Once again you stroll across the tarmac, don your flying helmet, and climb into your waiting aircraft. But this is no ordinary let fighter - this is the proverbial it, the all-weather air-superiority ground-attack fighter, the frightening F-15. And you being a big macho hero and all, Uncle Sam has asked you to undertake some very important operations.
You're asked to select a mission: to Libya, Egypt, Haiphong, Syria, Hanoi, Iraq or the Persian Gulf. Libya is the simplest, and the Persian Gull damned near impossible (especially at higher levels).
Up to four players can take turns, and there are three levels of play: Arcade, where you can only turn the plane left and right: Rookie; Pilot; and Ace, where such delightful manoeuvres as highspeed yo-yos, lag pursuits, breaks and reverse and scissors can be put to good use.
Once your choices have been confirmed, the next screen asks for an authentication code, which must be entered correctly or none of the weapons systems will work.
Strike Eagle is played from within the cockpit, which incorporates the latest in head-up display (HUD for short). Over the 3-D view details such as speed, altitude, direction, weapons-aiming and messages are displayed.
After HUD perhaps the most useful piece of equipment is the radar, which can easily be changed between short, medium, and long range. And from the Weapons Status Display you can keep tabs on bombs, missiles and flares.
The keyboard controls weapons - guns, Sidewinder missiles, medium-range missiles and bombs - and the throttle.
The mission for this super-duper multimillion-dollar plane is, of course, destructive. You're required to fly in over enemy territories, under their radar, and bomb 'primary targets'.
The enemy send their own fighters and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) after you. The F- 15 makers thought of everything, though - while you tackle the enemy planes, your flares sidetrack their missiles, and chaff and ECM jamming foils their SAMs. But later it gets much harder to destroy enemy aircraft, because some have their own flares and electronic jammers.
Every minute it gets more dangerous, and less likely you'll return to base for that hero's welcome and your nth medal...
'F-15 Strike Eagle is one of my favourite games on the Atari, so I was intrigued to see it on the Spectrum. And considering the vast differences between Atari and Spectrum graphics, it's surprisingly similar in appearance and gameplay. Microprose have done an excellent job on the conversion, though the introscreen tune is a bit weak.'
'People who say all flight aims are the same, 'seen one, seen 'em all', become critically blind when faced with the fiftieth version of THEIR favourite shoot-'em up. H you enjoy good simulations, each has its own flavour and particular problems. A sim should attempt as much authenticity as is possible in a few K of memory, and F-15 Strike Eagle achieves that handsomely. The graphics work smoothly, the displays and instrumentation are fast and involving, and with seven very different missions across four difficulty levels there are many playing hours In this package.'
'Flight-simulation games have been with us for many an aeon now, some good, some bad and some Indescribable. F-15 Strike Eagle is good. Visually the game is neat: the wire-frame enemy planes and missiles move around the screen convincingly, though the planes are hard to see in a high-speed chase. The instrumentation panel with the head-up display, radar and weapons display is extremely useful, as are the bomb and the air-to-air-missile- targeting boxes. With all its documentation, this is a good game for simulation fans.'
: multiple-key inputJoystick
: not statedUse of colour
: reasonably fast, smooth 3-DSound
: very little, weak gunfire FX at mostSkill levels
: seven missionsGeneral Rating:
Polished programming makes this conversion from Atari a must for flight-simultation addicts.
At a dangerously low 48 feet above the sea, the F-15's head up display shows you doing 480 knots (about 550mph), as the fighter rolls over heading for the horizon.
9,600 feet above the Libyan desert at over 650 knots: lower left panel (Horizontal Situation Display) shows positions of enemy bases, SAM sites and the f-15's navigation cursor. The central block is the Radar-Electronic Warfare Display, while on the right the Weapons Status Display indicates the f-15's awesome firepower potential.