In this 3D jet flight simulator, tactics and combat maneuvers - all are captured completely. Probably one of the best war flight sims on the home computers. Note that the flight dynamics is one of the most accurate for its time. For example, when landing, you should use your AoA (Angle of Attach) indicators in order to get a successful landing (a feature not simulated on most other flight sims at the time!). You pilot the F-16C in assignments as diverse as dogfights, bombing raids or reconnaissance missions. It is up to you to plan your flight route by setting waypoints on the tactical map prior to take-off (not found on the C64 cassette version though); you can also select the armament of your plane. As you advanced with your missions (staying alive of course), you may advance to Mission Commander which gives you the opportunity to control a squadron of other pilots which could be assigned missions by you!
Due to limitations in processor speed, memory, disc capacity and cassette loading time, there a few compromises made in order to produce an 8bit version of F-16 Combat Pilot game. The most significant missing (but found in the 16bit versions only) are the following:
- The following weapons are not avaitable: Mk 83 1OOOlb bomb, Mk A4 2OOOlb and Snakeye bomb.
- The zoom thermal image is not available tor Maverick AGM-65D operation
- There are no intelligence reports during the pre-flight briefing.
- Setting waypoinls on the pre-flight briefing map does not display your flight path.
- The air-to-air radar does not have Single Target Track (STT) mode.
- The air-to-air ground radar does not have a Ground Target Track (GTD mode).
- There is no digital artificial horizon option on the MFD'S.
- Only one enemy aircraft may be tracked on the Up Front Control panel.
- There are no left, right or rear views from the cockpit
- Call-signs have no purpose.
As in all 8bit conversions, the CPC here offers pretty good visuals, although there is not much detail in the 3D environments (such as no bridges, rivers etc) in the simulation. Wire frame graphics are used throughout (3D objects not filled with any color). The cockpit though is detailed and colorful, depicting most of the instruments found in an F-16C. Notice the small differences between the CPC and C64 version of the cockpit view. The last depicts a few more details mainly in order to give a more 3D perspective. Still flight dynamics of an F-16 are fully featured and modeled, while the cockpit instruments are fine modeled and up to the 8bit hardware capabilities (mentioned above). As expected, the frame-rate is low, which is normal for a 3D graphics-based game release on the 8bit Amstrad (and the Commodore, Spectrum ZX) but the playability is acceptable here.
The sound is quite sparse and basic, and limited to engine thrusts and cockpit alerts (which sounds pretty good though!).