Microprose have again drawn inspiration from a PC game by their American branch. F15 II places you in the cockpit of the USAF's mainstay war-plane, the Strike Eagle.
The first notable feature of F15 II is its speed. It's very fast. The horizon scrolls smoothly and at speed, a feature which is rarely found in Amiga flight sims. The graphics on the external views are also good, the 3D is detailed and moves well. Although the graduated tint had to be cut from the main screen it does appear on the external views, and this adds to the overall effect. A director mode allows you play in 3D mode with the computer automatically selecting the best view point from which to see the action.
The instrument panel is uncluttered and easy to understand. A radar in the centre shows all air and ground targets in your vicinity, a map helps guide you to your target, and a series of warning lights let you know how close your plane is to being knackered by an enemy missile.
Flying a multi-million pound warplane isn't as difficult as you might think, at least in this game it isn't. The keyboard is used to raise and lower the landing gear, select targets, change between weapons and set the engine power. The joystick fire button is used to fire the plane's machine gun, with the return key launching missiles, a system which is employed in nearly every flight sim and which can often prove awkward when you need to react in a split second.
Involve the plane in one of six scenarios: Libya, Vietnam, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, or Northern or Central Europe. The colour changes to suit each of the areas, the difficulty level and the types of enemy you face.
After the scenario and difficulty level have been selected, the computer generates a random mission. A mission always consists of two targets, primary and secondary, both of which have to be destroyed if you don't want to return to base as a failure.
Earn medals and promotions if a mission goes particularly well. These serve no purpose other than to demonstrate how well the pilot's doing - but reach a certain rank and you could find yourself pensioned off.
The F15 comes with four different weapons: Sidewinder and Amraan air-to-air missiles. Maverick air-to-ground missiles and a 20mm cannon. The only defences against enemy fire are flares, which decoy heat-seeking missiles and chaff which confuses radar guided weapons. The last resort is always nifty manoeuvring. Personally I would have liked to have seen a few more weapons, but then again I've probably got some sort of gung-ho personality disorder.
The gameplay's very fast. From the moment you take off. SAM batteries open fire, and their fighters scramble. This pacing works a treat.
Without a doubt, F15II is one of the most action pack flight sims on the Amiga. The gameplay resembles the arcade version of F15, and that can't be bad. A must for the collector.
Very cool combat simulator game, with many missions and places to fight (featuring campaigns in Lybia, The Persian Gulf, The Middle East and, Vietnam). It has good graphics, many external and internal cockpit views, fast vector graphics, etc. F-15 Strike Eagle 1 was released in 1985.
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