|Release date(s)||1984, 1985|
|Genre(s)||Action, Flight simulator|
Skyfox is a 1984 action computer game developed by Ray Tobey and published by Electronic Arts. Ariolasoft published the game in Europe. Originally developed for the Apple II, it was ported to the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Macintosh in 1985 and to the Amiga and Atari ST in 1986. The game was produced by Stewart Bonn, and Richard Hilleman also supported Ray Tobey's work; both would later become high-ranking EA product development executives.
The player pilots the Skyfox, the most advanced attack fighter plane available to the fictional government, the Federation. The plane has armaments consisting of radar guided missiles, heat-seeking missiles, laser cannons and deflection shields, and has a top speed of Mach 4. Gameplay consists of finding and destroying enemy tanks, planes and motherships. The game has 15 scenarios that can be played at five skill levels.
Featuring a view from the cockpit of the jet, this game is recognized as popularizing this view. The cockpit featured radar which showed incoming missiles and other threats. Flying above the clouds, the player fights hordes of enemy planes. Flying below them, the player is attacked by enemy tanks. Hailed upon its release, most criticisms of the game cited repetitive gameplay as the only drawback.
The game was followed by a sequel, Skyfox II: The Cygnus Conflict, set in space.
Tobey thought a player could get bored flying an advanced fighter plane, and might want to play a game. Consequently, he incorporated a Space Invaders game into Skyfox as a hidden Easter egg. Pressing Ctrl-G while flying activated the Space Invaders game.
The Apple II version included the ability to use a Mockingboard if one was present in the computer. This feature would provide greatly improved sound and music over the standard 1-bit square wave capability of the machine.
Skyfox was Electronic Arts' best-selling Commodore 64 game as of late 1987. Compute! called Skyfox for Amiga a game that required "both forethought and quick reflexes ... one of the best available for the Amiga". It concluded that "the designers and programmers have outdone themselves in exploiting the Amiga's powerful features ... a simulation which rivals the best computer games available in any medium".