Falcon (video game)

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Falcon is a flight simulator video game, and the first release in the Falcon video game series.

Development[edit]

Falcon was originally designed and produced by Gilman Louie and programmed by Les Watts for the MSX (1984, under title of F-16 Fighting Falcon) and Macintosh (1987 as Falcon), and used bitmapped 3D MiG-21s as adversaries, several years before Origin's Wing Commander used a similar graphics engine. It was ported for the PC, but no longer used bitmapped graphics; instead, the adversaries were displayed using primitive polygon graphics.

The Atari ST version of Falcon

Gameplay[edit]

The Atari ST (1988) and Amiga (1989) versions of Falcon feature a semi-dynamic campaign where the player can roam the airspace, sweep for hostile aircraft, and attack ground targets. Destroyed buildings and SAM sites remain destroyed for fixed period of time, and hostile and friendly forces engage each other on the ground back and forth. Both of these versions have two expansion sets for them, Falcon Operation: Counterstrike and Falcon Operation: Firefight (released in Europe as Falcon Mission Disk Volume 2).

Compute! joked in 1989 that Falcon "seemed harder to fly than the real plane". That year Spectrum Holobyte released an update that reportedly made control and landings much easier.[1]

A version for the TurboGrafx-16 was released in 1992.[2] A canceled Super NES version was also planned for early 1993.[3]

In the original Falcon, users had their choice of flying one of 12 missions - with awards for flying missions at higher skill levels. The user had a choice of different ground attack and air-to-air weapons, although these were also limited by several factors. For dogfighting, AIM-9J missiles were not as reliable as newer AIM-9L missiles - and were useless for head-on attack - but were typically the only missiles available. Because they were guided, AGM-65 missiles were easier to use than "iron dumb bombs" like the Mk 84, but ineffective against strengthened targets. An ECM pod provides defense against enemy missiles, but occupies an external hardpoint that could be used for additional weapons or fuel. The enemy occupied the western areas of the game's playable map - itself a large square divided into 9 smaller squares. Enemy targets were fixed sites on the ground. For defense, the unnamed enemy was limited to MiG-21 interceptors, and ground-launched missiles - either the SA-2, which was launched from identified and fixed sites on the ground, or SA-7 missiles, which could be fired from portable launchers, and could therefore appear anywhere.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World in 1987 called Falcon "one of the most detailed and accurate flight simulators on the microcomputer market today". It reported that a F-16 pilot with the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing "gave it good marks for accuracy".[4] The game received 5 out of 5 stars Dragon,[5] with 4 out of 5 stars for the DOS version.[6] Compute! praised Falcon's graphics, realism, and documentation.[7]

Falcon won the 1987 Software Publishers Association awards for Best Action/Strategy Program, Best Technical Achievement, and Best Simulation.[8] It was voted the "Best 16-bit Simulation Game of the Year" at the Golden Joystick Awards 1989.[9] Falcon was ranked as the Amiga's eighth best game of all time by Amiga Power in 1991.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Atkin, Denny (November 1989). "Compute! Specific / Amiga". Compute!. p. 18. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Falcon - TurboGrafx-16 - IGN". Uk.ign.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  3. ^ Nintendo Power 38, July 1992, p.113.
  4. ^ Carey, Regan (February 1988). "Falcon / Spectrum Holobyte's F-16 Fighter Simulation" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 44. p. 28. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (132): 80–85. 
  6. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (February 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (142): 42–51. 
  7. ^ Hudson, Steve (July 1988). "Falcon". Compute!. p. 56. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Computer Entertainment Industry Shines in 1987 Excellence in Software Awards" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 47. May 1988. p. 8. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  10. ^ Amiga Power 0, May 1991