Commodore 64 cover art by Mark Freeman
Bill Stealey (original concept)
|Platform(s)||Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum|
Airborne Ranger is an action game developed and published by MicroProse for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and DOS in 1987, and ported to the Amiga and Atari ST by Imagitec Design in 1989. In the game, a sole U.S. Army Ranger is sent to infiltrate the enemy territory to complete various objectives. The game was followed by Special Forces in 1991.
The game consists of several missions, in which the player controls a sole Ranger whose objectives include killing an enemy officer, destroying an enemy bunker, taking out a SAM site, and rescuing a captured POW, which would possibly free a roster member that was labeled P.O.W. The game creates the maps and objective locations randomly, so the player is required to plan each mission carefully, because no mission is the same.
At the start of each mission, the player is presented with a short overview of the mission, and can select a Ranger from a roster of available soldiers. The player is then in control of an aircraft, described as a V-22 Osprey and is allowed to drop three ammo crates over the enemy territory. Once the three containers are dropped, the Ranger is parachuted into the area. Upon touch-down, the player has to overcome several obstacles, including enemy soldiers and officers, mine fields, foxholes and bunkers. Due to limited ammunition, the player needs to plan his path through the territory. The dropped ammo crates provide the soldier with fresh hand grenades and ammo. After completing the mission, the Ranger has to navigate to a pick-up point within a time limit. If the Ranger is captured (but not killed), the player can start an optional rescue mission using another soldier from the roster. Each successful mission increases the rank of the individual Ranger, up to colonel.
A review in Computer Gaming World felt Airborne Ranger was reminiscent of the earlier arcade game Commando, but much deeper and more versatile. The graphics and sound were praised, noting gunfire sounds different when shot from inside fortifications than it does outside fortifications. The magazine's 1992 survey of computer wargames with modern settings gave the game four and a half stars out of five. In a 1994 survey of wargames the magazine gave the title two-plus stars out of five, describing it as "Contemporary Ranger operations in a semi-arcade mode that works. Challenging and fun for both adults and children". It also received 4½ out of 5 stars in Dragon.
Compute!'s Gazette noted that Airborne Ranger was an unusual game for MicroProse's developers given their history of publishing simulations, writing "they have created an arcade game, and a darned good one". Compute! stated that "Airborne Ranger is an excellent game from beginning to end", but cautioned that "the violence and action are graphic and highly realistic".
- Rohrer, Kevin (January 1988). "Airborne Ranger". Computer Gaming World. p. 18.
- Brooks, M. Evan (June 1992). "The Modern Games: 1950 - 2000". Computer Gaming World. p. 120. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- Brooks, M. Evan (January 1994). "War In Our Time / A Survey Of Wargames From 1950-2000". Computer Gaming World. pp. 194–212.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (July 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (135): 82–89.
- Bobo, Ervin (May 1988). "Airborne Ranger". Compute's Gazette. pp. 31–32. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Bixby, Robert (May 1988). "Airborne Ranger". Compute!. p. 65. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Airborne Ranger at MobyGames
- Airborne Ranger at Lemon 64
- Images of Airborne Ranger package, manual and screenshots from C64Sets.com