I almost hesitate to mention Spectrum HoloByte’s Falcon MC, because as much as it looks neat and was eagerly anticipated by the gaming community, it’s too complex for me to learn in the few days I’ve had it. I immediately managed to get seriously stuck, as happens when I try most flight simulators, and when I found how to change the view, I discovered I was spiralling straight down at full throttle. Ooops.
Perhaps these games are easier if you have a Gravis MouseStick, which the program supports, but I have trouble using a game that attaches a control to almost every key on the keyboard. It’s a testament to the accuracy of the simulation of an F-16 fighter though, since the actual planes have numerous controls.
I do like the fact that Falcon MC allows you to interact with computer-generated opponents – various planes and ground forces that generally wish to turn you into a smoking heap of debris (I didn’t need help from them). I’m not enough of an aeronautical aficionado to like merely flying around, as one does in Microsoft Flight Simulator. I always fly under the Golden Gate bridge or as close as possible to large city buildings. As such, I anticipate more exploration into Falcon’s controls so I can figure out how to destroy a few bad guys.
Richard adds (based on the demo)… — MacUser still gives 4.5 mice to the original black-and-white version of this game. The new version is similar enough that you don’t need to learn to play again, but different enough to hold your attention. The idea is simple – a combat simulator. You fly an F-16 Fighting Falcon against the best enemy Migs around. Meanwhile, landing craft approach your shores…
Your plane comes with several different armaments ranging from chain guns to heat-seeking missiles. The amount of each you have is determined by how much you want your plane to weigh (more weight sacrifices maneuverability).
The biggest and most visible difference is color: four bits worth instead of one. Sounds and aerodynamics are similar. It still feels like I’m flying a Ted Turner-colorized sequel rather than a whole new game.
However, other improvements, including updated armament, smarter enemies, and moving targets, add to the fun. The graphics are detailed, too. The full game adds controls (notably a rudder) not implemented in the demo, and supports a joystick. The demo plays with mouse or keyboard, and gives a fair idea of the game – one full play of the easy level until you die (aided by starting with low fuel).
Available via anonymous FTP from sumex-aim.stanford.edu and
Full version available January ’93
Projected Cost: $39.99 mail order
Repeat Playability: 3