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Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

MINDSCAPE * £22.95 * 1Mb * Keyboard/joystick * Out now

"But captain, she's held together with toothpaste and bogies, she can'ne take no more."
Come on now all you programmers out there, isn't it about time you concentrated on playability rather than detail? In about a year's time there are going to be flight sims where you'll have to get your pilot dressed in the morning and send his kids off to school.

After getting the kids off to school you'll have to drive your car to the airfield only to find that your plane hasn't been built yet, thus you'll have to build your plane out of Hope and Glory matches and Evostick. Detail is getting a little out of hand on these games.

If you are a generally impatient person like me, then you must probably find games with too much detail infuriating instead of engaging.
Megafortress is one such game. It's so involved that you have to plough through a manual of proportions similar to that of the Domesday Book just to install it onto your hard disk.

In general, the aims of the game are quite similar to Falcon - you choose various missions which include bombing innocent coach loads of vicars and so on.

There are three different "theatres" as they are called that you are part in.
There is the compulsory Persian Gulf without which all the flight sims in the last year or so wouldn't have existed. The Old Dog (your guess is as good as mine) and Red Flag.
Basically a theatre is a number of missions geared toward the political climate of the era. So the Persian Gulf theatre entails bombing the buggery out of everything that moevs and a lot of things that don't and the Old Dog involves an ageing Digby.

Each theatre has eight missions which you can take part in. Once you have chosen a mission you get a quick briefing and off you go.

After choosing the mission you must choose your weapons - a bomber's not much sodding good without bombs, is it? Wow man, the armoury is awesome - every possible type of bomb you could think of - but let's not get silly. There's no point dropping a Cruise missile on one measly control tower, so you must choose the missiles vaguely suited to your use.

Once you have chosen your mission you have to fly the plane - a bit of a pain, I know. You can choose from a number of views, such as the main cockpit, the co-pilot panel, comms and external view.

So first off, you'd better start the plane, really. Now I know that I'm not exactly the Red Baron, but I still thought that starting a plane wouldn't entail much more than a simple twist of a key and pushing a few buttons.

But no, procedures for starting the plane on Megafortress just about stop short of chanting, drawing pentagrams on the floor in chalk and making sacrifices to the God of Aeronautics.

It's all turning on batteries, flicking switches, levering levers - h, the thrill of the chase. But eventually you will get the thing in the air and off into the great blue yonder.

The detail is a little over the top but flight sim fantatics will lap it up. The different scans and radar are very convincing. It even has the view from the cameras on the bombs, which is a nice touch.

One of the features that I most liked about Megafortress was the mouse control. On all the old flight sims, when you lifted the flaps or something, the lever or whatever moved on the screen, but on MF you actually move the thing with your mouse instead of using the keypad.

From the pilot's view, you control most of the plane's movement. You can use joystick if you want to, but cursor keys are generally a lot better. From here you can do things like identify yourself before your own guys blow you out of the sky, and turn the lights on, it's even got sodding air conditioning. I thought this was a plane, not Marks and Spencer.

To make full use of the game you would really have to scrutinise the manual quite hard - there were loads of little buttons and bells that I'm sure did something, it's just that I'm not quite sure what.

If you like flight sims you will enoy this game, but then again if you like them to be graphically smooth and speedy this is definitely not the game for you, and if you don't have a hard drive and you hate swapping disks then you're really knackered.

I tried to play this without a hard drive on an unexpanded 500 and it was diabolical - every single icon you click on brings the old "please insert disk blah blah" ten minutes of that and I was fit to nuke a nun. Like a lot of simulation games around at the moment, Megafortress suffers from painfully slow screen updates.

The only way I got it running at anything like a decent speed was by having it installed on a hard disk in an Amiga 3000 with an accelerator, so you can see how serious the problem is.

A lot of time has been taken over Megafortress, but it doesn't do anything new for flight sims. If you like 'em though, you'll like this one.



Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

Take one outdated, massive American eight-engined bomber. Add a pinch of trendy stealth technology and stir in the melting pot of modern combat.

Everybody must have heard of the B-52 bomber. I mean, they were used in Vietnam, they were used in the Gulf, they've even had a hand named after them. Not bad going for a big, ugly, out-of-date strategic bomber.

The B-52 Stratofortress (as it's properly known) has had a hard time of late. What with all these new-fangled supersonic stealth aircraft, nobody seems to want a lumbering eight-engined bomber with the radar signature double that of an Italian opera-singer. Scrapheap here we come.

But perhaps not. A chap called Dale Brown, who apparently used to navigate with the USAF on these babies, wrote a book in 1987 about a B-52 which was modified at Dreamland, the secret aeronautical works deep within Nellis Airforce Base. The plane was given all the stealth characteristics so in vogue at the moment. He called it the Megafortress.

And here's the game of the book. What you've got is a completely black plane that flies almost exclusively at night, with no lights on, and tries to avoid everything it picks up on radar. So you can forget your G-LOC fighting skills - it's time to get defensive.

Rock Lobster
First you must learn to fly the beast. This means sussing out not one but five vital onboard situations, one for each crew-member. If it sounds complicated, that's because it is. For example, if you want to get the thing off the ground (and it is desirable for most of the missions), you must flick loads of switches in the commander's position, then swap to the co-pilot's seat to flip some more, then swap back.

To operate the switches and levers, you must use the mouse. Click on each button and the computer switches to whatever it wasn't switched to before. Once you get used to this, you can actually fly round most of the panels, clicking away and getting the flight systems running with surprising rapidity. But it does take a while to get used to it.

As well as the two actual pilots, there's a navigation station, an offensive-weapons console, and an electronic warfare operator (see panel). You'll need to be familiar with each if you're going to get anything done. There are three theatres you can operate the Megafortress in. Red Flag in Nevada is a training area, which gives you some mock-up baddies for you to avoid, as well as bombing ranges, air-to-air refueling points and missiles bases to hide from.

Then there's the Gulf. Yes, it's time to go up against Iraq once more, as you fly much the same sort of missions. This time, though, the enemy is real. They're angry, they're numerous and they don't like huge black planes flying over their territory.

If that doesn't pucker you enough, then there's always 'The Flight of the Old Dog'. Taken directly from Dale Brown's book, this sees you belting across Kamchatka in an effort to knock out a special laser developed by the USSR for use against good, honest Americans everywhere.

You have to beat the best Soviet equipment both on the ground and in the air during this mission, and, seeing as you're the only idiot that is stupid enough to actually try this sort of caper, you've got no support from any of the other US forces. It's a big mission, and it's packed with nerve-shredding tension almost from start to finish.

How this game differs from many flight sims is its time-scale is more realistic. This means each mission takes a while (about half-an-hour or more) and for much of the time you're sitting waiting for the action to start as you drone across the night-time landscape on autopilot at about 200 feet. But if you're having a go at the Old Dog mission, the tension really gets to you as the minutes tick past.

Megafortress is reminiscent of Birds Of Prey in that it's not a climb-in-and-fly sim. You do have to know the manual, and there are those five stations to master (see The Dream Team box). But the control panel, switch-clicking business works better than you'd think, and it's fairly forgiving when you're in a hurry.

The game is let down by the long disk-accessing pauses as you switch from station to station. The actual update rate isn't quite fast enough, either. Also, you only get to fly the Megafortress at night. This makes sense plotwise, but it limits the gorgeousness of the outside views somewhat. It's a pity because there would otherwise be some great external views. What you actually end up with is a black angular shape whizzing over a load of dark grey shapes on the ground.

