Tornado logo

She flies like a bird in the sky, she flies through the air and I wish that she was mine... That'the Tornado, folks, not Maggie or the Nimble ad, honest.

I think it's fair to say that around the NAAR bars of NATO forces there's one plane that has the reputation and respect of pilots and engineers alike.
The Tornado, or Panavia Tornado GR.4 Interdictor/Strike (IDS) and F.3 Air Defence Variant (ADV), is a plane with one hell of a reputation and quite a long name (we'll just refer to it as the Tornado).

If you kept abreast at the war in the Gulf, you'll be more than aware of the role that the Tornado played in the first few vital days. The whole of the Allied strategy depended strongly on air supremacy. To achieve this task, the Tornado was charged with destroying all of the Iraqi bases.
As history now tells us, the Tornado was as good as its word and successfully implemented a most crucial part of the Allied offensive.

The reason it succeeded so effectively and with so few losses is because of its ability to fly into enemy territory at high speeds, at such a low altitude, and to deliver its lethal payload with such devastating accuracy,

Included in Digital Integration's simulation are both of the aforementioned Tornado types. The ADV is equipped as a long-range, long-endurance two-seat interceptor. It carries a special radar equipped for air-to-air combat and a healthy stock of radar-guided missiles.
In stable companion, the GR4 has an altogether different role and finds itself utilised for pinpoint bombing and recce work.

The first thing you notice about DI's simulation is the size of the manual included in the packaging. Now, I'm not implying that the size of the manual improves the power of the game, in fact far from it. But, in Tornado's case you have a very comprehensive and user friendly piece of literature, which is concise and informative.

This is indeed a good thing because the makers of F-16 Combat Pilot have come up with probably the most accurate flight simulator to appear on the Amiga.

Testimony to this is the fact that the mission planning system Digital Integration developed for Tornado has been authorised for service in the RAF by the Ministry of Defence.
Obviously it's not the exact same system and has been developed by a company specialising in computer software for the military. But, the rudiments and specifications of the system are uncannily familiar.

Being the war correspondent for Amiga Computing, I was given the uncertain job of flying this beast. The first thing that greets you in Tornado is the options screen. Here you can choose to fly a simulator, select a training mission or fly in a combat mission.

The other thing you can select to do is alter the preferences. Most objects and landmarks can have their detail adjusted. Unfortunately even on the A1200 to achieve any speed in play you have to play on the lowest detail level.

Before venturing into the cockpit of the real McCoy (please excuse the artistic licence), it's best to spend some time on the simulator.
You can select from 17 varying missions which should prepare you for real training flights. The real joy here is that there's no danger of making those little mistakes and errors of judgement which inevitably change your size from a stocky six fot to a very thin two miles.

Once you're happy that you're conversant with the displays and instrumentation and the most dangerous thing you're likely to do is mount the kerb when you reverse your Tornado into the garage, it's into the air with you.

Training features a total of ten different missions for you to sink your teeth into and in all cases when you've completed them you get a nice little tick fro teacher.

Although it's not imperative to complete all the training missions, each one gives you experience in aspects of the Tornado flight parameters and its different bombing techniques.

After some time rehearsing manoeuvres this pilot finally too to the air. There are three different warzones to fly over, each featuring a total of 14 missions each.
Alternatively you may feel up to the challenge of the campaign option which throws you into conflict in all three zones. Here there are a total of some 24 objectives to overcome, and because it's a real scenario the missions have to be completed sequentially.

As you meander over to the hangar in your lycra jumpsuit you can ponder over a few other options. For instance, you can examine your waypoints and determine the height, speed and target objectives necessary. Also, you have the option to adjust the payload on board your Tornado, either to suit the mission type or yourself. Alternatively you can eave it all to your trusty pal the Amiga.

Another very nice touch in Tornado is the explore mode. This feature allows you to click on a waypoint and then zoom into areas of the 3D worlds. This acts in the same manner as perhaps an intelligence network, which allows you prior knowledge of the installations you're out to destroy and the defence systems which protect them.

As a simulator, Tornado differs greatly to anything else you've probably flown before. In most sims you spend your time concentrating on guidance of your plane with firing of munitions coming as a second priority.

Tornado's have a very smart auto-pilot which handles most of the flight for the pilot. In fact, apart from checking waypoints, take-off and loading the pilot does little else.
This means that in DI's sim you spend much of your time as the navigator controlling your bomb guidance system. A typical flight might see you instigating the take-off, and then having swept your wings back to the right angle, sitting back and enjoying the ride until you're over the target.

