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1990
Simulation
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

16,17
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

The first flight simulator I can remember playing was Psion's, erm, Flight Simulator. Or was that Flight Simulation? Something pretty innovative anyway. It was full of little quirks, such as a compass with 370', but the 'crash' effect was brill.

Then Digital Integration appeared on the scene with its F15 simulator. It was pretty much the same, really, but there were things to shoot down if you hung around for long enough. Various successors then trickled out until finally (as always) the Americans appeared on the scene. Project Stealth Fighter, luckily for this intro, is MicroProse's contender.

Unfortunately, MicroProse seems to have jumped the gun a bit when launching this one, and must have cringed when the real Stealth Fighter was rolled out looking nothing like the piccies on the box. Still, as you're not meant to be able to see it anyway it probably doesn't matter.

Being American, most of the game revolves around trying to knock some sense into the Russians, Libyans, Iranians and whosoever else currently happens to be irritating our friends across the pond. It goes without saying that the game is dangerously complicated - the sort of thing that only a real pro like me should be entrusted with.

With your fingers strategically placed above the vast battery of keys you have at your disposal, and your plane squatting at the end of the runway, aircraft carrier or whatever, it's time to confront the foe. Prodding the right combination of buttons does the trick, and soon you should be off the ground.

At first sight the graphics just look like a load of squiggly lines crawling all over the screen. This is a mistake that anyone could make unless they've been in the business for as long as I have. So don't try this at home, kids. Closer inspection reveals an array of ships, mountains, tanks, buildings and everything else you'd expect to find. There are enemy planes too, but these approximate more accurately to pre-WWII airliners than MiG-whatevers. They look a lot better while being 'taken out', I reckon.

The next job is to decide what to blow up from the millions of flashing dots that plaster your instrument panel. On the subject of graphics, I thought a rather unsightly touch was the way that the whole screen goes blue when you're flying over sea, and green when you're flying over land. Quite how else they could have done it. though, I'm not sure, so p'raps I'd better shut up.

Once in the air your fab Stealth Fighter seems to handle pretty much like any other fighter I've flown, Stealth or not. Considering the number of lines that are being heaved around the screen things run pretty smoothly, at least until one of those planes appears, at which point the game goes over to slow motion.

One of the things MicroProse has always been particularly hot on is cramming lots into its games and Stealth Fighter, as they say, is no exception. The scope is positively enormous, what with the dozens of different land-and sea-based targets, a wide selection of combat areas and a huge range of flashing lights.

I reckon that Stealth Fighter is the best Speccy flight sim to date, and coming from me that really means something. Not quite up to the standards of Falcon of course (Never heard of it. Ed), but a great achievement for those content to remain faithful to Sir Clive.

Seriously complicated and packed to the brim. A top dog flight sim and no mistake.

93%
72%
80%
92%
91%

Screenshot Text

"Er... I've got a problem, Wingco! Ordinance seem to have loaded up 2515 ducks instead of any missiles!? Over."

Time flies by when you're the driver of a plane, and you ride in the cockpit there and back again... Eeek! Looks like I've got company! Er, Bogeys one-five!!

Right, I've got four Sidewinders, two Mavericks, three Snakeyes, three Slicks, a tank full of gas, and I'm wearing dark glasses! Let's do it!

Coo! This is a better idea for a security system! Identify the plane correctly or you can't play the game! Funny, though, I can't see 'De Havilland Chipmunk' anywhere on the options list!?