F-29 Retaliator logo Amiga Format Gold

OCEAN £24.95 * Joystick, Mouse or keyboard

Aircraft technology has advanced massively in the last 20 years, especially since the introduction of the microchip. Nowadays pilots, especially fighter pilots, can spend less time bogging themselves with flying the planes and more time concentrating on the important things like hitting the enemy and ensuring they don't get the chance to do the same.

Within the next couple of years the 'superplanes' that first appeared on drawing boards ten years ago will start entering service. Two possibilities in that line up are the Grumman F29 and the Lockheed F22, both of which star in this combat/Flight simulator divides by Ocean and loosely based on the believed performances of the plane.

Set in the future, when the planes are in operation, the game contains four theatres of war: Europe, Middle East, Pacific and America. The American theatre is just used as a training ground against simulated targets. The other theatres give a list of missions to choose from - the exact number depending on your rank, which you decide for yourself.

Spend a while getting to know the planes (at Lieutenant level where you have infinite weapons is a good idea) and once confident enough, select a theatre. Work through the missions - every time you get killed a new pilot's log has to be created - and once you've completed them, the war you're in moves on a day, more missions appear and the war situation is updated.

The missions range from deep strike, where you're hitting anything from SAM sites to bridges and battleships, in dogfighting with incoming bombers and fighters. Get bored with one sort of landscape and you can always ask to be posted to another theatre.

For the very impatient or for those who fancy a quick flight without having to do a mission there's always the Zulu option which puts you in mid-flight against an enemy plane. As you would expect, everything is viewed from the cockpit - although out-of-cockpit views can be accessed at the touch of a button - with most of the mechanics handled from the keyboard (lifting and dropping landing gear and such like). So all you really have to do is go out there and get 'em.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

The sport effects are fine, a few more would have been appreciated, but most of the sound is limited to the rushing air and the low drone of the engines - atmospheric but not outstanding. The graphics are another story. The 3D is super fast - arguably the fastest yet seen in a combat flight sim - and the ground detail is superb. The variety offered by the different theatres is also very nice to see and overall it's obvious a lot of work has gone into making this look as good and as fast as it plays.

LASTING INTEREST

Heaps of missions and several difficulty levels - who could ask for anything more?

JUDGEMENT

Excellent stuff! If you've saved the world already in F-16 Combat Pilot and are looking for some new challenges then this is the one to go for. The emphasis is much more on the action side than the flying side and everything hangs together terrifically well.


F-29 Retaliator logo Amiga Joker Hit

Oceans neue Veröffentlichung bietet wie kaum eine andere Anlass für den oft strapazierten Spruch: "Lange erwartet, jetzt endlich da!" Worauf sich unerbittlich die ebenso oft gehörte Frage anschließt: "Hat sich die ganze Warterei denn wenigstens gelohnt?"

Simuliert wird diesmal Gottseidank keine F-16, sondern zwei supermoderne Vögel, die bis heute noch gar nicht am realen Himmel aufgetaucht sind - die Lockhead F-22 ATF und die Grumman F-29 ATF FSW, beide mit dem letzten Schrei der aktuellen Waffen- und Kampftechnik ausgestattet. Vor den Abflug haben die Programmierer wie immer die Menüs gesetzt: Eintragung mit Namen und Rang (= Schwierigkeitsgrad), Wahl des Szenarios (vier Stück), Flugzeug, Startposition, Mission und schließlich noch Bewaffnung...

Bereits beim anschließende Start beschlich mich das Gefühl, eher in einem Actionsimulator zu sitzen, als in einem richtig harten Flugsimulator, wie etwa "Falcon", "Combat Pilot" oder der gute alte "Flight 2" waren. Die rasend schnelle und sehr flüssige Vektorgrafik erinnert dagegen stark an "Interceptor". Soweit mal zu den Familienähnlichkeiten, was hat der Retaliator nun selbst an Besonderheiten aufzuweisen?