Once near the drop zone you click on to the bombing screen and lock on to the target. Using the target zoom facility enables you to get complete accuracy, then it's a question of watching your munitions fall to earth.

Tornado is one of the most comprehensive military simulators ever to appear on the Amiga and it boasts some really impressive features. It's an amazingly detailed piece of software. For example, just like in the real RAF, timing is of the utmost importance. If you are delayed while in flight and fall behind schedule there's every change that you'll crash into a fellow Allied jet or at least ruin the mission objectives.

Not only do you get a most realistic looking, accurate simulator but you also get all the other more cosmetic touches like external and chase views.

On the down side, Tornado's a little slow when it comes to screen update and probably is best suited to the high-end machines.

This apart, Tornado is a very well accomplished title and oe which will please flight fans the globe over.

Lethal weapons or Top Trumps?
Tornado GR4

Category: Two seat all-weather multi-purpose combat aircraft
Origin: UK
Wing span: Fully spread: 45ft 7.5 in; Fully Swept: 28ft 2.5 in
Length: 54ft 10on
Height: 19ft 6in
Weight: 31,065lb
Max. weapon load: 19,840lb
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.2
Max. level speed sea level: Mach 1.2
Radius of action: 750 nautical miles
G limit: +7.5

Tornado F3

Category: Two seat all-weather air defence interceptor
Origin: UK
Wing span: Fully spread: 45ft 7.5 in; Fully Swept: 28ft 2.5 in
Length: 61ft 3in
Height: 19.6in
Weight: 31,970lb
Max. weapon load:
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.2
Max. level speed sea level: Mach 1.2
Radius of action: 1000 nautical miles
G limit: +7.5

MiG 27 Flogger

Category: Single seat ground attack aircraft
Origin: CIS
Wing span: Fully spread: 45ft 10in; Fully Swept: 25ft 6in
Length: 56ft 1in
Height: 15ft 10in
Weight: 23,590lb
Max. weapon load:
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 1.77
Max. level speed sea level: Mach 1.1
Radius of action: 210 nautical miles
G limit: +7

MiG 31 Foxhound

Category: Two seat all-weather interceptor
Origin: CIS
Wing span: Fully spread: 45ft 11in; Fully Swept: 70ft 6.5in
Length: 70ft 6.5 in
Height: 18ft 4in
Weight: 48,115lb
Max. weapon load: 90,725lb
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.4
Max. level speed sea level: Mach 1.1
Radius of action: 1,135 nautical miles
G limit: +5

F-15 Eagle

Category: single-seat air superiority fighter
Origin: USA
Wing span: 42ft 10in
Length: 63ft 9in
Height: 18ft 5.5in
Weight: 31,700lb
Max. weapon load: 24,500lb
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.5
Radius of action: 685 nautical miles
G limit: +7.3

SU-27 Flanker

Category: single-seat counter air-fighter
Origin: CIS
Wing span: 48ft 3in
Length: 71ft 11.5in
Height: 19ft 5.5in
Weight: 49,600lb
Max. take-off weight: 59,600lb
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.35
Max. level speed sea level: Mach 1.1
Radius of action: 810 nautical miles
G limit: +9

F-16C Fighting Falcon

Category: single-seat multi-role fighter
Origin: USA
Wing span: 31ft
Length: 47ft 8in
Height: 16ft 5in
Weight: 18,238lb
Max. weapon load: 12,000lb
Max. level flight at altitude: Mach 2.5
Radius of action: 500 nautical miles
G limit: +9

Chinook CH-47

Category: Medium transport helicopter
Origin: USA
Main Rotor Diameter: 60ft
Length: 98ft 11in
Height: 18ft 8in
Max. take-off weight: 54,000lb
Max. level speed sea level: 163kts
Radius of action: 100 nautical miles


Category: Surface-tosurface battlefield missile launcher
Origin: USA
Length: 12ft 11in
Diameter: 8.66in
Weight: 675lb
Radius of action: 20 nautical miles

Tornado logo

Is Tornado a high flier, or is all the hype just pie in the sky? Does it take you on a flight of fancy or will you want to bail out? We have got the answers to your Tornado questions.

There's AAA fire all round you, lighting the midnight sky like thousands of fire flies, you punch your airspeed up to compensate for the turbulence as your craft hugs the hillside on the final approach to your primary target. Your ground radar alerts you to a SAM site! What do you do? You select Master Arm! You are committed, but keep an eye out for those SAM sites!

