Flight of the Intruder (video game)
|Flight of the Intruder|
Cover art (NES)
|Developer(s)||Rowan Software (PC,
Amiga, Atari ST),
|Publisher(s)||Spectrum HoloByte (PC, Amiga, Atari ST),
|Release date(s)||1990 (PC, Amiga, Atari ST), 1991 (NES)|
|Distribution||Floppy Disk (PC, Amiga,
Atari ST), cartridge (NES)
Flight of the Intruder is a 1990 flight simulator developed by Rowan Software and published by Spectrum HoloByte for the PC DOS, Amiga and Atari ST. It was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 with Imagineering as the developer and Mindscape as the publisher. The game was based on the novel of the same name, and each copy came with a paperback version of the novel.
The game allows players the choice of flying either the Grumman A-6 Intruder or the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II from aircraft carriers against targets in North Vietnam. Players were challenged both by the comprehensive enemy defenses and the restrictive and complex rules of engagement of the period. Realistic features include unreliable missiles and smokey engines for the Phantom (as in real life, the trail would disappear in afterburner). At lower realism settings, F-4's has missiles and an internal cannon - in contrast to real USN whose F-4's were armed only with missiles. A wide range of mission types is available, from simple bomb runs or combat air patrols to SEAD missions requiring close cooperation between the callsigns involved.
The player can plan each mission into detail. Based on a given amount of planes in his flight he is able to choose from various armament options for each plane. A mission editor allows for changes in waypoints and also how friendly AI is supposed to behave in each phase of the mission. There is the option to use a default loadout and keep the waypoints unchanged, too.
In flight, the player is allowed to switch between the planes at will, taking control over the respective airplane or leave the AI flying and just spectate. The game also comes with a fast-forward feature to e.g. shorten the waiting time for the transit leg from the aircraft carrier and back - which is slowed to normal time progression if there is a hostile plane in visual range.
The aircraft cockpits, especially the different modes and settings of RADAR and targeting systems, as well as flight controls are complex. The game offers different levels of realism and difficulty and a manual giving background stories quoting real life pilots of the era.
Carrier landings can be left to the AI or flown manually, then requiring the player to maintain the aircraft in a very small envelope to safely land, increasing difficulty once more at the end of lengthy missions.
There's a multiplayer mode available. If a player chooses to fly for the Vietnam side he will get into a MiG-21, however the flight controls and the cockpit images are that of the American F-4.
The game itself does not have a story line. In campaign mode the player progresses through the different air campaigns of the Vietnam war, with the first mission being the notorious Tonkin Gulf incident.
Computer Gaming World in 1990 stated that the player controlling wingmen distinguished the game from other flight simulators, and favorably reviewed the flight models and other realistic features. The magazine concluded that the game "is a tour de force in simulation programming ... for the moment, at least, Flight of the Intruder is the king of the flight simulations". A 1992 survey in the magazine of wargames with modern settings gave the game three and a half stars out of five.
- "Information from Moby Games". Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "In 1972, an Elite Air Corps Flew Over Vietnam. Fly with the Brave and the Bold.". Computer Gaming World (advertisement). July–August 1990. p. 25. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Rigby, Paul (November 1990). "Chasing Demons ... and MiGs". Computer Gaming World. p. 28. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Brooks, M. Evan (June 1992). "The Modern Games: 1950 - 2000". Computer Gaming World. p. 120. Retrieved 24 November 2013.