Nun ich glaube, daß bei einem Simulator noch nie soviel Spiel für das Geld geboten wurde wie hier: über 90 verschiedene Missionen kann der Freizeitpilot bestehen! Die beiden Donnervögel können mit fünf Luftluft Raketen und vier Luftboden Raketen ausgestattet werden, die obligatorische Bordkanone fehlt ebensowenig wie zusätzliche Treibstoftanks für ausgedehnte Ausflüge. Steuern lassen sich die Flieger per Joystick, Maus oder Tastatur, wobei ganz klar der Joystick die erste Wahl darstellt. Das Keyboard ist übrigens reichlichst mit Funktionen belegt, von denen man die wichtigsten aber schnell intus hat. Wer sich nicht sofort ins Schlachtgetümmel werfen will, kann unter dem Menüpunkt "Zulu Alert" mit unendlich Munition und Sprit erst mal ein bißchen üben: für die richtigen Missionen gibt es dann Punkte, die mit dem Rang multipliziert werden, und natürlich auch Orden.

Man kann ohne weiteres behaupten, daß Oceans erster Flugsimulator gleich ein Volltreffer geworden ist: Die normale Grafik ist gut, die 3D-Vektorgrafik eine Wucht - wie schon gesagt, traumhaft schnell und dabei sehr flüssig. Die vielen Missionen lassen so schnell keine Langeweile aufkommen, es gibt etliche neue Ziele, wie Kriegsschiffe und bombastische Gebäudekomplexe. Ein paar Schattenseiten dürfen aber auch nicht verschwiegen werden: Das Spiel ist bei weitem nicht so simulationsträchtig wie "Falcon" und Konsorten, der Realismus fehlt doch etwas. Genauso wie die angekündigte Musik, lediglich Effekte sind zu hören, die aber auch nicht ganz überzeugend sind. Ein Zweitlaufwerk wird übrigens unterstützt, wer keines hat, sollte am besten den kleinen Bruder zum Diskettenwechseln anstellen! (mm)


F-29 Retaliator logo ZERO Hero

A solid 3D fighter plane simulation from Ocean? Surely not? Surely 'yes', actually. Duncan MacDonald and Jackie Ryan strapped themselves into the cockpit of a Hawker Harrier, stuck Ocean HQ's address into the autopilot, took off, pressed the wrong buttons, crashed, spent three weeks in comas, came round, spent a further three weeks in traction, two weeks convalescing and then hobbled despondently back to the ZERO office to have an in-depth look at F-29 Retaliator from the safety of a sofa...

First there was Interceptor. Then there was Falcon. Then F-16 Combat Pilot, F-15 Strike Eagle and the Falcon Mission Disk. Blimey, what a lot of 'F' words, and now we've got another one: F-29 Retaliator. So how will Retaliator 'measure up'? After all, there's quite a bit of competition - given the pedigree of the aforementioned.

The first thing you'll notice (and you don't really have to be very observant) is that although this game is called F-29 Retaliator, there is actually another plane included in the package: it's an F-22 - you know, the weird looking one that's getting most of the publicity. Now, if Ocean was our company, we would have insisted on this game being called F-29 Retaliator (Oh, And An F-22 As Well). But unfortunately, Ocean isn't our company, so we can't.

The game starts with the enrolling section. Like Falcon, the ranks range from First Lieutenant to Colonel: the higher the rank, the higher the difficulty level and the more points you'll score for each 'kill'. Then you get to choose a scenario, of which there are four (as opposed to Falcon's one).

THE SCENARIOS
Arizona is your first scenario. It's the USAF Test Range, and is set in about 1000 square miles. It's chock full of targets and remote-controlled vehicles for you to practice on. Luckily things don't fire back, so if you want you can safely cram your granny and auntie Maude into the cockpit and listen to them gasp as you give them a taste of modern fighter-ace high-speed combat.

Next up it's the Middle East. You're affiliated with a 'friendly' Middle Eastern nation, who is currently engaged in a fierce war with two other countries. The friendly nation's artillery is heavily outnumbered, although technically superior to its rivals. To succeed, three enemy planes must be destroyed for every one of your own. The war is on two fronts, with large tank battles to the south west and artillery exchanges across the natural river boundary to the south east.

Or there's a slightly more watery scenario: namely the Pacific Ocean. The strategically important volcanic islands of Solomos provide vital oil supplies, and contain the only deep sea port for 1000 miles in all directions. A small military airstrip is located there with a squadron of ATFs (Advanced Tactical Fighters).