Originally written for the PC, Tornado comes packaged with an excellent 330-page manual (on the Amiga the Mission Planning section was scrapped which makes pages 47 to 95 redundant, but they are still worth reading).

The main option screen is split into three sections: Flight, Demo and Quick Start. Quick Start puts you on a live strike mission without much explanation of what to do, so if you are a beginner it is best to opt for Flight, which allows you to set the preferences such as World Texture, Visual Range, Object Density and Cabin features.

The neat thing about Tornado is that it features a flight sim within a flight sim, click on this icon and it takes you to a Flight Simulator where you can begin to hone your skills on a number of set tasks, from take-off, to bomb runs and flame outs. In fact anything you need to become a Tornado pilot is displayed in front of you, and where better to learn the plane's systems and memorise the 160 or so keyboard commands?

Flight training
After bundles of time in the simulator you should be ready to make the big leap to live flying on the training ground. There is not a whole heap of difference from the sim to live flying except that you can crash and burn which will end your current flight log. A good way to avoid entering a new log is to select the cheat option from the menu. This will ignore any little mishaps you have like dying, but remember you are in control and it was not a SAM that got yu - they are not active in training.

In Flight Training you can also use the Explore mode to spy on your next target - better than any aerial recon the RAF has got.

Ready for Combat
The day will come when you are ready to go all the way. This time there is no cheating and those who have bigger machines will have the preferences set automatically. If you have been Slow Flying, now is the time to enter the real world.

A600 owners will notice a change in sim speed, but this does not detract from the gameplay. Clicking on the Combat icon opens another screen which displays Two-Player, Mission and Campaign options. Two-Player enables you to play a pal via direct link or a modem which makes for some heart-stopping head-to-head action.

With the Mission option you can take part in a number of actions against the enemy's land and sky forces. There are two war zones with 20 missions per zone.

Tornado makes for some frantic and absorbing gameplay

Finally, in Campaign you fly set war missions from a one plane strike to a combined six-Tornado deep strike which, when you are in enemy air space, gives them the chance to show off their hardware. At this point you really need to leave the front seat, hit the Control key and the down arrow, and you will be in the weapon's offer's chair who also doubles as your navigator.

With the Master Alarm buzzing, activate your Flight Plan Display, change your Multi-Function Display to the forward-looking camera, and try to locate your position on the navigational map. Do all this while the screen is jumping all over the place simulating the turbulence from all that inbound flak, and try to pin point that AAA battery, not forgetting to release flares and chaff! Sounds tough. It is.

Digital Integration makes no excuses for the number of key commands you have to remember, or for the fact that you have to jump from seat to seat - it certainly makes for some frantic gameplay.

Mission map shows you a map of pre-set flight plans, and by opening the key icon you can highlight all the enemy forces around your flight path. One nice touch is that by clicking on your object you can go into explore mode and see your target and the surrounding terrain.

There are two versions of the Tornado, the ADV (Air Defence Variety) which is much the same as its sister IDS (Intruder Strike Variety), but both play completely different roles. The Combat Air Patrol encounters in both Mission and Campaign form are difficult to master and having restricting cockpit views and some unimaginative external views do not help matters.

Digital Integration have certainly done their homework on Tornado, getting expert advice from the Tornado crews to make the package as realistic as possible. However, the game does have its faults. There is only one crash sequence, which is fine for belly landings but not for hitting the side of a hill at 600 knots.

There is no replay mode, so more often than not you miss your bomb hitting its target. There are also so many key commands to remember that you often have to pause the game to look up that all-important action.

To get the best out of Tornado, Digital recommend you use an A1200, A4000 or with an A500, that you have at least 1Mb of RAM and an accelerator. You will need it. Even on an A1200, its slow frame rate renders it almost unplayable. You really need at least an 030 processor to enjoy it fully. On an A600 you can speed it up by setting the preferences to minimum, but it is still slower than an A1200.

As flight sims go, Tornado is out of this world. It is remarkably detailed but is aimed at the fully blown propeller heads, so if you find it hard-going at first, do not lose your patience - the fun comes as your horizons are widened by the depth and realism of the program.


DON'T be put off by the number of functions you are expected to carry out almost simultaneously, just follow the manual's Elementary Flight Training section, and hit the Pause key.
THE MANUALcarries some good checklists (pages 294 and 295), but it is a good idea to make your own lists which makes for a much smoother game.
ALWAYS make full use of the different autopilot settings because they will put you on the right lines.

