Near invisible to radar, shrouded in secrecy and worrying Saddam Hussein as this is written, the F-117A Stealth Fighter is America's most secret aircraft. It was in service for years before it was allowed to be filmed. So MicroProse developed their Stealth sim using 'best guesses' and called it F-19. When the F-117A was finally revealed MicroProse changed the sim to give you the option of flying the original F-19 or a new F-117A.
Four combat zones are available to the Stealth pilot: choose from Libya (with a Training mode for beginners), the Persian Gulf for the ultimate in topicality and the dangerous North Cape and Central Europe combat zones.
A series of parameter-setting option screens allows you to alter Level of Conflict, Type of Mission (choose to attack an air target or strategic or tactical ground targets), Opponent Quality and Flight Performance (beginners had best stick with the No Crashes option before attempting Easy or Real Landings).
A mission briefing and enemy appraisal follows before arming up the aircraft. There's little difference between the two Stealth fighters, neither is easy to fly. The F-117A is slightly unstable in flight but for both types of aircraft survival depends on minimal contact with the enemy and its radar. An EMV Bar Gauge in the cockpit shows your Stealth rating, effectively your 'visibility' to the enemy. Low-altitude, low-speed, level-flight keeps the EMV down, allowing you to penetrate further into enemy airspace without detection (although the higher the selected Opponent Quality level, the more experienced the enemy is, the better protected the target and the harder the mission becomes). Needless to say, once you're detected all hell breaks loose as enemy air-power comes onto the scene and SAM missiles roar skywards.
The most impressive features of the Amiga game are the external viewpoints which, if used effectively, can make your mission almost like a movie. There's a host of standard viewpoints but the tactical views are the best, showing your Stealth from the enemy plane's ground target's view or vice versa. It's near impossible to fly the Stealth from these viewpoints but it's great fun (and very cinematic) to see yourself storm right over the smoking remains of an enemy installation.
After you have created hell in the mission and landed back at base (or not) a debriefing follows, detailing the vents during the flight: successes, hits, kills, mistakes and all. A Save/Load feature is provided but pilots missing/killed in action or retired are removed from the disk.
Hitting the primary and secondary targets all adds to the mission score and successes are met with promotions and decorations for exceptional skill. The higher risk the mission the better the rewards, of course - just don't end up ploughing a field with your F-19!
They certainly know their presentation, these MicroProse bods. From the sunglasses and coffee cup sitting on the table during the mission briefing to the many external camera views, F-19 adds up to one impressively detailed package. It comes with a brilliant glossy manual which tells you all you need to know about being a Stealth Fighter pilot, plus a cardboard cut-out keyboard overlay with all the controls printed on. This is absolutely essential as you'd need a massive memory to remember them all!
Gameplay varies from the nerve-wrackingly suspenseful to the gut-wrenchingly exciting as you duck through enemy radar nets and take on the top enemy fighter jocks in a fight for air supremacy. The graphics are absolutely stunning: the ground detail is all there right down to the individual missile launchers at SAM sites. And it's all as smooth as a baby's botty. If you're into flight sims, then you certainly won't go far wrong with this...
People who downloaded F-19 Stealth Fighter have also downloaded:
F117A Stealth Fighter, F15 Strike Eagle 2, F-29 Retaliator, F/A-18 Interceptor, Fighter Bomber, Gunship 2000 AGA, Gunship, Silent Service 2
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