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Der gezähmte Tornado

Pro Flight logo

Von feuerspeienden Drachen über "Adler" und "Falken" bis hin zu futuristischen Raumgleitern wurde schon so ziemlich alles simuliert, was überhaupt nur fliegen kann. Aber jetzt haben wir doch noch ein UFO entdeckt – ein unversoftetes Flugobjekt...

Pro Flight Genau genommen ist die "Panavia Tornado" natürlich die Entdeckung on HiSoft, einer Firma die bisher vor allem durch Anwendungen wie "Lattice C Compiler" oder den "Devpac Assembler" (damit wurde übrigens "Populous" gemacht!) aufgefallen ist. Und ganz genau genommen hatte die Panavia schon zwei Bildschrimauftritte, aber das eine Mal nur auf dem C64 ("Twin Tornados"), das andere Mal bei "Fighter Bomber" – und da fliegen sich ja alle Vögel mehr oder weniger gleich. Wer sich aber mittels einer absolut seriösen Simulation auf seine Wehrpflicht vorbereiten möchte, der sollte es mal mit HiSofts Bundeswehr-Maschine versuchen.

Tatsächlich sind die Einsatzmöglichkeiten der Panavia Tornado äußerst vielfältig, dieses Allroundtalent beherrscht vom Luftkampf bis hin zur Bombardierung von Bodenzielen praktisch alles – altgediente "Falkner" werden sich zumindest in dieser Hinsicht recht heimisch fühlen. Im Spiel wird aber wesentlich mehr Gewicht auf das Fliegen selbst als auf den bewaffneten Kampf gelegt; das merkt man schon beim allerersten Erkundungsflug: Statt einer feindverseuchten Landschaft kriegt man eine ganz normale Umgebung mit Bergen, Seen und Dörfern zu sehen. Überhaupt geht es hier weniger ums Bumbum, hier ist Realismus Trumpf! Tag, Nacht, Dämmerung, originaler Sternenhimmel (in der Stellung vom 1. Januar), wirklichkeitsgetreues Flugverhalten (Strömungsabrisse und Black Outs inklusive), verstellbare Tragflächen, Autopilot – das einzige unrealistische, aber dafür sehr praktische Feature ist der vom "Flight Simulator II" her bekannte Slew Modus, so eine Art Beam-Funktion.

Gelegentlich darf man natürlich schon mal eine gegnerische Stellung bombardieren oder sich mit der Bordkanone bzw. den mitgeführten Raketen (zwei Modelle) zur Wehr setzen, aber ein explosives Spektakel sollte man sich auch dann nicht erwarten. Dementsprechend beschäftigt sich das 190 Seiten starke, englische Handbuch ebenfalls ganz überwiegend mit der Beherrschung des Fliegers und den möglichen Flugmanövern. Beherrschung ist auch bei der Maussteuerung angesagt, sie funktioniert zwar ausgezeichnet, ist aber sehr sensibel (mit Joystick fliegt sich es etwas schlechter). Die brauchbare Vektorgrafik erreicht nicht ganz das Tempo von "F-29 Retaliator", zählt aber allemal zu den flottern Vertretern ihrer Art. Enttäuschend hingegen der Sound: Das Musikhören hat man Tornado-Piloten anscheinend verboten, und die Effekte reißen auch niemand von Hocker.

Insgesamt gesehen schließt Pro Flight aber eine Lücke zwischen den völlig friedlichen Simulationen "Blue Angels" und ihren überwiegend kriegerisch orientierten Kollegen. Allerdings zu einem doch recht aggressiven Preis – für 120 Mäuse bekommt man ja fast schon anderthalb Falken...! (mm)

Amiga Joker, September 1991, p.62

Amiga Joker
Pro Flight
Grafik: 70%
Sound: 33%
Handhabung: 74%
Spielidee: 70%
Dauerspaß: 71%
Preis/Leistung: 52%

Red. Urteil: 68%
Für Fortgeschrittene
Preis: ca 119,- dm
Hersteller: HiSoft
Genre: Simulation

Spezialität: Kein Kopierschutz, Handbuchabfrage. Wichtig: Beim Eingeben der Serienummer, etc. die Disk im Laufwerk lassen!


Pro Flight logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

Pro Flight What weighs 30 tons, travels faster than the speed of sound and flies low enough to knock the chimney off your house? A Tornado IDS of course! The pride of the Royal Air Force and the world's top strike air craft.
Pro Flight from Hisoft gives you the chance to fly one of these multimillion pound military toys. And if that's not enough your given the occasional missile silo and enemy plane to blow up.

The package comes with one disk, a clip binder and a wad of hole-punched papers. After spending fifteen minutes clipping skin off my fingers with the binder's rings I finally rendered my DIY manual readable. It starts with a brief history of the Tornado followed by a quick start guide, control summary and everything else you need to know to fly a multimillion pound plane. Interspersed between the instructions and tutorials are sections such as the theory of flight and advanced flying techniques which, although not necessary to play the game, provide interesting reading. The presentation is a let down. Each menu is explained in detail in the manual, though poorly presented in the game. F1 calls up the main menu table which is badly superimposed over the main display, meanwhile the game carries on and it's left to you to juggle the pause key and fly the plane.