Tornado logo

Die PC-Piloten mussten erst eine halbe Ewigkeit auf den Flugi von Digital Integration warten, die Amiga-Umsetzung nahm dann aber bloß noch knapp sechs Monate in Anspruch - und es wurde trotzdem keine Bruchlandung!

Wie schon zu DOSenzeiten durchmißt man den Screenhimmel in Diensten der Royal Air Force entweder mit dem Tornado F3 oder der speziell auf Luftkämpfe zugeschnittenen GR4-Variante.

Vor den Start haben die Programmierer ein über 300 Seiten starkes, komplett deutsches Handbuch gesetzt; nach dieser Pflichtlektüre darf das frisch Gelernte im Simulator erprobt und bei etlichen Trainingsmission geübt werden.

Die Stunde der Wahrheit schlägt dann in 20 zum Teil hammerharten Einzel- und Gruppeneinsätzen; Hobbystrategen dürfen darüber hinaus ihre eigenen Aufträge ersinnen oder sogar einen komplett selbstgestrickten Feldzug anleiern.

Wegen der Abwechslung gibt es drei unterschiedliche (fiktive) Einsatzgebiete, die der Packung gleichzeitig als Landkarten beiliegen.

Die Missionen selbst laufen jedoch fast immer nach demselben Schema ab: Zunächst wird man in einem gut gemachten Briefing über Angriffsziele, Freund, Feind, Bewaffnung etc. informiert; dann jagt man in verschärften Tiefflugs aufs Ziel zu, weicht dabei geschickt Baumkronen und Feindradar aus, um am Ende Schließlich wieder in der heimischen Basis zu landen. Unterstützt wird man dabei von einem "intelligenten" Autopiloten, der für alle Standardsituationen bestens gerüstet ist und zudem der aktuellen Feindlage individuell angepasst werden kann.

Überraschenderweise hat die erstaunlich kurze Konvertierungszeit dem Tornado wirklich kein bißchen geschadet, nahezu jedes Detail der PC-Fassung blieb uns erhalten.

Das gilt für die etwas farbarmen, aber recht detaillierten Grafiken ebenso wie für den praktisch nicht vorhandenen Sound und die präzise Steuerung.

Allerdings bedeutet es auch wieder einen gewissen Mangel an Optionen - so existiert zwar ein Zwei-Flieger-Modus (via Null-modemkabel), aber weder das Flugverhalten noch der Schwierigkeitsgrad lassen sich variieren.

Spaß macht dieses Game trotzdem, weil sich dabei sehr schnell das typische "Gunship"-Gefühl einstellt: Es hat einfach seinen ganz eigenen Reiz, wenn man ständig auf der Hut sein muß, im Tiefflug mit der gegnerischen Abwehr neckische Versteckspiele treibt und über all dem das eigentliche Ziel nicht aus den Augen verlieren darf!

Das ziemlich lebensnahe Verhalten sowohl des eigenen Stahlvogels als auch der Feinde hat jedoch eine hohen technischen Preis, denn Standard-Amigas ohne Turbokarte sind mehr oder weniger chancenlos, und selbst ein A1200 kommt hier ganz schön ins Schwitzen.

Außerdem ist die Speicherangabe von 1 MB auf der Packung eher irreführend, da dieses Megabyte tatsächlich frei sein muß - in der Praxis hebt man also erst mit 2 MB RAM ab.

Wer die richtige Hardware hat, sollte beim Tornado aber ruhig zuschlagen, denn neue Flugs sind am Amiga derzeit nicht alltäglich; technisch so zeitgemäße schon gar nicht. (mic)

Tornado logo

One day all flight sims will be built like this. And Amigas will run twice as fast.

Gulp! Look at the size of that manual, well over 300 pages. And I'm are going to have it read too, it's that sort of game. No fiddling about with the program until it looks like it's working properly. It tells you not to be overwhelmed by the huge manual in the first paragraph of the intrduction, thanks guys.

If you think that's bad, take a butchers at the control summary sheet. It starts off small, and then folds out a couple of times to become big, printed on both sides with well over a hundred keyboard commands.

Tornado bills itself as a flight simulation of unequalled authenticity and I have no reason to argue. It's deliciously complex with loads of buttons to press and little dials, lights and multi-function displays to look at.

