A10 Tank Killer (version 1.5)

Title           A10 Tank Killer (version 1.5)
Game Type	Flight Sim
Players		1
Compatibility	Any Amiga with 1 Mb RAM,
HD installable  Yes
Company		Dynamix/Kixx XL
Submission      Seppo Typpö (groucho@pp.inet.fi) Profiled Reviewer

There are flight simulations which give the player the hottest dogfighter
in the world, load it with the smartest weapon systems, then send the
player to open skies to bravely fight against the enemy pilots. Then there
are sims that give the player an ugly weapons platform disguised as an
airplane and send him fly low, between the hills and into the canyons to
kill tanks, bunkers and convoys while evading the ever-present enemy fire.
This is the dangerous world which Falcons try to avoid but where Warthogs
live and die. This is the world A10 Tank Killer from Dynamix succesfully

When the Amiga version of A10 Tank Killer was released it appeared to be
a pretty straightforward conversion from the PC original with no Amiga
specific enchancements. At that time it was pretty much ignored by most
Amiga flight sim players and Amiga game magazines which had been spoiled
by flashy MicroProse flight sims like F19 Steath Fighter.

Later on, Dynamix released a new version from A10, subtitled 'version
1.5'. This version was a total rewrite of the original and added many
Amiga specific features to the game while generally rectifying some faults
of the original version. The Persian Gulf Missions were also added to
this package. This version of the game also made it to Kixx budget label
release (on which this review is based).

The package
The Kixx budget package of A10 Tank Killer contains a thin multi-language
manual which contains all necessary information of how to play the
simulation. The game itself comes on three disks.

A10 contains three sets of missions which can be played as single
missions or as campaigns. In single missions mode each mission is
separately briefed and has no effect on other missions. In campaign mode
the missions in each set are linked to each other meaning that goals and
objectives are carried over from one mission to the next.

Each mission has multiple stages and targets. Each stage must be completed
if the player wants to succeed - for example, attacking a heavily defended
fortress means the defensive systems (SAMs, AA guns) must be wiped out
before the actual bombing run can be safely executed. For once the player
is not alone against the enemy, as most missions require close
co-operation with your wingmen and friendly ground forces. This gives
the player the feeling he is part of something bigger instead of being the
lonely gunman in a hostile computer controlled world.

A10 Thunderbolt is a ground attack and close air support aircraft. This
means it flies close to ground, using canyons and valleys for its cover.
The 3D terrain in the game allows for some very exciting low level flying
and fighting. The player has to constantly watch his altitude when
attacking targets or evading the enemy air defence systems. This
low-flying, death-defying gung-ho atmosphere is what raises A10 above the
ordinary flight simulations.

Getting critical
Despite fixing some flaws introduced in original A10, the version 1.5
still has some bad heritage from the its ancestor. First, the tight
scripting of the missions means there's usually only one solution to
successful completion of a mission. This might lead to frustration as the
player desperately tries to find the right way to solve the given tasks.

The fight model of the plane is also somewhat strange. Having never flown
an A10 I have no reference to the real thing but compared to the flight
models in other Amiga flight sims this one feels bit simplistic and

Finally, the game suffered from some instability problems when running on
the low spec machine (A500, 1 Mb RAM). The game crashed now and then for
no apparent reason hinting it has some problems running in low memory

The signs of a classic
A10 version 1.5 was programmed by Dynamix's Amiga specialists which can be
seen in the final product. For example, there are eight detail levels for
3D objects and scenery, ranging from 16 colour wire frame to 64 colour
filled and lightsourced vector graphics. This means that unlike its older
brother this version of A10 can run adequately fast even on slower Amigas
providing that the player is ready to sacrifice some detail for faster
frame update.

Missions are varied and usually well designed. They contain some humorous
parts too. The conversations between ground troops and A10 pilots usually
contain sarcastic comments which reveal the attitudes the two branches of
the army have for each other. Failing to do your job properly usually
results in insults via radio as the commanding officer of the ground
forces let's you know how he feels about your latest blunder. Your
co-pilot also actively reports to you all important events during missions.

Mission briefings and debriefings are done remarkably well. Your
commanding officer gives you a detailed description of the task and
afterwards judges your combat performance to the last detail. This is a
much more personal way to reward the player and gives A10 an almost
movie-like feel.

Like Red Baron (also from Dynamix), A10 gets better as your Amiga gets
faster. 68030+ Amigas can crank up the detail level and still enjoy fast
frame update while swooping around and  killing bad guys with the 30 mm
Avenger cannon. This sim is definitely one of those games that rewards
those who have upgraded their machines.

A decent flight sim marred by a slightly suspect flight model. A much
better Amiga conversion than the original was, improving in almost every
area. It has enough well built missions to keep an Amiga flight sim fan
happy for quite a long time.

Graphics : Highly configurable vector graphics engine allowing player to
           tailor the detail level to suit his machine. Good quality
           digitised pictures put in good use in menu and mission briefing
Sound    : Normal flight sim sound effects with some good samples thrown in
           to spice up the audio world of the game
Gameplay : Bit difficult to learn and does not get much easier later

Tested on  A500 1 Mb RAM, no hard disk
           A1200 with GVP 1230-II (50 MHz 68030) w/ hard disk
           A1200 with BlizzardPPC (25 MHz 68040) w/ hard disk

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