Love shack
Because it's a bulking great bomber, the combat action in Megafortress is far removed from the usual manic panic. Instead of climbing, diving, weaving and generally chucking the plane around, you have to concentrate more on electronic warfare at the Offensive Weapons Officer's station. This gives it a nice tactical edge, and when you finally manage to fend off an attack on your ship, it's very satisfying.

But on the whole, Megafortress lacks the edge which would place it up there with the F19s and AH73s. There's just too much techie clicking and disk accessing and just not enough fast, furious action. The novelty of flying a one-off B-52 soon pales and you'll need to be dedicated if you're going to stick with the game through all of the available missions.

The supplied documentation is good, though, especially when you bear in mind the 'special price', and the level of detail is impressive if you're impressed by that sort of thing. Like Space Shuttle, Megafortress borders on the educational, and again like Shuttle, this is to the detriment of the seat-of-the-pants playability.


THE DREAM TEAM

It's tough enough playing part of one modern jet pilot, but in Megafortress you have to become five highly skilled airmen at once. Although this means concentrating on the manual, it does make the game more varied. But the question is, do you get their combined salaries (plus danger money) at the end of every combat mission?

The Commander's view: This is where you do the real 'flying' from. Taking off, landing and evasive manoeuvres need outside views, so you'll have to be at this station to carry any of these out.

The Co-pilot's view: Here you'll find most of the none-essential controls. Electrics, lights, radios and all that type of nonesense are all controlled from the co-pilot's station.

The Navigator's view: Loads of maps, obviously. But as well as maps, there's a large dollop of radar equipment, distance measuring gear and other useful tracking devices to get you home.

The Offensive Weapons Officer's view: Search radar, guidance cameras, missiles, bombs, the lot. You name it, this guy can destroy it. They're all here: free-fall bombs, guided air-to-surface missiles and air-to-air.

The Electronic Warfare Officer's view: He's first to know when anything's aiming at the Megafortress. He'll jam it, confuse it, chaff it and, when all that's failed, he'll pray at any deities he believes in.



Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

Wer immer schon mit einem Elefantenbaby elegant durch die Lüfte segeln wollte, der fliegt hier richtig! Diese Simulation eines B52-Bombers war schon am PC ein Schwergewicht, und bei der Konvertierung hat sie kein Gramm verloren - nur die Eleganz hat etwas gelitten...

Hier ist einfach alles gewaltig: der stählerne Riesenvogel selbst, die mitgeschleppte Menge an Ausrüstung und Waffen, die Zahl der Gegner - nicht zuletzt aber auch die Aufgabe und der Funktionsumfang.

Bevor man überhaupt abheben kann, ist schon eine Checkliste mit über 16 Punkten durchzuackern, und wenn der Gigant endlich schwebt, darf man sich mit Radar, Navigation, 200 Tonnen Sprengstoff und dem Job des Copiloten gleichzeitig herumschlagen.

Das Ziel liegt dann entweder in Nevada (Training), im Irak oder in der ehemaligen UdSSR.

Freilich, das Fluggefühl löst garantiert keinen Temporausch aus, es entspricht etwa dem eines sanft dahindümpelnden U-Boots, außerdem muß selbst bei 1MB (Mindest-) Speicher öfters mal nachgeladen werden. Wegen der häufigen Nachteinsätze ist die Grafik eher duster als schnell & schön, und die Animationen ruckeln auch nicht schlecht.

Aber funktionell und übersichtlich ist die Optik auf alle Fälle, so lassen sich z.B. die Außenansichten vielfältig variieren. Die Musik ist ein richtiger Ohrwurm, und auch die FX sind ganz OK, vom eintönigen Motorengebrumm mal abgehört.

Bei der Handhabung gibt es noch weniger zu meckern - die Maussteuerung ist logisch aufgebaut, über eventuelle Bedienungsprobleme helfen die dicken Anleitungen hinweg. Für Otto Normalpilot ist Megafortress dennoch weniger geeignet, aber Vielfliegern verspricht es doch eine Portion Abwechslung. (mm)



Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

Love Shack, Planet Clair, Rock Lobster - classic hits by the B-52s. Mindscape attempt to simulate hits with B52s.

