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Cascade Games Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K

Other Links

Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

"Base to Red Leader... Red Leader copy please....Red Leader, where are you? What the hell's going on up there?"

"Base, Red Leader here, everything's dandy. 20,000 feet up and not a cloud in the sky. Over..."

"Base to Red Leader, our radars show no forward motion. You're losing altitude fast. Over..."

"Red Leader to base, dropping like a jet propelled stone, right above you ... about Mach 2. Over..."

"Pull out Red Leader, pull out Red Leader"

"Scaredycat, scaredycat"

"Red Leader pull out"


"Base evacuating ... pull out, pull out..."

"Awwww ... c'mon guys. All I do is switch the engine off and this thing just pulls up to stop in mid-nosedive. You spoil everything."

Amazing planes in ACE. AWAT they call them. A what? AWAT, all-weather, all-terrain (terrain - in the sky?) multi-role combat aircraft. Fly like they're bolted on rails. Loop-the-loop on a sixpence. Don't lose speed through climbing or banking. What the RAF wouldn't give for a couple of these babies.

So, alright, as flight simulators go this one's about as realistic as England playing football but who cares? The joy is being the little guy ripping a vast air, land and sea-based invasion force to pieces single-handedly.

But if the flying is easy(ish), then winning is flippin" hard. Provided you make safe ejections when you're shot down, you've got three sorties versus a whole army (shoot all the tanks, helicopters. SAMs and planes first and then take on the invasion fleet!)

Your weapons are pretty primitive - cannon, manually aimed air-air, air-ground, air-sea missiles and 100 per cent effective missile decoy flares. And selecting between them by repeatedly pressing the Enter key in mid-dogfight is so hard you'll need three hands. (Which explains why there's a two-player mode where a friend can help you on a second joystick or the horribly arranged keyboard.)

A short range radar and satellite map will help you locate the baddies but it's still a real struggle to actually hit anything without being torn to pieces in the process.

The best bit about the crude simulation is that the graphics are pretty chunky and clear and the speed is unbelievable. When you've got the throttle opened up, you barely catch a glimpse of anything as you shoot past! What's more, there's room for some nice extras like a proper in-flight refuelling sequence and a choice of summer, night or winter flying (well, what colour would you like the scenery?).

But there's no escaping the fact that this is a straightforward mid-air shoot 'em up, along the lines of Flyer Fox or the vintage TLL. It doesn't have the sophisticated slickness of Ariolasoft's Sky Fox but it'll probably take you a lot longer to complete.

Don't get cheesed off at the start - it takes some time to get into. And once you get the hang of it, you're gonna be hooked for days before you actually manage to come anywhere near succeeding. If you want a realistic combat simulation, forget it - you'll learn more from the movies. If you want a high-speed shoot 'em up with planes, go get it - it's ACE!