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Mirrorsoft Ltd
Rod Hyde
1986
Simulation
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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120,121
Chris Bourne

Strike Force Harrier is a flight simulator set in a Harrier Jump Jet along with a full battlefield mock up. There's strategic planning to be coped with as well as competent control of your aircraft. And of course this only comes with practice.

Your mission is to destroy the enemy HO and set up your own ground sites at the same time. To make things a mite harder, enemy tanks and aircraft are gunning hard for you. Tanks must be destroyed before you can set up the site. Once a site has been established the tanks start to threaten your new won ground and so on...

After loading, you are presented with a menu of options. To begin with it is probably advisable to watch the Demo mode and then select a practice option until you get the feel of things. Once competent at handling the craft it's on to Combat duty and that's when things really start to hot up. As you can imagine, handling a Harrier requires a lot of controls. A joystick or the keyboard can be used, but even with a joystick, keys are needed too. The game comes with a 27-page booklet packed with instructions and flight movements. Although a daunting prospect ft's a good idea to have a quick read through or else you'll find that your missions are curtailed rather quickly.

Strike Force Harrier can be played on two levels. It can be a shoot em up on one level, but for people really into flight simulators, it can be played as a mock up of a real battle with strategic objectives. For the committed games player the instruction booklet is essential to get a full grasp of what's going on.

Overlaid on the cockpit view is the Head Up Display. This shows your vertical speed indicator, air speed indicator, the gyro (reveals your direction of travel), height and your pitch above or below the horizon. The HUD can also display additional information when the relevant key is pressed.

The Harrier carries an impressive inventory of weapons. You have two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles with a five mile range that automatically home in on a target selected by a sight on screen. Three 1,000lb bombs and 250 rounds of cannon shell with a five mile range are also on board. The cannon is a bit tricky to fire correctly because (low technology stuff this) you need to be pointing more or less directly at your target should this be a tank, then obviously you 're diving straight for the hard ground...

The air attack radar indicates the position of enemy aircraft within a radius of five miles. The Friend or Foe tracking radar situated at the bottom of the screen indicates enemy aircraft positions, mountain peaks and your own moving track so you can tell whether you are closing with or fleeing from the enemy. Tanks and ammunition sites are also shown.

Three types of take off are relevant to the various ground conditions. If the airstrip is prepared, then a conventional take off is sufficient. From unprepared ground a short take off is necessary at an angle of 45 degrees. The Harrier, however, really comes into its own when there is no take off space since it can lift off vertically. A hovering mode is also possible and there are three types of landing as well (conventional, short and vertical).

Three levels of combat difficulty are provided: Pilot, Commander and Ace which make different demands on the skill of the pilot. It's up to you to master the controls and prove your abilities...

CRITICISM

'Flight simulators aren't the most immediately playable games on the market, I can tell you, but Strike Force Harrier is comparatively easy to play. The graphics are jerky, a feature all too obvious in most games of the genre, but MIRRORSOFT have done a fair job of making an enjoyable game In a field where there have been too many duff efforts. Though by no means the best on the Spectrum, Strike Force Harrier is quite reasonable. As a flight aim, this is pretty good'

'What yet another Flight simulator? That makes two in two months. Strike Force Harrier is not nearly as boring as many other flight sims I have played recently. There are loads of nestles to shoot down so it isn't just a case of learn how to fly and then shoot down a couple of planes - this is really action-packed stuff. The graphics are pretty much run-of-the-mill for this type of game, with some sloppy characters and jerky screen scrolling. The sound is sparse, no tunes and only a few spot effects. If you like flight rims or you think you will if the right one comes along then you'll probably get on with this'

'Now this is more like it! After my disappointment with ACE, I was glad to get my hands on a proper, fun-filled, action-packed flight simulator. Strike Force Harrier has all the makings of the best fight simulator on the Spectrum - even as good as Spitfire 40, another superb flight sim from MIRRORSOFT. A superb manual is included in the package containing simple, easy to read instructions with neat diagrams to explain all the possible movements you can use for avoiding missiles, attacking HO and so on. The manual is an essential read, but can be skimmed over if you're very eager. The graphics are excellent and add to the realism. The plane itself if very fast reacting and behaves as you would expect a Harrier to behave - you even get your wings ripped off if you descend too fast. Strike Force Harrier is as near as most of us will get to flying a combat plane - and it's a mighty bit cheaper and safer!'

COMMENTS
Control keys: almost every key on the keyboard used!
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour straightforward but effective
Graphics: jerky scrolling, but otherwise fast and realistic
Sound: average
Skill levels: three
General Rating: A flight sim with plenty to do - rather more demanding than most.

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Screenshot Text

Zooming along on the straight and level - are those enemy forces waiting to be attacked?

Above the clouds in hot pursuit of an enemy fighter. The message screen at the bottom left of the cockpit announces the fact that your missile are locked on to the target.

KEY:

Gyro Compass

Height

Vertical Speed Indicator

Gunsight/Roll Indicator

Pitch

Air Speed Indicator

Warning Indicator

Damage Indicator

Thrust Vector

Gear

Flaps

FOFTRAC Map/Radar

Air Attack Radar

Multi-function Display/Message Screen