufgesammelt werden. Darüber hinaus steht die Koordination der Landungstruppen auf dem Stundenplan: hier darf man allerdings nicht selbst Hand anlegen, sondern lediglich die Befehle erteilen.

AV8B Harrier Assault Die Präsentation der einzelnen Menüs ist recht gut gelungen, selbst die Ladezeiten halten sich im Rahmen. Die Bewaffnung (mit teilweise neuen Feuerwerkskörpern wie etwa "Ripple-Missiles") geht flott von der Hand, zehn Spielstände lassen sich abspeichern, es gibt eine Zeitraffer-Funktion sowie einen Autopiloten, und auch an verschiedenen Perspektiven wurde nicht gespart - Missile, Enemy- oder Tower-View, alles vorhanden. Nur mit dem Fliegen selbst hapert es leider: Zwar darf man gleich ein ganzes Geschwader von bis zu fünf Harriern ins Feindesland steuern, doch ohne (schnelle!) Turbo-karte kommen die Vektorflieger nur sehr träge vom Fleck; selbst am 1200er ist das Ergebnis nicht berauschend.

Keineswegs berauschender ist bei dieser Umsetzung die verzwickte Steuerung ausgefallen, denn einerseits reagieren Stick und Keyboard nur mit Verzögerung, andererseits hat man eine ganze Batterie von Tastenkombinationen zu bewältigen. Ja, die Maus lässt man am besten gleich in der Falle. Bei soviel Ungemach retten selbst die relative simplen Senk-rechtstarts und - Landungen das Kind bzw. die indonesische Regierung nicht mehr! Zu allem Überfluss schallt auch der Sound nur tröpfchenweise aus dem Lautsprecher, vom monotonen Triebwerksbrummen und wenigen Effekten mal abgesehen, wird den Ohren kaum etwas geboten.

Tja, schade um die grundsätzlich recht hübsche Grafik mit Infrarot-Sicht bei den Nachtmissionen, Nebelschwaden etc. - schade um dieses originelle Flugzeug, dessen Start sich am PC so vielversprechend angelassen hatte. (rl)

Amiga Joker, February 1993, p.76

AV-8B HARRIER ASSAULT
(DOMARK)
FLUGSIMULATION

52%

"FLY OR DIE"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
70%
59%
46%
38%
49%
50%
FÜR GEÜBTE
PREIS DM 94,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
2/JA
NEIN
SPIELST.: 10
NEIN


AV8B Harrier Attack logo

For their first airborne outing since MiG 29 Superfulcrum, Domark have chosen another highly unique aircraft in the form of the AV8B Harrier. Mark Patterson jerks his joystick in time to the music.

AV8B Harrier Assault VTOL
As you probably know, the Harrier's strength comes from its vertical take-off and landing abilities, a feature which led it being adopted by the United States Marine Corps as their mainstay support craft.
Its primary function is as a strike aircraft being able to carry a variety of bombs and missiles capable of clearing the way for a marine assault. Its vertical take-off feature also makes it practical for use on smaller vessels, so a marine landing force can travel with air support, vehicles and troops all aboard one ship.

Initially, Harrier seems like just another flight sim, but it soon distances itself from the crowd with stylish presentation and some excellent flight features.
As a U.S. Marine Harrier pilot you are stationed aboard a marine base ship which is floating near East Timor. The standing orders are to help the Timorese resistance overcome the Indonesian army who occupy their country. While the Indonesians hardly sound like a strike force from hell, years of war and a good supply of military hardware from Britain have given them one of the best equipped, battle-hardened armies in the pacific.

AV8B Harrier Assault All the pre-flight 'action' takes place in various rooms on board the ship. There is the control centre where the missions are planned, troops and weapons placed and intelligence on enemy forces displayed. Going to the store room lets you see how you are doing for weapons, while taking a trip to the flight deck allows you to arm your Harrier with whatever weapons are available. One excellent feature is the simulator room, where you can practice take-offs, landings and the general art of firing missiles at things without fear of getting blown up.

