You are in a command center where war is unfolding before you in real time, depicted through an intricate virtual battlefield display. Frenzied communications stream in through your helmet radio; battle reports, requests for assistance and the ever-present guidance of Forward Air Control. Missions begin to appear on the onscreen display -- you're here to fight, not watch. Which side will you help achieve victory in Razorworks' combat helicopter simulation, Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche Versus Ka-52 Hokum?
This attack helicopter simulation does not contain a story tied to its missions beyond limited background for the conflicts nor does it have rigidly scripted missions where the same thing occurs every time you play. Instead, several campaigns and shorter multiplayer skirmishes leave it up to you to decide how to play and provide you the means to change the outcome. The AI reacts to your mission results and creates new ones while shaping its overall strategy based on those results. To win, one side must gain control over the enemy's key resources that allow it to re-supply and reinforce (e.g., oil refineries, airfields, landing ships and aircraft carriers).
Although mainly focused as a helicopter simulation, gameplay also requires strategic decisions. Realism abounds, ranging from the 3D cockpit, realistic avionics, flight models and weapon systems to weather effects, real-time day and night cycling and highly detailed terrain. The latter is a critical part of the game as staying alive requires you to hide from the enemy's sensors by weaving in and out of the hills, forests and buildings in the cities, rather than flying in a straight line towards your target. Using your wingmen is essential as you can set up coordinated attacks from multiple directions at multiple targets in order to overwhelm enemy air defenses. Air and artillery strikes are available as well.
The virtual battlefield is a unique experience. While you fly towards your waypoint or await missions, you can monitor the rest of the war from the perspective of any of the units using different cameras. Being able to see it all, on a scale as large as this, is almost like being part of a military-grade simulation you see on television. You get the feeling of being in an active world with dozens of battles raging around you, rather than being the center of attention -- imagine this aspect in multiplayer mode.
The graphics create a very immersive setting. The cockpit is so detailed that all the HUD displays are clearly visible and updated in real-time. All models are meticulously crafted, down to being able to see the drivers of vehicles and aircraft pilots. The game engine smoothly handles large numbers of models onscreen, each with extreme detail and no texturing for just an illusion of detail.
Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche Versus Ka-52 Hokum is a complete and accurate helicopter simulation that should please hardcore combat flight enthusiasts. Not just one, but two attack helicopters are featured and the designers don't skimp on the flight characteristics of either. As an added bonus, the previously released Apache Havoc: Enemy Engaged is fully compatible for use with this sequel and offers additional helicopters, campaigns and enemy units.
Graphics: The only downside to the graphics is the featureless terrain textures. Most of the time you fly over bland, repeating textures for miles on end with occasional clumps of "forest." Sadly, individual trees are not simulated except around the perimeter of the blocky, flat polygons of "forest." Still, from a tactical perspective, the forest serves its function well enough and allows you to ambush enemy units or hide from incoming missiles.
Sound: Nearly all the effects sound tinny and artificial. Continuous engine noise drums in your ears during all flight time and quickly becomes grating. To make matters worse, volume levels between the different sound effects, music and dialogue are not equalized, resulting in an uneven mix of blaring and quiet sounds. Changing the various sound settings doesn't help. Replacement sounds and dialogue are available from various fan sites on the Internet.
Enjoyment: As a combat flight, attack helicopter simulation, the game is superb. It's one of the few simulations that don't dumb down the simulation aspects in order to please the mainstream. There are many units represented with excellent detail and accurate behavior, weapon systems and damage are simulated realistically. If you are looking for an experience as close to real world combat helicopter flight as possible, look no further.
Replay Value: The campaigns and locations don't differ from each other drastically and there's no story or rewarding goal other than just beating the enemy, which makes the game somewhat uninteresting after you've mastered the skills. The choice to play as either side, as well as multiplayer action, makes up for this to a large degree. A small but loyal community has developed around the two interrelated Razorworks' simulations, which is actively modifying the game, creating new skirmishes and making various tweaks to gameplay, all of which enhance replay value.
People who downloaded Enemy Engaged: Comanche vs. Hokum have also downloaded:
Enemy Engaged: Apache vs Havoc, Comanche Gold, Comanche 4, Comanche 3, F-22 Lightning 3, Jane's AH-64D Longbow Gold, AH-64 Apache Air Assault, F/A-18 Operation Desert Storm
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