What was the name of that Kenny Everatt character? You know. The American general with the huge shoulder pads and a chest full of medals. The one who used to say 'We're gonna round 'em up, put 'em in a field and bomb the...'. Yeah, that's the one. Anyway, what ever his name was, he'd love this game.

The only trouble is that the anti-American pinko subversives haven't been conveniently rounded up and put in a nearby field. They're scattered from the Persian Gulf to the USSR and it's going to take some pretty high-tech equipment to track them down. To a certain extent, the high command has got the situation under control, but what they need is a bunch of guys who are prepared to climb inside a B52 and deliver 50,000 pounds of explosive mega-death missiles to the collective communist doorstep. Any takers?

ONE HEAD IS BETTER THAN FIVE
The game is unashamedly (and rightly so) based on Dale Brown's apocalyptic novel 'Flight Of The Old Dog', which chronicles the adventures of a group of die-hard pilots and their kill-hard B-52s. They are the West's only chance of salvation from an increasingly powerful Soviet bloc, and as it happens, Flight Of The Old Dog is one of the three scenarios in Megafortress, the other two being training at Red Flag in the US desert and the now ubiquitous missions against Iraqis in the Persian Gulf.

But this isn't one of your Knights of the Sky-style take-off have-a-dogfight-and-land flight sims. Oh no. That would be far too simple. You see, for a start the B-52s a long-distance stealth bomber, so it's not going to mix it up with any MiGs because it's trying to get to the target unnoticed.

And what's more, the B-52 has a five-man crew, which means on every flight you're the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, weapons officer and electronic counter-measures guy.


The game is let down by the 3D

Apart form making it the perfect game for shizophrenics, this is where Megafortress really comes into its own.
It's quite unlike any other flight sim because the realism isn't just a purist's delight, it actually becomes an integral part of the game. Each position has a baffling screen of fully operational instruments, replete with dialable dials, switchable switches and buttonable buttons.

With all this attention to minute detail, you'd be forgiven for thinking Megafortress is a game for aeronautical train spotters. Sure, it's easy to imagine five hooded anoraks huddled around an Amiga, taking turns to operate each station, and getting kicks out of turning the landing lights off at exactly the right moment. But they'd be missing the point. Yes, it's amazing that you can twiddle the knobs and flick the switches, but it's their effect on the gameplay that's important, rather than the fact that they exist at all.

Controlling each of the positions becomes a sort of role-playing-cum-strategy sub-game that provides a telling test of nerve and intelligence. In fact, Megafortress is as much about strategy as it is about flying. For once the manual's not packed with explanations of next-to-useless manoeuvres such as the inverted 'S' and the Immelmann loop.

Alongside the essential instructions on how to operate the equipment, there are detailed explanations of electronics and avionics. Some of it reads just a bit like an A-level physics lesson (so I'm told), but it all adds to the game's highly realistic atmosphere.

I FORT IN THE WAR FOR YOU
As far as the flying is concerned, the frame rate is slow and doesn't compare with F-15 or Knights of the Sky. But it doesn't take long to realise that it doesn't really matter. The B-52 isn't going to get involved in any dogfighting, so the game's playability isn't impaired by the plane's sluggish movement. And anyway, as I said before, Megafortress isn't about fast and furious dogfights. It's about tension.

It's about sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for the target to come into view. Hoping the enemy radar won't spot you. Checking the radar to look for incoming missiles. Telling everyone else in the room to shut the hell up while you're coming in to land. Worrying that you've missed the in-flight refuelling rendezvous.


It's about sitting on the edge of your seat

Switching to the nav station and biting your nails as the plane sneaks around a mountain, a couple of hundred feet above the ground. If you want a nerve-racking computer game, you just found it.

