Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc

a game by Razorworks
Platform: PC
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc
Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc
Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc
Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc

Iraq's kicked off again. Behind me on the telly are the now all-too-familiar green night vision pictures being beamed straight from Baghdad, and suddenly that volley of missiles I just fired at some Russian tanks seems all the more harrowing.

Not that Apache-Havoc needs any help in the realism department. Put simply, this is one of the finest helicopter simulators since Longbow 2; better, in many ways, since the graphics technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last year, and Razorworks have pushed this particular boat so far out that even the coastguard would think twice about getting it back.

The Killing Fields

Where to start? Well since we're already in the neighbourhood, let's begin with the graphics. Superb. There's no other word to describe them. Just superb. A photographer friend of mine with a very keen eye for realistic lighting was nearly having kittens when he saw me flying over a forest during a rather resplendant sunset. "Look at that!" he kept shouting excitedly, while jabbing his finger at the screen, "they've got the reflections and shadows just right!" And he'd know. To me it all looked orange, to him it brought back memories of sitting in a Russian Hind one night in Sri Lanka.

But let's not dwell on just the trivial aspects of the graphics. They've also managed to get some extraordinary detail into the hardware. One slight complaint is that there aren't a great number of types of aircraft and vehicles in the s. game, certainly when compared with many of the jet sims available. Cold-blooded as this sounds, you can only blow up so many T-80s before you hunger for something different.

Still, this is a minor quibble, especially when you take into account just how realistic the rest of the world feels. Once again, the only word that describes the feeling you get while swooping over the hills and valleys or along a river bed, ducking under bridges, is 'superb'.

War Is Hell

As for the actual simulation, well, things are almost as good. The flight models feel as though they're spot on, and you can even sense differences between the two main choppers (for instance, the Havoc is a much smoother bird to fly, even if it doesn't have all the gadgets of the Apache).

Once again there are a few small criticisms. First, radio communications don't seem particularly effective. Apart from everyone seeming to have the same voice, there isn't a great sense of teamwork going on between you and your wingmen. For example: you often see them buggering off on a mission without waiting for you while you're still loading up weapons at the base.

Also, while the dynamic campaign engine works pretty well, with a constant war taking place around you, your own personal mission briefings aren't wonderfully detailed, and at times you can take off not entirely sure as to your objectives, other than to fly over there and shoot stuff.

But these are minor flaws in an otherwise superb (there's that word again) simulation. Razorworks are even supporting the game by releasing extra missions over the Net as time goes on. Apache-Havoc is the best helicopter sim currently available. And that's that.

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