Because of the Harrier's various roles you are never quite sure what kind of mission you are going to get. At the start most of your time is spent on Combat Air Patrol, where you take off, fly around and shoot any unfriendlies that come into range. Later on you are called to weave a path around, or sometimes through, the enemy defenses to strike at specific targets, which will cause plenty of problems for the Indonesian forces.

AIR STRATEGY
One aspect that separates this game from others in its field is that you do not just pilot the plane, you are also in charge of positioning ground forces and helicopter support. With friendly forces also involved in the attack you need to be careful no to get over zealous and open up at the first thing you see, it might be on your side. Flying the plane is such a challenge on its own that the programmers, Simis, have thoughtfully included a straight combat-only mode which dispenses with the strategy.

Using the Harrier's vectored-thrust engines takes some getting used to. They can be angled at anything from 0-100 degrees – although they can be left alone for normal take-offs, for a vertical lift-off they need to be set to 80. The trick with this is angling them back to zero once the plane is airborne. Do it too fast and it will stall and you will crash right back into the deck, too slow and you will gain too much height and show up like a supernova on enemy radar.

DIGITAL CONTROL
Once the plane is airborne the next thing to master is flying the thing. Analogue joysticks and mouse control are catered for, and these methods provide a great deal more control than with a conventional switch joystick. A handy autopilot mode takes care of trivial things like landing, but you are on your own when it comes to combat. Flying the Harrier is a very tricky business. My first few attempts ended up with some impressive stunts, plenty of crashes and some very unproductive missions.

AV8B Harrier Assault The harrier's versatility is further increased by its excellent array of weapons. It is capable of carrying unguided as well as laser guided bombs. Maverick air-to-ground missiles, Hydra unguided missiles, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and on top of all that it has got a ruddy great gun. Naturally, the amount of ordinance you bolt onto your plane affects its take-off, so a fully tooled-up harrier has a hard time going up from a standing start.

Because the conflict is a good distance from any friendly bases, all your supplies are onboard the ship. This includes spare aircraft (16), troops, vehicles and ammunition. So it is OK to jet in to battle unleashing salvos of rockets, providing you are prepared to enter combat later armed only with bad language.

ON THE DEFENSIVE
Defense is almost as important as attack. Enemy missiles are a constant threat, so the Harrier is equipped with decoy flares, which draw heat-seeking missiles away from the plane. There is also a radar-jamming ECM pod which fixes onto one of the weapon pylons, but being the trigger-happy type, I was more than reluctant to go without an extra pod of missiles just in case I spotted any stray tanks.

Now that companies are starting to beat the A1200 in mind I would like to see them move away from the traditional vector-based flight sims. After seeing Novalogic's awesome fractal helicopter sim Commanche running on the PC, it would be nice to see games like that appearing on the Amiga. Realistically, the existing style of flight sims have gone about as far as they can, now it is only really the aircraft which will change.

In the mean time, this is one of the toughest flight simulators I have ever played. Leveling the Harrier after a turn is a challenge in itself, let alone successfully completing a mission, and not only do you have to master the aircraft, there is also the strategy side to keep you engaged.
If you are into flight sims and you have got an A1200, or even an A600 for that matter, you won't go wrong with this.

CU Amiga, February 1993, p.p.50-51

A600 vs. A1200
After playing Harrier on the A1200 I don't think I could go back to playing it on a mere 16-bit machine. Because the polygon graphics require many mathematical calculations the game runs significantly faster on the A1200. On slow machines the lack of graphic detail is very noticeable, mainly because you get to look at things a lot longer. From this point of view A600 owners are a lot better of sticking with F-15 2 from MicroProse or SuperFulcrum which is also from Domark.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
Out now
Adventure
Simis
Mouse, Joystick
4
1/2
Yes
1Mb

 

DOMARK £29.99
Great on the A1200, too slow on the A600.
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
72%
75%
83%
82%
OVERALL 82%