1988
Simulation
£12.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

79
Phil King, Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

The sinking of the German battleship, the Bismarck, was one of the biggest coups of World War II. In May 1941, Norwegian secret agents alerted British forces of the position of the Bismarck. The British subsequently sent forces in search of the Bismarck and attacked it, damaging its rudder and leaving it a sitting duck. To sink the ship, a new American prototype torpedo plane was brought in - the Grumman Avenger.

The player takes the role of the crew of this plane and can select various screens relating to each of its four members. The plane starts on the deck of the Ark Royal; but before taking off, you need to ensure that the throttle and instruments are set at the correct levels. The engineer screen shows the appropriate gauges and levers.

Once airborne, the action is viewed from the cockpit with wireframe graphics in vanishing point perspective. Enemy planes attack the Avenger and must be shot down before they cause too much damage. The player may also switch to the rear gunner's screen allowing him to shoot pursuing planes.

The Ark Royal is continually in danger from German E-boats and U-boats and must be protected by the Avenger. The positions of planes and boats can be viewed on the navigator's screen. A course can be plotted by moving a cursor on the map. The direction of the cursor is shown by a marker on the compass on the pilot's screen.

The engineer's screen can also be accessed during flight to alter the throttle setting or the fuel mixture and adjust other levers controlling the landing gear, arrester and wing lock. Ammunition and fuel are both limited and extra supplies can on be obtained by returning to the Royal.

The ultimate aim of the Avenger is to sink the Bismarck with a torpedo. To enable the torpedo to skim across the water the plane needs to fly at low altitude. A direct hit will ensure the sinking of the Bismarck and a successful mission.

Before attempting a mission, the player can practise any part of the game such as taking off, landing, flying and sinking the Bismarck. There is a choice between five missions of varying difficulty.

CRITICISM

'The manual to Night Raider is extremely detailed and even contains the history of the Bismarck and its sinking. Comprehensive flight training options allow the novice pilot to get used to the controls before attempting a reel mission. The different screens for each member of the crew allow for great attention to detail and many more instruments than would have been possible on a single screen. Accurate vector graphics are fast, with enemy planes being reasonably detailed considering the speed. Five minions of varying difficulty should help to lengthen the appeal of the game and the hardest missions will give even the best pilots a run for their money. This is definitely not a mindless shoot-'em-up but a game that combines strategy and arcade skills to good effect. A well-presented, high quality simulation which will appeal to all fans of the genre.' PHIL ... 85%

'Night Raider is certainly a complicated game. You have to watch all the different screens like a hawk, otherwise the unfortunate crew of you aeroplane end up taking an unexpected swim. Still - a quick perusal of the enclosed instruction manual should keep even the most inept pilot out of the waves. Graphically, Night Raider is impressive, and although the view out of the cockpit is drab (remember that it's night time), the detail on the various knobs and dials, especially on the engineer's console, is great. There's plenty of challenge, ranging from practising the basic manoeuvres such as landing and taking off, to a full blown attack on the Bismarck, stopping off to sink a few E- and U-boats on the way. I greatly enjoyed playing Night Raider - a leading simulation game and well worth a look.' MARK ... 83%

'Night Raider is quite good as flight simulations go, but visually poor. The odd solid plane occasionally flies over, and the few boats that you come across are nothing more than tiny sprites. The missions vary from just shooting a few ships to a full-scale battle. A feature I liked allowed you to plot a course which the plane will follow, while you blow up everything in sight - thus saving you the hassle of keeping an eye on everything. Night Raider isn't the best flight simulation around, but still very interesting. NICK... 63%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair
Graphics: typically indistinguishable wire-frame shapes
Sound: grinding spot effects
Options: five different missions and a practice mode
General Rating: A cool and competent flight simulation with plenty of attention to detail.

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Screenshot Text

A bewildering array of gauges and levers.

'We're under attack, we're under attack!' Can you stand action of this pace?