They seek him here...

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo

BAH, pranged again. And after a successful mission as well. I'd just finished blasting villages and tank farms along the Libyan coast, had sunk a couple of ships, and was manoeuvring to land back on the US carrier when disaster struck. The engine stalled.
Not a fatal occurrence unless you happen to be flying at 200 feet, which is what I was doing at the time. Still, at least it was only a training mission. After being warned not to try it again in real life and given a combat readiness strip, I was ready for my next mission.
Or I thought I was. Oops, killed in action said the roster, just after my supposedly dead body had been cleared for combat service. Bit of a bug methinks, but thankfully the rest of F-19 Stealth Fighter makes up for it.

If you thought Ocean were somewhat mean with their skimpy packaging for F-29 Retaliator (the aircraft that will never see active service) you have a treat in store with this Microprose game.
The box is huge, the manual thick, slickly produced and glossy, and there's a couple of maps and a keyboard overlay to help you master one of the world's most sophisticated aeroplanes.

It may be a complex plane, and a ditto game, but getting into the air is easy enough so you won't be spending three hours reading the manual before you can take off. You'll want at some point though, otherwise you won't have a clue what's going on.

F-19 Stealth Fighter offers four theatres of operation: That new American favourite, Libya, the frighteningly topical Persian Gulf - though the designers have missed out by not including countering an Iraqi invasion - the North Cape, and good old Central Europe.
Initially you will be offered training missions in which the enemy cannot hit you and you cannot crash, though this can be changed straight from the start. There are more than 4,000 different missions to be undertaken, though just how different some of them are is debatable.

Before taking off the four weapons bays of the F-19 need to be filled up, and here the program scores highly. Virtually every missile and bomb you could wish for is available.
The ground crew recommends your ordnance, but this can be changed to whatever you like. The back of the manual contains a welter of information on weapons systems, or even if you aren't au fait with missiles and bombs you can check up and choose for yourself.
This should be done because in the mission detailed above the ground crew installed a Maverick thermal imaging ground to air missile, which is acceptable against ships.

What I really needed, and did install, was a Harpoon, sea-skimming, radar and inertial guided missile. This is the standard anti-ship missile of the navy and air force.

As mentioned earlier, taking off is easy, as is manoeuvring and flying level. Mastering the techniques of maximising the F-19's radar invisibility attributes takes practice though. Thankfully the excellent manual will guide you through fooling radar, avoiding missiles, strafing ground targets from 3km, and tackling hostile warplanes.

Unlike most other flight sims, the F-19 pilot needs to concentrate on remaining undetected until the target is reached, and the become invisible again after leaving the area.
Old Microprose hands will welcome the various medals and awards handed out after increasingly successful sorties.

The speed of animation is impressive in F-19. Flying at low altitudes the scenery just whistles by, unlike F-29 Retaliator. Sound effects are generally good, but when you are flying a silent fighter you don't expect to hear much until the action starts.

F-19 Stealth Fighter has class written all over it. The graphics are pretty good, if not quite as glossy as the recent competition, though they are fast and the round-the-plane views are excellent. For those who want a strict fly, shoot, have fun game then the Ocean sim is more in your flight path.
On the other hand, if you want a superb, sophisticated, enjoyable, complex and action packed simulation then you want a copy of F-19, a sim from the people who really know about sims.

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo Amiga Format Gold

MICROPROSE £29.99 * Joystick, Mouse or Keyboard

Literally worth more than its weight in gold, the Stealth Fighter is a weapon of the 21st century, During a cold war it's ideal for covert action; in a limited war its invisibility makes it perfect for tactical strikes. Best of all, if and when the war finally heats up, its sheer undetectability allows the F-19 to tread boldly where normal planes fear to fly.

F-19 lets warmongers, hawks, and sabre-rattlers try for the top gun slot in a simulation of flying, bombing and dogfighting. Flying either a true Stealth (F-117 A) or Microprose's theoretical model of the plane - designed for the PC version when the craft didn't 'officially' exist - you play the part of a new pilot hoping to win glory, medals and promotion through the ranks by way of flying skill.

Stealth gives you two planes with masses of missions and three levels of hostility in four different battle zones. Reality is high on the agenda with four levels of detail for approaching objects, enough views to make the head spin, tactical maps, tracking cameras for target identification, on-board computers, detection threshold indicators, every weapon under the sun and even accurate star constellations in the night sky.

If that's not enough there are alterable way points to aid navigation and pulse or Doppler radar to contend with. Using real maps and with a staggering variety of targets to shoot, bomb and fire missiles at it has enough to satisfy anyone's appetite for destruction.