But not everything is hunky-dory in this high-tech game world. Megafortress has several annoying aspects, but they are flaws in the game rather than the gameplay. The Red Flag training missions are a bit too basic to start with, and it can take quite a while to master the complexities and subtleties of each station on the plane.

There's no point trying to get more excitement by moving on to a combat mission because the B-52 will be wasted before you can 'Don't shoot at me. I'm still learning how to fly this crate'. Patience is most definitely a virtue in your first few hours with Megafortress.

The game is also let down by the 3D system. Apart from the slow frame rate, there's a distinct lack of ground detail until you reach the target area. The mountains have a horrible habit of leaping up out of thin air, which can be particularly unnerving when the plane's trying to avoid detection by following the contours of the land.

The external view is also a bit of a disappointment. With 50,000 pounds of bombs dropping every mission, it would have been great to sit back and watch the high explosives rain down on unsuspecting enemies. Unfortunately, from the external view, the explosions are accompanied by flickering graphical glitches that obscure the short-lived fireballs.

But if you can live without the most sophisticated graphics in the world, Megafortress has got a lot going for it. On the face of it, the idea of rendering five flight stations in such detail could have created an exercise in interminably dull, mind-numbing button-pushing. But the disparate elements gel together to create an enthralling challenge that provides a totally different experience to any other game I've played.

Megafortress has got atmosphere, excitement and tension in abundance. Forget what the trendies might say about the buttons and the switches, as far as I'm concerned, the attention to cockpit detail makes it all possible. Listen to Captain Morrissey of the Smithsonian School of Flying. Plane spotters of the world, unite, and take over.


Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog
This monstrous array of knobs and dials is the pilot's station. Surprisingly, you won't spend much time here, apart from take off and landing, because the weapons, navigation and electronic counter measures are all controlled from elsewhere.

Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog
The co-pilot deals with the essential-but-boring jobs. His duties include controlling the external lights, checking the fuel supply, and, most importantly, entering the code for the copy protection. If he gets it wrong, the plane is shot down by enemy fire.

Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog
More knobs and dials in the navigator's station. The Navigator can change or add waypoints during the flight, which is often essential for getting through enemy radar unnoticed.

Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog
Hey wow, man. It's the Electronic Warfare Station. Use the radar panel to detect signals, and the jamming panel to fox incoming missiles with electromagnetic or laser radiation.

Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog
Now we're getting to the meat of the matter. Megafortress' raison d'etre. The Offensive Weapons Station. Come here to launch bombs, fire missiles or be told to get stuffed by an irritable Maverick. (Like a missile, you're fired. - Ed)



Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

Coming in hard and fast, it's Mindscape's new entry into the crowded flight sim market. Mark 'Flyboy' Patterson gets behind its cockpit.

THIS TIME IT'S WAR!
Amiga flight sims have covered almost every type of plane possible from the super-fast F15 to a World War I Fokker. Now it's the turn of America's deadliest warplane, the EB52, to take to the pixel skyways of your Amiga. This awesome aircraft is the mainstay bomber of the USAF, and is capable of launching a strike - with the aid of mid-air refueling - anywhere in the world. It requires several crew members to fly one of these beasts, but for the purpose of Mindscape's game the player fills the roles of pilot, navigator, bomber and radar man.

There are several screens representing each crew member's tasks. The most important is the pilot's area, where you can monitor the speed, altitude, course and other essential dials and gauges. The hands-on flying is also done from here, although the autopilot is frequently used on long journeys. The co-pilot's screen contains the controls for the eight engines, landing lights and other factors which contribute to getting the plane airborne. The navigation screen is where the course is plotted, the weapons are controlled, and, coincidentally, is where the most of the action takes place.

The user-interface has been designed to accommodate the many facets of flying a plane while keeping the sim realistic. This has been achieved through a very simple point 'n' click system. All you need do to raise landing gear, for instance, is click on the appropriate switch. This eliminates the stacks of keypresses found in most simulations.

