The Falcon line of computer games is a series of simulations of the F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft. The games, mostly published by Spectrum HoloByte, were noted for their high level of realism unseen in contemporary simulation games.
F-16 Fighting Falcon
F-16 Fighting Falcon was developed by Nexa Corporation (later merged to Spectrum Holobyte) and published by ASCII Corporation in 1984 for the MSX. Designed by Gilman Louie and Les Watts, it used bitmapped 3D MiG-21s as adversaries, several years before Origin's Wing Commander used a similar graphics engine. Sega's Yuji Naka ported the game to the Sega Master System.
Falcon A.T. (PC DOS 1988), also known as Falcon 2, was one of the first flight sims to use EGA graphics. In comparison to the older game, this version allows external viewing of the player aircraft, enables a "head-to-head" multiplayer mode, and includes the MiG-29 as an adversary.
Falcon 3.0 based games ("Electronic Battlefield")
Falcon 3.0 was sold as being the first of a series of inter-linked military simulations that Spectrum Holobyte collectively called the "Electronic Battlefield". Two games released in this range were the 1993 flight simulators for the F/A-18 (Falcon 3.0: Hornet: Naval Strike Fighter) and the MiG-29 (MiG-29: Deadly Adversary of Falcon 3.0) that could be played as stand-alone games or integrated into "Electronic Battlefield" network games.
Further games in the range were expected - rumours abounded of a simulator for the AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship, and even one or more tank simulators. The only one the company actually admitted to working on was a flight simulator of the A-10 Thunderbolt, but it was never released.
Computer Gaming World in November 1993 criticized MiG-29's new redout/blackout model as unrealistic, and lack of fixes to existing bugs, but approved of the improved modem play and its "new set of challenges designed to broaden Falcon's appeal". In a January 1994 survey of wargames the magazine gave the title four stars out of five, stating that the game was "mandatory" for serious players but not for "the casual weekend flyer".
Computer Gaming World in April 1994 approved of Hornet's "Excellent enemy AI" and "intense" air-to-ground combat. While citing "some irritating bugs", the magazine concluded that as "basically Falcon 3 with new scenarios and a different flight model", it "will make a very welcome addition to the hard-core pilot's collection".
Falcon 4.0 and Falcon 4.0: Allied Force
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- Brooks, M. Evan (January 1994). "War In Our Time / A Survey Of Wargames From 1950-2000". Computer Gaming World. pp. 194–212.
- Estephanian, Mark (April 1994). "Hit The Deck!". Computer Gaming World. pp. 102–104.
- Buchanan, Lee (March 1995). "The Falcon and the Sim Man". PC Gamer US. 2 (3): 124.
- "The flight simulation franchise that sold more than 900,000 units for the PC returns in an unprecedented fashion" (Press release). Gamesindustry.biz. July 25, 2005. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017.