Every stealth mission follows a set pattern. After selecting a pilot there's a briefing in which you can check on the tactical info available on both your primary and secondary targets. It also gives you a chance to work out the way points you'll need to set for navigating around enemy radar bases and SAM sites.

After arming your plane at the one-stop missile shop it's time to get airborne. Taking off from a ground base is reasonably easy but carriers prove to be a little more difficult. Even flying is tricky, because for max stealth potential the plane must be flown at tree-top level (200 feet!) where all the best turbulence lives. This fact exacerbates the F-19's already major aerodynamic flaws - this plane was designed to be invisible, not soar majestically! The Stealth flies like a Skoda and steers like a truck when compared to all the MiG-29s waiting out there.

Using the rather handy and pleasantly idot-proof way-point direction system, getting to the target is child's play. When flying, though, your prime objective is keeping your radar profile low. In the centre of the cockpit sits a detection indicator. A bar coming from the bottom indicates how much of a profile you're currently showing the enemy, while a bar at the top shows the strength of their radar pulses. If the two bars overlap they've spotted the Stealth and MiGs will be scrambled. Basically, you're in trouble - big, bad trouble.

As the target approaches it's time to use the nifty tracking camera system. Basically, it's a small TV monitor that helps you to identify targets and tell friends from foes. You can look in four directions and prioritise targets with the tracker, sorting out who's for the chop and in which order.

A good array of skills and tactics is essential if you're to reach the top. Techniques have to be learned for toss bombing, altitude bombing, anti-ship warfare, anticipation firing, dog fighting and carrier landings, if you're to become even remotely good. The excellent technical manual must be scoured for hints and tips, because flown properly a Stealth Fighter is unstoppable.


F-19 uses graphics of real speed and quality to bring home the combat experience. With the trackcam giving pictures of the targets, plus all the various chase plane and exterior views, the graphics mesh well, bringing the sim to life. With themed beginning and end sequences, the military concept is backed to the hilt with official-looking clipboards, regulation cups of coffee, back-slapping buddies for survivors and military funerals for crash victims.

Soundwise Stealth doesn't do itself justice, but there's little scope for innovative engineering with planes. They pootle around dropping things that go bang and little else.


Stealth isn't the kind of sim which can be flow straight away, even by adept Amiga avaiators. You'll be able to keep the thing in the air with no hassle after a few flights, but a lot of hours have to be logged before the plane's full potential is realised. There are some odd flight characteristics which seem impossible to master.

With the mission 'randomly' generated, there is obvious scope for long-term gameplay. The parameters that create the missions allow great flexibility with everything from the experience of the opposition to the war zone, chosen by the pilot. The game doesn't cease to amuse once you've learned the art of survival against elite opposition in Western Europe with the reality settings on max: then there's the chance to get cocky, showing the 'commies' what the best pilots can do with the best equipment.


F-19 is the business. It deals with state-of-the-art kit and is a state-of-the-art sim. There isn't just a rush to the target, dropping a bomb or two and running away: there's the strategy of avoiding radar and the challenge of keeping your profile as low as possible. Stealth is the most complete flight sim yet in terms of gameplay. It's as if the plane was built for a game. You have the edge in terms of technology and that's a good feeling, but they have the numbers and even the Stealth's special powers cannot guarantee success. A good pilot is always needed. There's a real thrill when fighters race above your head, while you proceed unhindered and unseen, safe in the knowledge that you have a missile lock on them but they don't even know you're there.

F-19 Stealth Fighter: Main screen explanation
  1. Power controls.
  2. Gear controls.
  3. 'Autopilot' indicator.
  4. 'Gear Down' indicator.
  5. Map. Can be switched from a true video map to a tactical map which shows the position of enemy bases and aircraft.
  6. Radar profile indicator. The red bar at the bottom shows how much of a radar profile's your showing the enemy. A white bar coming from the top shows how strong a fix the enemy has on you.
  7. Tracking camera. Lets you choose and identify targets.
  8. Warning lights, for bay doors, infra red lock on, radar lock, or if you've left the ECM on.
  9. HUD type, toggles between air-to-air, air-to-ground and navigational.
  10. Current weapon.
  11. Height indicator.
  12. Speed indicator.
  13. Current item displayed on Tracking camera.
  14. Direction indicator.
  15. A windmill.

