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Cascade Games Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

There are two sorts of flight simulator. Real flight simulators and fraudulent flight simulators. Usually fraudulent flight simulators are better. The reason is simple, with a real flight simulator some programmers have spent ages constructing an almost exact reconstruction of the handling characteristics of a particular make, model and version of an aircraft. These are sometimes a triumph of the programmers' art and usually quite fantastically boring to all but the most enthusiastic armchair pilot groupies. I mean do you really want it to be several weeks and twelve pages of manual before you ignite the engines?

On the other hand, fraudulent flight simulations give you some sort of vague idea of flying a plane but keep controls down to the manageable level (higher, lower, left, right, power up/down). And they are usually bigger on fripperies like blasting things to bits and being attacked.

Ace, then, is an excellent fraudulent flying game. You get to blast things a lot. You also get to dock with refuelling aircraft, launch flares, fly over different kinds of terrain and land and take off. Controls are kept down to a sensible level such that you don't need a pilot's licence before you can start destroying things.

Ace offers a good mix of options aside from just flying and shooting down planes. You can shoot tanks. You can shoot ships. Appropriate weapons are selected via a simple menu system. In a particularly appealing sequence you also get to refuel in mid-air - if you can rendezvous with the supply aircraft at the correct height and speed.

All this and there's even a plot of sorts. You are the lone pilot defending the free world against armed assault by land sea and air. Enemy positions are indicated on a map which may be called up at any time. There is a logical sequence to the battle - you don't get to blast at ships until the other attack waves have been defeated.

Ace deserves the title simulation in the loose sense that you can manipulate the controls to fly the plane, do rolls etc, but it doesn't get bogged down in tedious details that would spoil the adrenalin-raising properties of the game.

It won't amaze you graphically but don't worry about that - you'll love it.

Label: Cascade
Author: Paul Laidlaw, ian Martin
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Kempston, interface 2
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Fine flight simulator without too much fine detail to get in the way of what it's all about - blasting at speed.


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At first Ace doesn't look like much at all. The opening scene of the runway from the cockpit window looks, it must be said, like a slab of green, a slab of blue and a slab of white. Things look up with some rather nifty enemy planes and tanks. It still won't blow your mind - no tricky three-dimensional stuff like Digital Integration or anything - but at least it doesn't actually detract from the game.

Terrain graphics are rather simple, land is a big splodge of green with occasional line drawings of trees. Water is a big splodge of blue with like line graphics representing breaking waves. It isn't as bad as it sounds. The important things look OK and that's what matters - the cannon fire streaks off into the distance, enemy fighters roll and turn and burst into flames. This is what we want...

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Accelerating fast as the enemy planes attack.

Call up the on screen map to check enemy movements.

Ground attack mode.