Time to settle down with a plentifl supply of sugar products and plod through the instructions before you can start crashing successfully. There is a quick start option so that you can start crashing straight away, but it's best to slowly digest the instructions and learn how to do it properly.

You don't just take off and fly toward the enemy, shooting as you go. Like the real RAF, missions are very carefully planned affairs. The route, weapons and targets are all programmed into your crate before take off. Along with a simulator and training missions there are dozens of full combat missions to fly as well as campaigns.

All the missions on the Amiga version are pre-programmed for you, despite a long section in the manual about designing your own ones. You get to fly about all over the place destroying a wide variety of hardware in various foreign fields.

The first important job is to give yourself a suitable name, ready to earn the admiration of your commanders and colleagues by killing lots of the nasty foreigner types that are bent on world domination, or something or other. They're up to no good anyway. Although the aircraft and weapons are realistically portrayed, the enemy country remains firmly anonymous.

It's deliciously complex with loads of buttons

Flight control is with either mouse, keyboard or digital or analog joystick. The pause button and control summary sheet are totally indispensable. Everything seems to have at least three operating modes. You don't just hit the fire button to let loose with a weapon. Even simply firing your cannon at another plane requires you to select air-to-air radar mode, arm air-to-air weapons, select the cannon and pick a target by clicking on it with the mouse on the air-to-air display. You can now start blasting which the other chap has probably already been doing for a while.

The real Tornado has a two man crew and Tornado includes the rear navigator seat, where you control weapon selection and navigation. You need to flip between the pilot and navigator quite a bit. Your weaponry consists of: General Purpose Bombs, retarded GP bombs, ALARM air-to-ground missiles, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, laser guided bombs, cluster bombs and the JP-233, a huge, nasty airfield attack weapon that spurts concrete-penetrating bombs and mines (Also known, euphemistically, as a 'runway denial bomb' - Cam).

For each weapon you need to learn a different delivery method. The autopilot is excellent, it'll practically fly the entire mission for you, even following the terrain at a set height. Without it the game would be a different kettle of bananas. Turn it on and concentrate on planning ahead, firing weapons and doing your nails.

The outside 3D world is chock full of roads, housing estates, petrol stations and garden sheds. The hills even have a pretty textured effect. Flying at 200 feet over the busier sections is a treat. At altitude it looks much like every other other flight sim, big green gound and big blue sky.

Right got the picture? A huge, awe-inspiring flight sim with more features than a video shop and more buttons and dials than a Flash Gordon spaceship. When you get airborne you hit the big snag, speed.

The frame rate varies depending on what detail you've set and what is on screen, but it's never very quick, making fast manoeuvring very tricky. It's all too easy to overshoot and go spinning all over the shop. The smart textured ground effects is the first to go. On an A1200 it's playable, but frustrating. On an A500 you're in for a hard time controlling the kite. Aiming the laser bombs is particularly difficult if not impossible. The box has'"Accelerator card recommended" on it, they're not kidding.

The Tornado wasn't built for close-up dog-fighting, which is a pity because it's one of the fun parts of any flight sim. It's flippin' difficult as well, jets don't have the wind-in-the-hair feel of prop planes. It's all instruments, radar and missile lock. Mostly all you see of the other planes is a frame of two as they fly past.

Annoy your friends by shooting them down

Once you learn to navigate around the keyboard functions and learn to survive a mission or two the game starts to come to life. There is an undeniable thrill about swooshing over a taret very fast, very low and dropping something highly explosive on top of it. Ahem, rich pickings for the psychological analysis there.

The game's a mix of planning and strategy, coupled with a few frantic minutes over the target. There's lots of button pushing to be done, and if you use the autopilot, not much actual flying,

There's a natty two layer mode for machines linked by serial leads. You can annoy friends by shooting them down beyond visual range with Sky Flash missiles before they've even looked up how to turn on the radar and ECM.

There is no easy way to land, even with the Instrument Landing System, it's a pain. You can screw up a perfect mission right at the end. A little cheat wouldn't go amiss. Some hotkeys for the weapons would go down a storm too. Trying to do a quick ALARM missile launch while on a bombing run isn't easy with all the keys to navigate your way around.

Some people are going to flip over Tornado. There are loads of high tech controls to handle and after a while the pat starts to get you. You know, a superbly-trained, hideously brave and drop-dead handsome pilot chap flying a state-of-the-art flying machine dedicated to completing a dangerous mission. Ahem, more material for analysis methinks.