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo Amiga Joker Hit

PC-Besitzer kennen den "Tarnkappen-Bomber" schon länger, seit kurzem zischt er auch über ST-Screens. Und die Amigaversion? Deren Tarnung wird jetzt exclusiv bei uns gelüftet!

Als die erste C64-Version des Spiels veröffentlicht wurde, war der Stealth Fighter noch Top-Secret - während diese Zeilen geschrieben werden, überlegt sich die US-Regierung bereits den Einsatz der Maschine im Irak-Konflikt. Allerdings heißt der Vogel jetzt F-117A und sieht doch ziemlich anders aus, als man sich bei MicroProse so vorgestellt hat. Aber die bekannten Simulationsspezialisten haben schnell geschaltet: Der Spieler kann jetzt wahlweise mit beiden Fliegern feindliche Radarsysteme austricksen, der Unterschied beschränkt sich dabei vorwiegend auf die Optik.

Daß man sich mit diesem Game besondere Mühe gegeben hat, zeigt sich bereits am gelungenen Intro mit der stimmungsvollen "Stealth-Musi". Danach kann ein (langer!) Piloten-Name eingegeben werden, für den das Programm dann die verschiedensten Statistiken führt. Die Einsätze werden auf einer Karte geplant, selbstverständlich ist die Bewaffnung rundum am allerneuesten Stand der Dinge. Es gibt Luft- und Bodenmissionen in Libyen, am persischen Golf, am Nordkap oder in Europa - alles in den verschiedensten Variationen. Hin und wieder wird man sogar auf reine "Fotosafaris" geschickt! Der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist gleich vierfach verstellbar; mit Trainingsflügen, unterschiedlich starken Gegnern und erleichtertembzw. Hyperrealistischem Flugverhalten.

Gestartet wird übrigens entweder vom carrier oder einem Flugplatz. Ob man nun mit der "echten" F-117A oder dem MicroProse Modell F-19 unteregs ist, stets müssen alle Aufgaben so angegangen werden, daß man den speziellen Anti-Radar-Fähigkeiten seines Vogels Rechnung trägt.

Technisch ist die Simulation brilliant in Szene gesetzt: Vielfältige und einfallsreiche Außenansichten, unglaublich detailfreudige Vektorgrafik in ausreichender Geschwindigkeit und jede Menge Bilder, die extra für den Amiga neu gezeichnet wurden. Auch der Sound geht in Ordnung, neben hübscher Musik gibt es sehr gute Effekte zu hören. In Sachen Steuerung hat man die Wahl zwischen Joystick, Maus und Tastatur. Darüberhinaus ist das Keyboard noch mit allerlei Flugfunktionen belegt - dank Tastaturschablone und der fast 200 Seiten starken Anleitung (mit schönen Farbkarten) hat man die Sache schnell im Griff.

Ein Extra-Lob gibt es noch für eine Funktion, die uns besonders gut gefallen hat: Bei F-19 Stealth Fighter hagelt es nicht nur die üblichen Beförderungen oder Orden, nein, nach jeden Flug werden alle Geschehnisse ausführlich bewertet - purer Balsam für die Motivation. Kurzum, das Spiel zählt ohne Zweifel zu den absoluten Top-Simulationen! (mm)

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo CU Amiga Super Star

Price: £29.99

In one of the most spectacular marketing coups of recent years, Microprose USA produced a flight sim based on a plane which nobody, bar designers, military brass and the White House, knew anything about: the F-19 Stealth Fighter. Though visually incorrect, and the name finally revealed as the F-117A, Microprose's simulation was, amazingly, so accurate that it actually landed them in trouble with the military when it was released on the PC.

Now that technical data as well as pictures have been released it's made things a lot easier for the Amiga and ST programmers. Rather than scrap their original prediction for the stealth fighter, the programmers have decided to keep it in alongside the actual F-117A, so there are two planes to choose from.

Start off by entering your pilot's name then select a mission to fly. Choosing a mission is a matter of selecting the scenario (Libya, Persian Gulf, Norway and World War Three in Europe), followed by strike missions against ground targets or air to air missions. Depending on how good you are at landing you can set the controls for no crashes, easy landings, or the real thing which can prove very tough.

Arming your plane isn't easy either. I spent some time sorting through the extensive manual trying to decide what weapon would cause the most damage to enemy villages. The computer suggests what the best weapon selections are for each mission, but these will differ from your own personal taste. You can launch from an aircraft carrier or, more likely, an airport in friendly territory. From here on F-19 runs similar to other wargames. The plane's computer has your destinations preprogrammed, so it's easy to find your target(s).

