Title		Falcon
Game Type	Flight Sim
Players		1 (2 with linkup)
Company 	Spectrum Holobyte
Compatibility	All (AGA needs degraders)
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Falcon is a 3D Flight Simulation involving the extremely capable
multi-role combat aircraft; the F16 Falcon. On it's release the game
pretty much put all that had gone before it to shame, certainly as far as
appearances went. The cockpit interiors were nicely drawn, as were the
enemy planes, ground targets and even the rather bare landscape manages to
create some atmosphere with its bleak mountain scenery. Interestingly
(at least for me) Martin Kenwright (who went on to produce the stunning
graphics, if not gameplay, in F-29 Retaliator, Epic and TFX with Digital
Image Design) is credited as Falcon's Graphic Artist and and co-writer of
the 3D Graphics. Russell Payne another Falcon Programmer also went to DID.
In my view, until the undeniably impressive TFX, they failed to deliver
the promise we might well have expected after Falcon, what a shame.

The game includes a dozen missions, you can choose what rank you fly
them at, determining the level of difficulty, and you can control the
maximum number of Migs you will encounter. Medals are awarded for good
results, and although the missions are not linked (this changed with the
mission disks) it is atleast possible to embark on a career, and keep a
record of your kills and decorations.

Falcon does not have the immediate appeal you'll find in the excellent
F/A-18 Interceptor, but for my money it does offer the best dogfighting
you'll find on the Amiga. When you get the hang of it, sticking behind an
enemy aircraft, despite his frantic efforts to shake you off, and then
taking him out is very satisfying. Sadly though the game's code seems to
be timed for the original Amiga hardware, and the graphics do not
dramatically improve on higher spec machines. Having said that, the game
ran very smoothly on a bare A500. Actually, the sound is improved slightly
on 1 Mb machines and this also given access to the black box flight
recorder for post flight analysis.

While the first release of the game was pretty unforgiving later versions
of the game were tweaked to make things more approachable. For one thing
landings became easier, and this improved things considerably. In fact if
you're interested in the game I would definitely seek out one of the
re-releases. The improvements and bug fixes made in the first mission
disk, were then incorporated in the re-release of the original. This
included better enemy artificial intelligence, and correct function of the
Maverick missiles zoomed-in TV image displayed in your cockpit.

In fact The Ground Attack aspect of the game is very well executed, and
with practice and re-reading of the manual a most satisfactory mess can be
made of the various ground targets. In my view the first mission disk
actually offered the best value, with tanks, landing vehicles, trains and
the MiG 29 fighter, although intercepting the Soviet Ground Attack
aircraft in the second mission was also pretty enjoyable.

In Falcon the action takes place over a single area, which is not vast, nor
particuarly varied, but it certainly does it's job. A head to head option
is available, (though not on the second mission disk), and this is great
fun to play with a friend. There's a certain coldness to Falcon, which
possibly exists to some extent with all Flight-sims. It's difficult to
describe, but while it remains a significant programming achievment it
feels like the team responsible could have put a bit more personality into
the game which while it would have added nothing to the technical accuracy
of the simulation would have perhaps made the game a lot more appealing to
a wider audience. Nevertheless Falcon remains one of the definitive
Flight-sims on the Amiga.

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