BINGO FUEL
Apart from piloting the beast, navigating is the most important role. As your fuel levels are normally calculated to give you just enough to get to your target and back, your route has to be precisely plotted. Factors such as enemy airbases and radar sites have to be taken into account when laying in a course, and if you stray too fair from your target, you may never get back in one piece.

The standard method of navigation is the waypoint system. This plants a number of 'markers' (waypoints) on the map: the first of which is your air-base, the second the target, and the third your return point. Calling up information on a particular waypoint will show you its bearing, and all that remains is to steer the plane towards it. The computer always plots a basic set of waypoints for you before a mission, but the chances are you'll need to add new ones to guide you around hazards.

It's important to choose the right weapons for the mission. Some of the simpler missions require you to fly to an undefended location and drop your payload on whatever's there. In this situation, you can practice operating the targeting computer, which involved using a radar and a TV camera to pinpoint your target before a missile can target it.

Slightly more tricky is guiding a missile manually, whereby some can be steered via a through-the-nose camera - which proves useful if you have to change targets once the missile has been launched. Finally you can turn your hand to conventional bombing. You can drop a larger payload with free-fall bombs, but getting the plane in the right location to start an attack run, the letting go of the bombs so they hit their targets, requires a great deal of skill - and practice.

The computer usually takes a 'best guess' at the weapons you'll be needing on a mission - usually choosing a selection of air-to-ground missiles while outfitting your air-to-air defences. Personally, I always found it necessary to take a few extra missiles, just to make sure. Packing a number of antiradar missiles is always a good move, too, as they are your only defence against enemy surface-to-air missile sites. If you're not equipped in this way you'll need to call up the radar screen and use the jammer.

The wavelength of the signal tracking you is shown in the top part of the display, and you can either let the computer attempt to jam it or do it yourself. To make a successful jam, you have to adjust your outgoing frequency, by clicking on a pair of icons, to match the incoming one. Do this and you will be invisible to enemy radar.

BANDITS AT TEN
For all its size and power, the EB52 is quite a sluggish aircraft, and is seemingly easy prey for supersonic fighters. Early B52s had several tail-mounted cannons, but these weren't very accurate and were no match for long-range missiles. The version you're piloting, however, is tooled up with Sidewinder and AMRAAN anti-aircraft missiles and an air-mine dispenser.

To launch these, you must access the weapon control screen, pick your targets (which should be the fastest of the incoming planes), wait for the word 'Lock' to flash up on the screen, and fire. Although these missiles represent state-of-the-art technology, enemy aircraft have emergency countermeasures which can decoy them. Your plane has similar systems, which work provided they're used correctly. Each burst of either of these provides two-seconds worth of decoy, and if they're launched at the right time, they will throw a missiles off your trail and leave it without enough fuel to double back for another attempt.

FLAT BATTERIES
You'll also need to keep an eye on your power readouts as well as your fuel. The plane has four on-board AC generators which run many of the instruments such as the altimeter, navigation computer and standby hydraulic pumps. If, for some reason, one or more of these generators fail, the emergency batteries can be brought in. These have to be used sparingly, though, as they only have enough juice for twenty minutes. Lose any of these systems for good, and you'll have a hard time getting back home again.

As with most flight simulations, the graphics aren't up to much, with a few rectangular vectors representing buildings, and some very slow routines for the planes. The instrument layouts are functional, and easy to get to grips with, which is a major plus point. Initially this struck me as being a very complicated game, so it came as quite a surprise when I successfully managed to take off, bomb a target, then navigate back to base and crash-land - and all on my first go.

The point 'n' click system makes it particularly easy to get into, and the quick start section in the manual covers quite a lot of ground. Apart from ease of use and the obvious realism, though, there aren't many outstanding features. There are several nice little touches which aren't essential to the game, but make it a whole lot more realistic. These include things like windscreen wipers, landing lights, and switching the engines on and off.