Like the real thing your stealth fighter comes equipped with a camera. This is probably the most useful gadget on the plane. With it you can look and tack visually all the way round your plane while looking forwards out of the cockpit. It also shows when your missile's locked onto a target which is really useful when you're using bombs.

Should you complete a mission, successful or otherwise, you get a debriefing. Which is rather nice as it shows little pictures of how well you did during your assault.
As with any organisation there's the chance of promotion and the odd bit of metal being pinned to your uniform. You start at 2nd Lieutenant and work your way through the ranks until you hit Lt Colonel, but that rank warrants retirement and only appears after one hundred missions. Commendations include Purple Hearts and various medals for bravery in the face of the enemy. The top award is the Congressional Medal of Honour, the US Army's highest award.

The graphics are among the best I have seen on any Amiga flight sim. They're smooth, fast and well drawn. Another interesting point is that objects slowly come into view unlike other flight sims where mountains spring out of nowhere. It's also nice to see enemy planes and installations on your camera display, instead of dots in the distance.

F-19 is taxing, though it's surprisingly easy to get to grips with the controls. The planes handle well with uncomplicated controls and simple to use weapon systems. This is an excellent sim for the novice, but expert pilots shouldn't be put off either. If the game's set on a high difficulty level you need to use every trick in the book and push the F-19 (or the F-1117A) to its limit.
A truly excellent simulation.

F-19 Stealth Fighter: Photo

The stealth fighter's main selling point is that it's almost invisible to enemy radar. This extraordinary ability is made possible with a combination of radar absorbing paint and body work which includes revolutionary front and tail designs.

It's believed that it can carry most of the weapons currently in service with the USAF, though its payload is limited by the fact that its weapons are contained internally.

Unbelievably, the F-117A has been in production since 1981, with the first units being officially shipped to Britain this autumn. But it has been rumoured that they have been flying out of US Airbases in England using Raf Lightning for sound and visual cover for the last three years.

It's also known that the fighter saw combat action in the Panama invasion. Here its role was exploited to the full. A squadron flew in under the nose of enemy radar and attacked key installations to prepare the way for the marine assault.

Dimensions: Wingspan 43ft 3ins, Length 64ft 11ins, Height 12ft 4ins.
Role: Fighter/interdiction attack.
Speed: Estimated at just below Mach 1.
Crew: 1.
Cost: Between $100 and $500 million depending on avionics and weapons load.
Amount in service: 63 (estimated).


F-19's graphics whiz past at between seven and twenty five frames a second, averaging at twelve. On the new Amiga 3000 its average is twenty five.
The game world covers 400,000 square miles and includes the Middle East (prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait), Libya, North and Central Europe.

Programmed by Time Walker, Adrian Scotney and Malcolm Hellon with Mark Scott on graphics, the whole thing takes up eight megabytes, though the eventual compacted version will fit on two disks.

One of the most notable graphic achievements is getting curved wings on a graphics system which only uses polygons.

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo Zero Hero

Absolutely yonks ago, there was a competition in The Indy (you know, the really trendy Kid's Section thingummy of The Independent) to 'be a ZERO journalist for the day'. The prize involved reviewing F-19 on the Amiga, going for a quick spin in the MicroProse plane, and all that dinkum. Well, among the several hundred entries from Paul 'Lemme Reviewit' Lakin was one from Alex Richardson of Brean, Somerset. And - rather spookily - he won!! And this is what he had to say:

Amiga reviewAlex: They certainly know their presentation, these MicroProse bods. From the sunglasses and coffee cup sitting on the table during the mission briefing to the many external camera views, F-19 adds up to one impressively detailed package. It comes with a brilliant glossy manual which tells you all you need to know about being a Stealth Fighter pilot, plus a cardboard cut-out keyboard overlay with all the controls printed on. This is absolutely essential as you would need a massive memory to remember them all!

Gameplay varies from the nerve-wrackingly suspenseful to the gut wrenchingly exciting as you duck through enemy radar nets and take on the top enemy fighter jocks in a fight for air supremacy. The graphics are absolutely stunning: the ground detail is all there right down to the same individual missile launchers at SAM sites. And it is all as smooth as a baby's botty. If you are into flight sims, then you certainly won't go far wrong with this...

F-19 Stealth Fighter logo Zzap! Sizzler

MicroProse, Amiga £29.99

Near invisible to radar, shrouded in secrecy and worrying Saddam Hussein as this is written, the F-117A Stealth Fighter is America's most secret aircraft. It was in service for years before it was allowed to be filmed. So MicroProse developed their Stealth sim using 'best guesses' and called it F-19. When the F-117A was finally revealed MicroProse changed the sim to give you the option of flying the original F-19 or a new F-117A.