The only real fly in the ointment is the speed of things, it's just too slow on a A500, unless you can put up with the jerky update.

Tornado is an ambitious program. It sets out to be complete simulation of the Tornado GR4 and F3, as far as possible. It contains all the features you would expect and more. Despite the initial intimidation the manual and the number of different commands cause, it's decidedly playable. If only it wasn't so slow.

Tornado has some champion 3D shapes. Most of the impact is lost as you flash past at hundreds of miles an hour desperately trying to arm the right weapon and avoid the incoming missiles.

The hero of the piece, the ground attack version of the Tornado. Designed to fly fast and low, deep into enemy territory and deliver pin-point accurate attacks on anything that annoys you. Every home should have one.

MiG-27 Flogger ground attack aircragt. Since the break up of the Soviet Union they're available in Exchange and Mart for around ten grand, no questions asked.

MiG-29 Fulcrum, a decidedly dangerous plane. It's fast and manoeuvrable and more than a match for a Tornado in a dog-fight.

The MiG 31 Foxhound that put NATO into a bit of a flap when first unveiled. Very fast, but not very manoeuvrable.

The ZSU-23 sporting four radar-guided 23mm canon which are more deadly than guided missiles at close range.

Top Soviet tank, the T-80. Easy meat without air cover or AA support.

The huge, Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship, faster than an Apache, but not nearly as sexy looking.

An American A-10 Thunderbolt, specially designed for close support. It's Gattling gun can turn tank columns into long, thin scrapyards in short order.

The infamous MAZ 543 complete with SCUD missile. Not always an easy target, as the Allied forces discovered during the Gulf war.

Tornado logo

It's been nearly three years in production and finally DI are ready for take off, but have they taken too long? Tony Dillon claims it's a walk in the park.

At first glance, a simualtion based on the Panavia Tornado GR.4 and F3 might seem like a mighty strange idea. After all, they're hardly the high profile, all action combat monsters we're used to seeing from DI or Microprose. Even though it featured quite highly in the Allied attacks during the Gulf War, it doesn't bring to mind the same 'macho' imagery generally associated with combat flight. Just as well really, as this isn't that sort of game at all.

Like most simulations, it's mission based, with most of them based around ground attack - the Tornado's primary function. Unlike Microprose titles, there are a predefined number of missions to actually take part in, as they are preset rather than the randomly generated ones we usually see. While this leads to more interesting and structured missions, it might seem limiting to some people.

You have 17 'simulator' missions, where you practise your flying and combat skills, plus 12 training missions, there are a dozen or so preset combat missions for each of three zones and ten campaign missions for each of three zones, with over 100 missions in all! If you imagine that each mission takes about 20 minutes, there's over 35 hours of flying time here!

The simulation itself is unlike any other out there. The Tornado is a twin seater aircraft, so you have to divide your time between the pilot and navigation seats. Due to the nature of most missions, you spend a lot of time flying, with all the actual action crammed into a few seconds (fly to an airfield, bomb the runway and then fly back for example).

A lot of the actual navigation is done for you, thanks to the fully comprehensive flight computer and autopilot. You can take over if you want, but most of the time you've got your hands full with all the other functions of the plane.

However, Tornado suffers from the judders like you wouldn't believe. The graphic engine is highly impressive on a fast PC, churning out over 2000 polygons at a time. On the old Amiga, though, it is almost completely unplayable at times. On a 4000/040, with all detail turned off and visibility at minimum, it runs smoothly.

On a 1200, with most of the detail off, you are talking a frame every two seconds. You would have thought that at some point in the past two years, someone would have noticed. We hear the same old excuses of how the A1200 doesn't really have the power for this kind of engine. So what? Why not just cut down the engine?

Those of us who like to grab a Microprose sim, stick on the easiest possible level and then race around the landscape blasting everything in sight will find little to get excited about here.

This is a fully comprehensive true simulator - impressively so at times - and only those ready to face the rigours of real combat flying should approach it. if excitement is what you're looking for , then look elsewhere. This is about as exciting as a bumper car simulator written in AMOS.

If you want a true demonstration of a Tornado flight envelope, a hands-on experience of modern navigation or the chance to do some high brow low level attacks - something missed in most flight sims - then this might be the game for you.

All in all, the speed really lets things down, rendering the game almost unplayable in places, but other than that it's an absolutely superb simulation.


