Combat Air Patrol
Soon to hit the screens of your pc is Combat Air Patrol from Psygnosis. Rated as one of the best flight sims on Amiga, the game has been re-written for pc and vastly enhanced, according to developers Maverick Simulations.
Set during the Gulf war, you can choose between instant "leap into the cockpit" action or take on the role of the Commander-in-chief of the allied forces in the Persian Gulf as you strive to ensure the success of Operation Desert Storm through suppression of enemy ground and air units - better known as Saddam bashing. You can fly either the F-14 or f/a-18 aircraft which, although offers not as vast a range as other flight sims, has ensured that the maximum attention could be devoted to these two aircraft.
CAP boasts actual 3D landscaping with gourard shading, which ensures that you will feel as though you are flying within the real landscape. The terrain has been designed and developed using maps of the Gulf region, so things like oil fields will lie in their true locations, with the mapping area covering around one million square kilometres.
Features include a virtual cockpit which provides the pilot with the ability to padlock an enemy, a facility essential to any keen dogfighter but often ignored. Loads of attention has been lavished on the sounds, with in-cockpit speech from wing-men included, and... wait for it... 3D sound effects through use of stereo separation and Doppler shifting, if your card can actually support them!
Scenarios run through both day and night, with realistic infra-red night attack equipment available. The gameplay is enhanced by the fact that the enemy vehicles are highly intelligent; they won't just sit there waiting for you to pop them off, they will evade and. if possible, retaliate.
When the game was launched on Amiga, one of the design elements which shone through was the high frame rates. These have been translated onto the pc version which, together with the high quality flight models, ensures that flight sim purists out there will be able to time aircraft roll rates and nod sagely to each other. If you just like a good crack, it's going to be fast and smooth and graphically immense.
For all you people out there with access to lots of kit. loadsa money and a very understanding boss, up to 16 people can play on a local area network. Hopefully nights lost trying to get the likes of Falcon 3 networked and stable will become a thing of the past.
To sum up, what Psygnosis and Maverick Simulations have set out to do is create a world-beating yet accessible simulator. The specifications are extremely impressive and it remains to be seen whether the finished product delivers, but personally I can't wait.