Four combat zones are available to the Stealth pilot: choose from Libya (with a Training mode for beginners), the Persian Gulf for the ultimate in topicality and the dangerous North Cape and Central Europe combat zones.

A series of parameter-setting option screens allows you to alter Level of Conflict, Type of Mission (choose to attack an air target or strategic or tactical ground targets), Opponent Quality and Flight Performance (beginners had best stick with the No Crashes option before attempting Easy or Real Landings).

A mission briefing and enemy appraisal follows before arming up the aircraft. There's little difference between the two Stealth fighters, neither is easy to fly. The F-117A is slightly unstable in flight but for both types of aircraft survival depends on minimal contact with the enemy and its radar. An EMV Bar Gauge in the cockpit shows your Stealth rating, effectively your 'visibility' to the enemy. Low-altitude, low-speed, level-flight keeps the EMV down, allowing you to penetrate further into enemy airspace without detection (although the higher the selected Opponent Quality level, the more experienced the enemy is, the better protected the target and the harder the mission becomes). Needless to say, once you're detected all hell breaks loose as enemy air-power comes onto the scene and SAM missiles roar skywards.

The most impressive features of the Amiga game are the external viewpoints which, if used effectively, can make your mission almost like a movie. There's a host of standard viewpoints but the tactical views are the best, showing your Stealth from the enemy plane's ground target's view or vice versa. It's near impossible to fly the Stealth from these viewpoints but it's great fun (and very cinematic) to see yourself storm right over the smoking remains of an enemy installation.

After you have created hell in the mission and landed back at base (or not) a debriefing follows, detailing the vents during the flight: successes, hits, kills, mistakes and all. A Save/Load feature is provided but pilots missing/killed in action or retired are removed from the disk.

Hitting the primary and secondary targets all adds to the mission score and successes are met with promotions and decorations for exceptional skill. The higher risk the mission the better the rewards, of course - just don't end up ploughing a field with your F-19!

Robin Hogg This is the one that I've been waiting for after playing the C64 original to death and being blown away by the graphic quality of the PC version. I was disappointed that it's no advance over the PC game, but for once we have a simulator that is very fast in flight, has great graphic detail and variety and has the mission depth to back it up. The graphics aren't all that sophisticated and there is the odd graphic error here and there (like Boeing 767's casting F-18 Hornet shadows!) but the atmosphere is all there and the enemy is used intelligently to create a thoughtful challenge. Pity about the dire sound effects.
Having got used to the pace of the C64 version, it's all immensely fast now with 16-bit speed and an ultra-sensitive mouse control option (thankfully, this can be adjusted). Learning to cope when the action hots up is going to take quite a while so it's good that you can earn your wings on lower risk warzones before tackling the First Team in Central Europe. For me, the entertainment came from 'thinking' your way through the radar net to the target before the mission and then watching it all work correctly in practice. Finally hitting the target proved immensely satisfying.
The mission selection/creation system is one of the best I've seen as it allows the player to set his own pace through the game rather than being forced through a series of set missions. The flexibility offered by the parameters on the pre-mission option screens ensures appeal for all levels of armchair pilot while also allowing for the development of the player's skills. With the random objective generation system at work to create a different target time, each mission is different in its demands, challenge and methods of attack required by the player. This one's got a lot to offer and keeps you playing.
Stuart Wynne Graphically F-19 is a mixed bag. The graphics work well at long to mid-range; there's lots of variety and the close-up view via the TV is a neat idea. There's also a plethora of external views which can be switched between to give a genuinely cinematic feel; the enemy perspective pans to keep the F-19 in view superbly. Unfortunately, close up the graphics are poor, the F-19 itself is a simple black silhouette while land graphics are dull.
Partly because of this F-19 isn't a 'pick-up and go' product. The graphics aren't impressive enough for a simple zoom around to be all that satisfying. Indeed the F-19 itself is a realistically poor flier, lacking vertical climb and stalling easily at low altitude. To get the most out of F-19 you have to absorb the 192-page manual which is certainly impressive, with massive attention to detail. In this respect F-19 scores above all other products. This is an uncompromising sim unrivalled in atmosphere. Stealthing about requires more thought than your usual sim, while some weapons are complex to use. There are only a handful of basic missions types, but the various combinations, different zones and ranks provide a massive challenge.