VERY SECRET AVIATION THINGS
NO. 1: AN OX
Willbur and Orville Wright were not the first people to successfully attain powered flight. This feat was first accomplished in 1794 by a bloke from Calais called Henri Formenoire. His iron-winged 'ox-powered' helicopter achieved an airborne span of some five seconds before 'landing' at the bottom of the cliff from which it was launched. Sadly, both Henri and the ox perished.

A military blockade by the enemy fleet has cut off all support to the islands, threatening your oil supplies. Plus they're toying with the idea of invading the islands. A sea-bound task force, led by the J.F. Kennedy, is steaming towards the war zone though, and guess who's on board? That's right: you!

Finally there's Europe (The Ultimate Battle Front). This is a real biggie. A full scale conventional war across the heartland of Europe is beginning. All airfields, installations, factories and towns will be attacked and initial losses are expected to be heavy on both sides. Mounting enemy activity has been reported near the border, where an estimated 9000 tanks and three million soldiers have amassed. The enemy is expected to launch a huge assault on key border points, and its airforce will plunge deep into your country, crippling the infrastructure.

Two enemy tanks divisions have assembled along the border with huge reinforcements being drawn up from their rear flanks. The situation will be critical if the enemy tank divisions break through the border defences, as they'll plunge deep into your territory - threatening the industrial complexes at Huttgart, Nurgen and Coberg.

Well. Those are the scenarios. Choose one and zoom through a host of other options, such as Pilot's Log (where you set up and save your status), Zulu Alert (which is a 'quickstart' unlimited weapons jobbie for non-realists), and finally you're provided with a detailed map showing the battle front, and a text description of the latest war events, regularly updated.

YAHOO, CHOCKS AWAY...
We're nearly ready for takeoff. Just a couple more things to do. First it's probably quite a good idea to select which of the 'wizard kites' you actually wish to fly. Then you'll want to arm yourself (to the teeth, probably) with weapons. Air to air, air to ground, air to Venus - things like that. Now, finally, you get to choose a mission from within the scenario you've already gone for. The higher your rank, the more missions will be available. There are absolutely loads of them, but we'll give you an example of two (from the Pacific Ocean scenario)...

(1) The Leonid Brehnev has been sighted with a support ship. Locate and destroy (i.e. sink a ship).
(2) A fierce Enemy counter strike has sunk three US ships and threatens the JFK. Provide air support and destroy the two enemy vessels.
At last. It really is time for your 'chocks' to be 'removed'. Wheeeee!

VERY SECRET AVIATION THINGS
NO. 2: BELGIUM
Belgium has the technology to build a low level strike aircraft which is capable of travelling at 98% per cent of the speed of light (in short bursts). The prototype will be unveiled at the 1991 Paris Air Show.

Atari ST reviewJackie: Wow. If this is what flying's all about, I waint to join the RAF! (Don't you mean WRAF? Ed.) Where are the application papers? Ah, here they are. Right: name. Um, easy enough, Jacky Ryan. Date of birth? Er, (scribble scribble). Any of these diseases? Erm, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, blimey - I don't think I can get that one, erm, nope, nope, nope. Reason for wanting to be a fighter pilot? Um, I've just had a go on Retaliator. Height? Awwwwww! They always get me on this one. I know, I'll add a couple of inches - four feet three inches. There that should do it. Just pop it in the post and then get back to Retaliator Plop.

Now this is good. Very good indeed. It's so massive, that you can fly around bombing bridges and things. (That's what you're meant to do. Ed.) There's a load of 'tactical' stuff at the beginning, and more options than you could shake one of Douglas Bader's legs at, and you've got to know what weapons to take with you on each particular mission if you want to get medals and things. Once you're through all this, though (and you've memorised loads of keyboard buttons), it's take-off time.

Cor, I love that take-off bit. I like switching to the rear window and banking hard to one side. It's just so much more fun than looking out of a boring DC10 window when you're going on holiday to Turkey or somewhere. Plus your ears don't pop, and you don't get handed a plastic tray full of totally useless food.

