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/
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-
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-
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.