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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

Other Links

Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

I do love a game with completely illogical controls. Look, I know that Falcon Patrol doesn't bill itself as a realistic simulation. I realise that it's supposed to be a knockabout bit of blasting fun, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the controls to be the right way round.

When you fly a plane, pulling back on the joystick pulls the nose up (you go up). Pushing forward on the joystick tips the nose forward (you go down). And the same is true of a thousands of coin-ops and conversions the world over. Alas, F16 doesn't follow such dreary conventions. Your plane behaves as if it was an airborne cursor. Pulling back on the joystick to climb sends you earthward while pushing forward to dip your nose out of trouble cause you to climb into oncoming bullets.

You can't even remedy the situation yourself since there's no option to redefine the keys.

Although billed heavily as being compatible with the Magnum Lightphaser, the extent of Lightgun controls is minimal. You shoot your plane and the computer picks a safe direction and automatically moves you that way. So apart from the fact that it's completely unplayable, what's it like? Crap, I'm afraid.

Remember Afterburner? Well, take all the good bits and F16 is what you've got. Each of the four (count 'em!) stages takes place in a distinct global environment. There's the blistering heat of the Sahara desert, the close humidity of the tropics, the icy wastes of the Arctic and finally the, er, damp wetness of the Ocean.

Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter where you're fighting, since the baddies you face (enemy jets and choppers) are common to all levels.

Did I mention that it was extremely easy? Oh, it's appallingly easy. You can get through the level simply by letting go of the joystick and firing occasionally.

If you're bonkers about flying then maybe you could just about justify the three quid. Other than that. You'd be bonkers.

Label: Mastertronic Plus
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Reasonable pix, but really not much gameplay to speak of.


Screenshot Text

Push forward on the joystick and watch your aircraft scream up the screen into oncoming missiles.

Skimming low over the Sahara, the skies filled with enemy aircraft and {INDECIPHERABLE}ath-splintering action.