Everything moves so smoothly and fast, that it really is quite realistic. In fact, here's something for ST owners to crowd about. While the 'static' drawings on the Amiga have more colour in them, the animation on the ST is marginally quicker - and as the Amiga screen update is so blinking good in itself, that means that the ST update is just tremendous.

There's so much to shoot at. Boats for example. (Ships actually. Ed.) They're big, big, big - and there's even water turbulence coming from their sterns. The islands (in the Pacific scenario) even have little strips of yellow beach scattered around: so if you 'prang' your 'kite' you can set the crate down and while away the rest of the war making sandcastles.

Oh, and there are all sorts of other brill things as well - such as the railway lines: if you bomb a big hole in the track, the train actually derails when it reaches the crater. And once you've bombed something, it stays bombed (until you get killed yourself).

Another 'little touch' (and there are loads of them) is the water surrounding the islands. It's light blue (shallow, sand and coral), as opposed to the dark blue of the deeper sea. It may sound obvious, but details like this really help bring a game to life.

All in all, Retaliator is magnificent. The air-to-air combat got a bit hectic, but spinning out of control towards the earth isn't quite so bad when the scenery's so nice. What we have here is sort of a cross between Interceptor and Falcon (and then some). Brilliant stuff.

Amiga reviewDunc:. Well. What can I say? The word 'Wheeee' springs to mind actually, but I'm sure real fighter pilots don't say things like that - I'll have to restrain myself to saying "Polygons ahoy" instead. Polygons are in fact very much 'ahoy' in this game: the ground details are beautifully, er, detailed (unless you happen to be about 30 computer miles away from them, in which case there's a sort of 'dot'). There are gas plants, tanks, SAM sites, landing strips - the list is endless. Well, it's not quite 'endless', but you know what I mean: think of what you get in Falcon and double it.

VERY SECRET AVIATION THINGS
NO. 3: VIRGIN 'AIR'
Richard Branson manages to keep the fares low on his transatlantic Virgin crossings by (a) 'thinning' his aviation fuel by mixing it with nail-polish remover, (b) using 're-mould' tyres on the undercarriages of his Boeing 747s, and (c) only having one working engine on each aircraft.
(That's a pack of lies actually. Ed.)

And, of course, there are the mountains and rivers and roads and railway lines - oh, and wait till you see the islands and ships. And all of the locations are bombable, although it isn't really a very good idea to destroy churches and hospitals. But then again, they don't fire back...

Nearly all the views you could want are included in the game: satellite (better than the Falcon one) control tower (again better), left, right, backwards and forwards from inside the cockpit, and a fixed exterior view (unlike Falcon it always looks north, but you can zoom in and out - in magnify mode - to your heart's content).

I'll tell you what Retaliator hasn't got, though, and that's a cockpit interior 'look up' mode. Bit of a bummer in my opinion, as I use this a lot in Falcon. I'll tell you something else Retaliator hasn't got, and that's an in-flight cocktail cabinet, but I suppose they ran out of memory space. What Retaliator has got, however, is brilliant action and a scenario depth that'll leave you gasping in awe: there are 99 (count 'em, 99) different missions.

VERY SECRET AVIATION THINGS
NO. 4: ERM...
(That's enough very secret aviation things. Ed.)

So, we get to the burning question: Is "Retaliator better than Falcon?" The answer is no - it's the crappiest game I've ever seen in my life. Actually, that was a little 'joke': the real answer is Yes.
Retaliator is (a couple of little quibbles aside) even better than Falcon. And it's certainly much bigger. Basically, you'd be a bit of a prat not to buy it - unless of course you hate flight sims, in which case what on earth are you doing reading this in the first place. Go away at once. Stop


