IS there life after Interceptor, the game which apparently has it all? Surprisingly the answer is yes. That erstwhile Electronic Arts program treads the middle ground between flight simulation and airborne combat game, with Flight Simulation II cleaning up on the straight simulation front.
Sky Chase is one of the first releases from Image Works, the new Mirrorsoft label and is very much in the Top Gun mould of airborne conflict. "Never mind the realism, count the bullets" is the order of the day here.
Never mind the plot or objective either, in this game the action starts with two oppositions - any combination of human against computer simulated players - hurtling towards each other. As soon as the planes cross control is handed over to the pilots and may the best Tom Cruise lookalike win.
Each player has an independent three dimensional view, with fast moving wire frame graphics. Well they are fast if you don't select the complex terrain grid from the host of options, and let's face it, there isn't much of the screen being manipulated. There is no hidden line removal, so the graphics should be fast.
All the parameters are available, and range from giving you a choice of fighters. F/A 18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon on the American side or MiG-31 Foxhound and MiG-27 Flogger on the USSR side, in tinkering with weapons supplies, timings and the effects of G-force.
The action continues, with a brief pause every time a player gets nailed, until one player runs out of fuel, the winner being whoever has scored most points. This means that if you shoot your opponent more times than he shoots you you're laughing.
But there is the problem of the ground. It's hard. Hitting it full speed is not only painful, it hands over points on a plate. Equally climbing to over 50,000 feet or flying beyond the terrain boundaries have a similar result.
A quick peek at the weapons supplied for this modern duel in the sky tend to support the assertion that this is simply a fun flying game. Your super advanced piece of Air Force real estate has twin cannon and the ability to launch missiles. The witty chaps who coded Sky Chase have made these look like Amiga bouncing balls.
Your only defence against these twin threats is speed and manoeuvrability. Either use them or find broken bits of plane showered across the screen. Even on the easy level the computer flyboys are a tough bunch.
The appeal of downing faceless opponents, especially when the explosion - unlike the rest of the effects - are so wimpish, tends to pale before long.
Drag a comrade into the fray though, and the fight becomes that bit more personal, that much more fun. On this level the slightly dated look to the graphics doesn't detract from the fast, furious, and pretty enjoyable, chase through the sky.