A lesson learned many years ago in the US was that to sell something small, you needed to make it weighty, which goes a long way to explaining why PC games come on thirteen disks when they could come on three. Open the back-breaking Tornado and you'll find a huge (300-plus pages!) manual that even puts Microprose to shame, a selection of colour mission maps, various addendums and key references, and an interesting flyer advertising the Tornado CD. No, not a CD32 version, but an actual CD featuring, and I quote, "Music from & inspired by the TORNADO flight simulator experience". Not only that, but it features such great tracks as "Storm!" by Hollywood Nights and "We Can Fly!" by Fly!

Tornado AGA logo AGA Amiga Computing Gold Award

Digital Integration's acclaimed flight sim now has 256-colour clothes, but is it a better game? Stevie Kennedy takes to the skies.


With the advent of the A1200 and AGA graphics, we all looked forward to the appearance of 256 colour games such as those on the PC, and though several excellent examples now exist, there have been few fully AGA flight sims until now.

Digita's Tornado A1200 goes into uncharted airspace with a processor-intensive game using more colours than most, so can they pull it off?

This is the big one, and A1200 owners will find the game's graphics improved in many places over what was originally a very good-looking game. From the opening static screens to in-flight visuals, almost the whole package has been reworked.

Mission screens now have full digitised images behind them and the sometimes scratchy photos used to illustrate the first game have been replaced or boosted to 256-colour greyscales, with a corresponding improvement in atmospherics.

In some places where graphics were a little sparse, Digita have tarted things up with a few scanned images, and the preview shots of the aircraft portrayed in the game are all in at least 256 colours. The whole thing looks rather scrumptious.

In flight, the most immediate improvement has to be the sky, which now has a gradiated look as it drops towards the horizon. During night flights, this is particularly effective and goes a long way to convincing the player that this is a PC game.

Cockpit graphics have also seen a big improvement, and are now much smoother. An increase in the number of colours doesn't automatically mean more and better detail, but the look of the new instrument panel is fairly cool. Other big improvements include the clouds, which actually work like water vapour in this release. In other words, when moving through a cloud, visibility gradually drops to nil, unlike the bright sunshine one minute, total white-out the next approach of the original game.

Texture mapping and shading are tedious and slow processes which only the fastest PCs can manage with any degree of comfort, and expecting a 68020 to cope would have been barmy...

The result is that the pilot's eye-view of the ground hasn't changed, but then it was highly detailed to begin with, and perfectly adequate for the job, so why whinge about a bit of shading?



Minor tweaks to the game's sound icnlude the removal of a few glitches and the addition of a helicopter sound sample when viewing a chopper on drone or aircraft preview screens.

In addition, the sound of the Tornado's engines seem to have been improved, all of which is commendable as this game was expected to be just an AGA graphics upgrade.




As a new version of an existing game, Tornado A1200 has a clear advantage over the older version in its graphics and in the fact -thank you, Digital - that it is in PAL screen format unlike the original's NTSC.

Speed can be a little slower because of the extra colours and graphical improvements, but with the medium detail levels Tornado is still very playable on a standard A1200.

Adding a combined RAM and FPU upgrade will speed things up quite a bit, and A4000 owners will find the game even better, though not as fast as the original on a 68030 or 68040 machine.

The original, rated before the System scoring came into being, was given a touch over eighty per cent, and even with the new stricter regime, Tornado is one of the few games still worth the this high score.

Tornado AGA logo AGA

Many of the games featured here are real high-fliers and none more so than Tornado AGA. (Digital Integration 0276 684959, £34.99), which comes with a 332-page manual that's so large that there is even a chapter about finding your way around the manual.

The graphics have been enhanced on this AGA version, and it feels a tad quicker than the original game. But at £35 you'd have to be keen on flight sims to hand over the readies. On the plus side Tornado is one of the more sophisticated Amiga flight sims you're likely to come across, and there are hosts of options and in Combat Mode you can play head-to-head.

Existing owners of the A500 version can upgrade to the A1200 version for £9.99 by sending their original disks to Digital Integration. The Non-AGA version of Tornado scored 80 per cent when it was reviewed in AF56.

Tornado AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Im Februar hat der Kampfflieger von Ditital Integration auf den Standard-Amigas abgehoben, jetzt landet er am 1200er und A4000 - was ist so speziell an der Spezialversion?

