SNES jet jockies have been patiently twiddling their thumbs in the Ready Room, waiting for a combat flight simulator with the Right Stuff. Now it's time to... SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE! Super Strike Eagle by MicroProse is the best jet fighting/flying game to soar into the SNES yet. The only hitch is if you can't stomach take-no-prisoners action, dizzying graphics, or hard-line politics.
Where Eagles Dare
Super Strike Eagle blasts a fierce mix of action-packed combat, thought-provoking strategy, and four knock-out game play views. If you're afraid that the thawing Cold War will make America's air power rusty, chill out. You fly nine tough- as-nails, pre-emptive strikes in five politically-hot Theaters of Operation. You begin with a get-to-know-your-Eagle "milk run". Then you strongarm four "naughty" little countries -- Libya, Cuba, Iraq, and Korea. Strike Eagle says: "They're outta here!"
A Boom with a View
Strike Eagle's graphics fire up the afterburners. All the F-15 Strike Eagle pix, from any angle, will make jet junkies drool. The animation's super slick, and the scenery is gorgeous.
Eagle's most eye-catching graphics features are the cool game play viewing Modes. The cart automatically switches between four sharp views: a behind-the- jet view during take-offs and landings, a satellite view on your way to the targets, a first-person cockpit view during dogfights, and a unique outside-the-aircraft look during ground attacks.
A View from Above
You spend significant time flying in the excellent Satellite Map Mode. Here you guide your F-15 from "outer space" across a Theater's terrain. You can easily see all enemy jets, your targets, and your friendly bases. You have to dodge a steady stream of SAMs (surface-to-air missiles), too. Satellite Mode automatically switches views when an enemy jet approaches you, you pick a ground target, or you decide to land.
Looks that Kill
Air-to-Air Combat Mode turns and burns. The first-person look at the horizon is familiar flight sim stuff, but the sky's vibrant colors are great, especially during night missions. You can also pick out nice detail on the enemy jets.
Inside the cockpit, the HUD (heads up display) and the instrumentation are lean, mean, and easily seen. The HUD enemy-busting cursors, the Tracking Box and the Aiming Reticle, move smoothly. You'll live or die by your ability to quickly comprehend the easy-to-read Radar Screen, which tracks bogies and missiles. Another key display is the WSO (Weapons System Officer) Screen, which monitors fuel and damage.
ProTip: Enemy interceptors fire missiles to the rear.
When you pick a ground target, Ground Attack Combat Mode kicks in with an outrageous, mind-bending Mode 7 tour- de-force. Here you see the terrain surrounding your objective from an outside-the-jet overhead view. However, when you dive you follow the jet from behind; when you climb, the jet flies up towards you! As you make your bombing run, slick scaling makes the ground, your targets, and enemy fire rush up at you. Turn and everything spins to scale.
To set up dive bombing runs, climb for height and slow down.
Breaking the Sounds Barrier
Eagle's sounds are almost supersonic. The effects are excellent, particularly when you're hit by missiles or rattled by gunfire. The music has a catchy militaristic rock. Even the engine drone inside the cockpit is ear-compatible.
Survival of the Fittest
Strike Eagle is a tough bird, and its meat- grinder missions will sink their talons into your throat. For example, Libya alone has 19 targets! However, mastering the game's crisp controls (which use every SNES button) will save your tail. You have Vulcan cannons, air-to-air Sidewinder missiles, air-to-ground Maverick rockets, and missile-fooling Chaff and Flares at your command.
- You can slow down to zero and start up again as you're flying.
- Fly too fast and you rocket by enemy jets. To attack, reduce speed to 40 knots.
- SAMs and anti-aircraft guns only target you at certain altitudes.
- If there's a bogie on your tail, put on the airbrakes. When he flys by, nail him.
Whoever's selling arms to the opposition is doing a great job! You're hit hard and often by roving gangs of interceptors, murderous arrays of anti-aircraft guns, and swarms of SAMs. The two types of SAMs test your smarts, too, since you have to quickly pick Chaff or Flares to escape 'em.
Use Chaff and Flares wisely. You can fly faster than enemy missiles and pull tighter turns.
Even if you beat the bad guys, the game ain't over till it's over. Landing safely can require fancy flying, especially if your ship's about to fall apart or you're covered with radioactive fallout.
You can shoot enemy missiles, but it's tough!
Part of Strike Eagle's fun is planning your attack. You must use fuel-efficient strategy to jet to and from your targets and fly like a pro to knock them out without sustaining too much damage.
Display the Satellite Map to take a break in the action. You won't bum fuel either. "R&R" here means "refuel and repair," which you can only do a limited number of times. You can only land twice per base during daytime missions, and nighttime missions are a nightmare -- you can't land at all! Two to Tango Two-player games require the toughest flying skill of all -- teamwork. One Eagle- rider's the pilot, the other's the Weapons Systems Officer, who controls all weapons and defenses. You each use a controller, and you'd both better communicate! The action's so frantic that your friend may wind up being your foe. Where Egos Dare? Serious video air warriors have no choice -- you must fly Super Strike Eagle. For extra added incentive MicroProse will reward the first 1,000 fliers who complete nine missions with a cool F-15E Strike Eagle color picture book. Strike Eagle soars.