THE PLANES
THE F-29
(THE ONE NOT ON THE COVER). The F-29 travels faster than an Austin Allegro. Over a thousand miles per hour faster, actually. Even with a full payload it scrapes Mach 1.5 (and that's without the afterburner turner on). It's pretty good at flying high as well and can cruise along, no problems, at 70,000 feet. This is especially handy when there are loads of Surface To Air Missiles on the ground - as these tend to peter out at high altitudes. The F-29 is also a bit 'handy' when it comes to 'not being picked up by enemy radar', because of the stuff it's made out of. The whole thing is so incredibly complex that it's impossible for a pilot to exploit all the modes by himself. Hmmm. Quite a fab plane, by any accounts.
THE F-22
(THE ONE ON THE COVER). The F-22 also travels more quickly than an Austin Allegro. And, also unlike most Allegros, it has a combat radius of between 700 to 920 miles without refuelling - more than enough for any mission. Just think, you could watch the end of Neighbours, hop into the plane, fly from London to the Scilly Isles (destroying Cornwall en route), and be back in London in time for Wogan (with Sue Lawley). The F-22 has Pratt & Whitney XF 119 engines, which have vectoring and reversing nozzles (which, combined with onboard computer systems, means the plane is rather manoeuvrable and doesn't need large airbrakes). Yes, it's quite a neat aircraft.
THE WEAPONS

AIR TO AIR MISSILES

AIAAM FIRE BOLT: Advanced Interceptor, long range 'fire and forget' jobbies. These are the successors to the AIM 54 Phoenix and are probably the most sophisticated radar homing missiles in the world.
Range: 130 miles. Speed: Mach 5.
AIM 9M-R-SIDEWINDER: The latest and most advanced of this family, with an imaging infra red seeker.
Range: 11 miles. Speed: Mach 3.
BACK-WINDER 9X: Rear mount short range air to air missile. It fits on your, er, bottom.
Range: 6 miles. Speed: Mach 3.

AIR TO SURFACE MISSILES

MRASM CRUISE MISSILE: Wahey, some real 'kit' - a 'launch and leave' missile that flies for a few 100 miles, hugging the landscape, before discharging loads of 'bomblets'.
Range: 370 miles. Speed: 650 mph.
ASALM: Advanced Strategic Air Launched Missile. Effective against all forms of surface target. Even Claire Rayner.
Range: 700 miles. Speed: Mach 3.5 to 4.5.
CSW: Conventional Stand-Off Weapon - can distinguish between tanks and low value trucks or decoys. It has 20 warheads which separate over a wide area homing in on particular targets.
Range: 30 miles. Speed: Mach 1.1


Flying high with Ocean's debut flight simulation

F-29 Retaliator logo Zzap! Gold Medal

Ocean, £24.99

Ocean's first flight sim is certainly ambitious, simulating not only the next generation of fighters, but also the jets to replace them.

Retaliator begins with the pilot enrolling in the Air Force at any of five ranks (1st Lieutenant up to Colonel). Once cleared for pilot status by a retina-scan security routine your military career can begin. You can either go direct into war with the arcade-style Zulu Alert, starting in midair with unlimited weapons, or pick a scenario. Serious pilots will start at the Arizona Test Range, but there's also three warzones to visit. You can choose either an F-29 or an F-22 and must stick to it through your saved career.

The Test Range is your best bet if you want to get the feel of your new aerial 'office'. Various remotely-controlled targets and drones are scattered throughout the 1000-odd miles making up the Range. Tanks, Trucks, bridges, industrial plants, command centres, airbases, SAM sites and more provide target fodder for ground attacks while drone MiG-29 Fulcrums practice patrols around the Range skies, eager for an air-to-air to take them out. Get the plane up into the wild blue yonder and you'll immediately notice the smooth control and incredible agility of the aircraft.

But thankfully you don't need to be a genius to fly the planes. Three console monitors provide all the data you need to perform your mission, selecting through the displays brings up an amazing array of radars, indicators and moving maps. External views are also available for you to admire yourself from, as is a view from a satellite. Autopilot is provided, with electronic countermeasures (ECM, which jams radar), plus chaff and flares (to distract enemy missiles).

While you're in the States it's a good idea to put the aircraft's weapons to the test, there's five types of air-to-air missiles to choose from, and four types of air-to-surface missile, all highly advanced and 'smart' with it. Load up with whatever weapons you want and use them to the full on the test range. In the warzones you may well experience weapon shortages, so this may be the best chance you get to play around with AGM-10H Cruise Missiles, Back-Winders, Conventional Stand Off Weapons and the rest.

In the 21st Century the future of air power will be a mixture of superlative fighter agility and stealth tactics which is where the ATF fits right in. Shut down all the radars and the aircraft enters stealth mode, vital for passing through defence zones crammed full of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and heavy radar coverage. For high speed, high level flights kick in the Supercruise to thrust up to 100%.