My first feeble effort at piloting a Tornado was a resounding failure. Plowing into the ground at Mach 1 is highly inadvisable. After wandering through the game's various menus, I found the crash inhibitor option, which knacker-proofed my Tornado but did nothing to enhance my flying prowess.
The first challenge is keeping the plane in straight and level flight. The controls are so sensitive that it's all too easy to over compensate and go into an unrecoverable spin. After practising a few basic manoeuvres, such as turning without crashing, it's time to try some of the trickier stuff. The first advanced move you're taught in the manual is looping the loop which, for all the detail it's explained in, didn't prevent my loop from ending up as a Mach 2 power dive into a village.
The instructions recommend playing with a mouse instead of a joystick, words of wisdom I can vouch for. For a start, the mouse buttons are used to operate the rudder, joystick users have to keep reaching out to the keyboard every time they need to perform a turn. The mouse also allows you to easily compensate for pitching and banking, whereas digital joysticks cause all sorts of problems as you fight to stop a plane going into a flat spin.

All the dials and readouts are dear and easy to read, an essential feature of any flight sim. The control and feel of the plane is excellent. Banking and pitching is very easy, using the mouse gives you complete control. Once you are fully at ease with the controls and the way the plane handles it's possible to pull off some really amazing moves. This, coupled with the smoothness and speed of the graphics, make this one of the most realistic sims I have played.
It's obvious that a lot of thought and calculation have gone into the main simulator. Having only sat behind the controls of a plane once (and that was a single prop Cessna) I'm not the best person to judge a flight sim's realism, but this is how I imagine a supersonic aircraft would handle.
In real life a Tornado pilot doesn't have to worry about map reading as he usually has a co-pi lot for that. Unfortunately, you don't get a co-pilot in the box, so mission planning is down to you. Up to eight way points can be set before take off which designate primary and secondary targets as well as your home airbase and routes around objects you might wish to avoid. Although the presentation on this section could have been better, it's still easy enough to use and a necessary part of the game.

Pro Flight can be played with solid or wire frame graphics, the latter of which enables the game to run at maximum speed. Even in solid graphics mode the visuals are crude and interesting objects are few and far between. However, everything moves so fast that there's scant time for site seeing. The impression of speed and movement given by the graphics is incredible, contributing a huge amount to the games playability.

This is not a simulation for the trigger happy or faint hearted. It's a complex, detailed and accurate simulation of one of the world's top military aircraft. Pro Flight achieves all its objectives, delivering a top notch flight sim.
Mark Patterson

CU Amiga, July 1991, pp.60-61, 63

FAX PAX
1 The Tornado was designed for close air support, battlefield interdiction, counter airstrike, naval strikes, reconnaissance, air superiority and air defence.
2 A Tornado can go from its hanger to 30,000 feet in 1.7 seconds.
3 Its maximum take-oft weight is nearly 30 tons.
4 It can carry a total weapons bad of 10 tons.
5 The Tornado is used by the British, German, Italian and Saudi airforces.
6 The most famous Tornado users are 617 squadron, made famous by their World War 2 exploits when then bounced high explosives into German dams.
7 Despite being able to carry a larger variety of weapons than any other tactical fighter, at ground level it's the fastest plane ever built. 9 Should they become damaged, a Tornado's engines can be replaced in less than 45 minutes.
10 The Tornado is the only plane in the world capable of carrying the JP233 area denial weapon.

UP, UP AND AWAAAYYY
The Royal Flying Corp evolved from the Royal Balloon Regiment although it wasn't considered as a military branch until April 1st 1918, when it became the RAF.
By 1939 over half Britain's military spending went to Bomber command which made up just over half of the RAF. Their investment paid off. During World War 2 more U-boats and enemy shipping where sunk by the RAF than by the Royal navy.
During the latter part of the war metals such as aluminum and iron were scarce, so cooking pans, railings and shot down enemy planes were all melted down to replace lost aircraft. Unfortunately for the RAF, pilots weren't so easy to come by.

LIKE A HURRICANE
During Gulf War the Tornado attacked airbases and were technically flying below sea level along dried up river beds and lakes.
The Tornado was developed by Britain and Germany to be the ultimate all-weather multi-role fighter. With its Turbo union RB199 running flat out a Tornado can obtain speeds in excess of Mach 2.2, although it's designed for slower low altitude flight. The IDS version is designed to fly under enemy radar and deliver its deadly payload deep inside hostile territory.
It's capable of carrying a huge variety of weapons, ranging from 281lb practise bombs to 500 kiloton nuclear devices. For defence purposes every Tornado is equipped with a Marconi ARI 23246/1 Sky Shadow ECM unit which can detect and jam many different types of radar emission.
The first combat outing for the Tornado came in the Gulf war, where they were used to attack enemy airbases. By utilising their fly-by-wire radar, Tornado pilots where able to fly their planes along low-lying wadis, which meant that they were actually flying below sea level.

HISOFT £39.95
A highly absorbing and realistic flight sim...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
80%
71%
86%
89%
OVERALL 87%