While this is an extremely realistic flight simulation, this proves a drawback. With the EB52 such a large, manoeuvrable, single role aircraft, the action tends to be rather limited. The targets are viewed almost at third hand via simulated TV cameras, and enemy aircraft are either destroyed before they get close, or come into range and wipe you out, making the game a little dull.

For all its realism I prefer the faster paced sims to Megafortress, which just isn't busy enough for my liking.


TOOLS OF THE TRADE

The strangest weapon of the EB52 are its air-mines. The launcher is located in the tail, and is employed to take out enemy fighters which are attacking from behind. It fires a projectile which is like a rocket powered grenade. The unit's radar can track enemy planes up to thirty miles away, although the rockets only have a range of two miles. When a projectile is launched it's guided by radar towards its target, and when it gets within 200 yards it detonates, filling the air with deadly shrapnel. There are thirty missiles in total, which makes for a formidable defensive weapon.



Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog logo

MEGAFORTRESS: out now from Mindscape on Amiga, £34.99

Kitting him out with a tutu and a pig mask (in the absence of a proper flying jacket, helmet and goggles) we sent MICHAEL HORSHAM to the Gulf in MicroProse's mouse 'n' keyboard operated MEGAFORTRESS to 'take out' some troublesome installations. Apparently, they went to a nice little restaurant and then onto a club and didn't get in until half past nine that night.

DUMPING YOUR LOAD
AmigaOrdnance, lads - and loads of it! (That's bombs' to you, sonny). Missiles and weapons of death, fear and destruction. Before you can dump your load over the unsuspecting citizens of a middle eastern state, you have to fuel-up and load them into the various bomb bays and tubes on your converted B-52 while it's in the hanger back at base.

The weapons you choose also have to match the requirements of the mission you've selected (in other words, runway bombs are good for bombing runways and cruise missiles are good for cruise missile-ing radar sites and other targets).

Dropping these explosives on your targets or firing them at incoming MiGs or missiles is an operation using the mouse and the 'onboard camera' (which gives the radar the target to track and then lock onto).

Launching is entertaining stuff, as a camera in the nose of the missile can be selected to give a cosy view of impending death and destruction as your mechanical nemesis streaks towards its victim.

MicroProse's ace flight sim was a bit of a world beater on the PC, and now the Amiga version brings the thrills and spills of bombing and maiming to the 1Meg Amiga. It's worth remembering that unless you've got a double disk-drive or a hard disk to load the game into, your missions will be constantly interrupted by a whole mess of irritating disk-swopping.

But if you learn all the controls, Megafortress is a cracking flight 'n' fight sim - full of detail, atmosphere and things to do, right from take-off to precision bombing to landing back at base.Z


THE WINDSCREEN WIPERS OF DEATH
A TRUE STORY OF HEROISM

Picture the scene: the night wind blows across the desert sands under a sky strewn with stars like quicksilver carelessly cast upon a velvet blanket of deepest blue. All is silent - the desert sleeps. Then, without warning, winged death thunders overhead in the shape of the Megafortress. Unfortunately, the pilot hasn't yet worked out how to refuel in mid-air and the only switch he can make sense of in his cockpit is the one cotnrolling the windscreen wipers. Bedouins and soldiers cower in terror as the wipers sweep viciously across the glass. "Flee!" they cry, "Flee!"

Feeling ever so slightly silly, the pilot turns and heads for home, secure in the knowledge that his motherland is avenged and mothers and children back home in the USA can sleep soundly in their beds, thanks to the windscreen wipers of death.

FLYING THIS BABY

The job of flying your specially adapted B-52, which has a low radar profile and big wings, is mostly performed from the navigator's position. WIth the aid of Short-Term Waypoint Setting and a nifty Terrain Avoidance System, the auto-pilot should fly you straight to the heart of your mission.