Wer sich noch an den Ur-Test erinnert, weiß, daß hier mit einem Tornado, F-3 oder GR-4 zunächst in Simulator- und Trainingsmissionen geübt werden darf, ehe 20 Gruppen- und Einzeleinsätze bzw. eine ganze Kampagne anstehen.

Nach wie vor gibt es drei Kampfgebiete, die der Packung als Landkarten beiliegen, wo der Stahlvogel tunlichst auf Baumwipfelhöhe gen Ziel zu rasen hat. Ist er dort angekommen, ohne sich vom Feind abfangen zu lassen, werden Knallkörper aller Art ausgepackt, auf daß kein Pixel auf dem anderen bleibe.

Der Angriff kann und soll über etliche Displays (Copilot, etc.) koordiniert werden, außerdem unterstützt ein ziemlich intelligenter Autopilot den Herm der Lüfte.

So weit, so A500, richtig neu sind eigentlich nur die nunmehr 256 Farben und die etwas schicker texturierten Landschaften - im Grunde wirkt die Optik aber auch hier blaß, selbst wenn der Horizont nun Helligkeitsunterschiede aufweist.

Die Verbesserungen beim Sound sind mit bloßem Ohr kaum auszumachen, aber vor allem das Tempo des Spiels gibt Anlaß zu Kritik: War der Standard-Tornado am 1200er noch annehmbar flott unterwegs, so führt in der ureigenen Variante nun kein Weg mehr an einer Turbokarte vorbei.

Besser haben es die Besitzer eines 4000ers (der auch in der 040-Version unterstützt wird), da das Game hier recht spritzig über den Screen flimmert.

Man bekommt es also erneut mit einer etwas optionsarmen, aber spannenden Flugsimulation mit Duo-Option via Modem zu tun, der die Hersteller lediglich ein paar kosmetische Retuschen verpaßt haben. Na ja... (mic)

Tornado AGA logo AGA

If you followed our advice in AP35, the chances are you won't have bought Tornado unless you've got an A1200. (It's just too slow on a 500). And, that being the case, you've now got the option of sending your disks back to Digital Integration with a cheque for £9.99 and trading them in for an enhanced A1200-specific version. Or, of course, forking out £39.99 for the new version of the game if you haven't already bougth the original. Either way, is it worth it?

Let's go through those improvements one by one, eh?

256 Colours. I'm sceptical, frankly. Maybe if you count all the ones in the graduated horizon there are. Or perhaps include the Improved Graphical Interface. But in terms of actual things-that-you-look-at-on-the-ground, it's still the same five or so shades of green and occasional little speckly bits and squiggly lines as far as I can see.

Full Screen Visual. True enough - the visuals do indeed take up the full screen.

Graduated Horizon. There's a graduated horizon all right, if you care to switch it on.

Improved Graphical Interface. The digitised pictures of planes and things at the beginning of the game possibly look slightly nicer.

Improved Sound Effects. The Sound effects have been improved. Warning sirens now penetrate to the very depths of your subconscious. And the engines go 'swoosh' a bit more convincingly. Maybe.

It's still the same five or so shades of green

So, er, well. Yeah. It's exactly the same, basically, except with a few more of the little aesthetic touches you'd expect to see if you were running the game on an incredibly expensive PC.

It's a good game, though. As Chris Lloyd so astutely perceived in his review of the unenhanced version. Tornado is a very much flight sim fan's flight sim - a classic case of 'if you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you'll like'.

It's a ruthlessly accurate simulation of the RAF's frontline multi-role combat aircraft, and playing it is quite possibly more complicated than flying the real thing (if only because you're heaving to perform the functions of both the pilot and the navigator). Getting it off the ground is simple enough, but keeping it there for more than a few seconds will take hours of devoted practice.

Pointedly, the manual is over 300 pages long, and the 'quick reference' card covers over 150 different keyboard and mouse functions.

The original version of Tornado didn't exactly steam along, even on a 1200, and the new version is no different. The screen updates jerkily, making high-speed manoeuvres pretty hit or-miss, and it's hardly a great advertisement for the power of the AGA chipset.

If you don't mind that too much, though, and can forsake instant gratification in favour of a long, slow learning process, Tornado is great. It's got loads of different types of planes, tanks, helicopters and trains to blow up, it's got a wide range of missions to fly, it's well-presented, it's authentic-feeling, and it's (largely) fun.

I'm not giving the A1200 update any extra marks over the original, though, and whether you upgrade/pay the £5 it'll cost you over the normal version depends entirely on how much of a perfectionist you are.