Right, enough of this introductory talk. It's time to get into combat. Through the main option screen you can select the theatre of conflict. The three warzones are all hot spots for the US in the next 20 years and you're in the thick of it. Choose from the Middle East, the Pacific Solomos Islands (a USA colony rich in oil deposits but under threat from enemy naval attack and invasion), and the Big One --conventional war in Central Europe.

Once a warzone is selected you find yourself in Mission Control. From here you can select the type of plane you want to fly, the base you want to start the tour of duty from, the armament and finally the mission to undertake. The ten Arizona Test Missions were merely the beginning because now you've got an enemy going all out to conquer, and ready to fire back at you with extreme prejudice!

Like real life you can't tackle a mission that theoretically occurred towards the end of the war, after all you've only just started! Only by completing missions and surviving the air war do more missions come to light (in the form of War Updates). For instance, in the Pacific warzone the first few missions aren't too demanding at all (down a few MiGs, hit a small enemy oil depot, and so on) but with time the war situation changes, new War Updates appear, and ever harder different missions crop up (ranging from crippling a Super Tanker to defending the New Jersey from all out attack, or even taking on an Aircraft Carrier!).


Phil King Ocean have always been known for their fun, arcade-style games and apart from Top Gun haven't come within F-29 range of a flight sim. Since I'm normally bored stiff by flight sims that hasn't bothered me, but now they have and... it's great. Like Interceptor a few years back, F-29's got the incredible graphics, presentation, and 'idiot/arcade' skill levels to get absolute beginners involved. The 3-D effect is extremely attractive and unbelievably fast (embarrassingly so when it comes to flying the plane). The plane alone boasts a very large number of polygons, plus highly convincing shading as well.
Fly around the warzones on a sight-seeing trip and you may well spot tanks engaged in fierce combat, SAM sites moments before they fire at you (gulp!), and cooling towers with nuclear reactors nearby to bomb (double gulp!). The islands in the Pacific scenario are wonderful to see, with sandy beaches and shallows all around - I haven't played many flight sims in my time but this is undoubtedly the best looking one I've seen.
In fact, I've had such great fun in the arcade option, where I don't have to bother with the engines, landing, radars etc, that I may well start on the serious stuff. Biggles Hogg, here I come!
Robin Hogg In the good few years that I've been into flight simulations I've seen quite a bit of bad but more often than not quite a bit of good. Interceptor on the Amiga was good and so too was the classic Project Stealth Fighter on the 64. Up until today the latter title was my all time favorite; now F-29 Retaliator is the way forward. When you take the superlative flight handling and realism of Falcon and couple it with the outstanding mission depth of F-16 Combat Pilot you suddenly find yourself with what I must regard as the best flight simulation I have ever seen (and there's nothing on the visible horizon that looks set to come close).
The realism of flight is extremely fluent and convincing (made all the more exciting considering the current lack of ATFs to compare it with). Then there's the graphic quality which inches the whole flight simulation field ever nearer to those multi-million pound Rediffusion full-blown flight sims. Throw in infinite depth, with a mind-blowing number of missions, four totally different warzones, masses of enemies to fight, and first class presentation at every point in the game and you have a program that is everything I could possibly have hoped for in a flight simulation. It's not a simulation, it's an experience.
Stuart Wynne While I, like Robin, am a great fan of military aircraft, until now I'd never been hooked on a sim. F-16 Combat Pilot had the depth, but its realistic toughness could be irritating while Falcon still lacks any real depth of scenario even with the Mission Disk. First impressions of F-29 are set by a great rock track and some utterly mouth-watering graphics. To plane buffs like me the futuristic aircraft are exciting, while to other the hi-tech displays and superlative performance are a great jump over the ancient F-16.
For the first few hours you just whiz around admiring the graphics at 'idiot' level: the massive aircraft, the amazing battlefields with battalions of tanks skirmishing, and the superbly contoured islands. Ocean have provided the easy accessibility of Interceptor with state-of-the-art graphics and an amazing depth of play. It's going to be a lot of late nights with this one, I'm afraid!