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Game info

Combat Air Patrol

Combat Air Patrol
GenreFlight Sim
DeveloperMaverick Simulation
Reviewed byndial
Placed in the cockpit of either an F/A-18 Hornet or F-14 Tomcat, Combat Air Patrol is a combat flight simulator that gives you the opportunity to fly either single missions, or the entire Desert Storm campaign. It is the first attempt from Psygnosis for a combat flight sim, released only for the Amiga (1993) and MS-DOS computers (1995).
Combat Air PatrolSTORY / GAMEPLAY:
Single missions range from providing air cover for the fleet, to Scud busting, to destroying supply depots and command centers. Missions begin with briefing, including reconnaissance films, weather reports, and intelligence estimates of enemy defenses. After arming accordingly your bird, you are placed in the cockpit of either an F/A-18 Hornet or F-14 Tomcat at the end of the catapult of the USS Theodore Roosvelt during Desert Storm campaign, sitting with the engines at maximum afterburner waiting for launch clearance. During the mission, you follow the directional headings displayed on your head-up display and MFDs, and you will be directed to the target. Fortunately, you can always get back to the aircraft carrier and refuel or re-arm too. All of the targets are strategic military objectives so you are not allowed to inflict heavy civilian casualties by blowing up hotels and hospitals. You will be required to fly to the targets, take them out, and fly back to the carrier. But most likely you will come into conflict with Iraqi MIGs and heavy anti-aircraft fire!
The game includes all the standard exterior views available via the Function keys.
Combat Air Patrol is fast, fun and lethal, although the technical superiority which was so telling in the real Gulf War will also stand you in good stead here. Note that, whilst the Amiga version received generally positive reviews back in the days, the PC version (although superior in graphics and speed) was not met with such enthusiasm.

Some quick key-press hints (Amiga keyboard):
- When on the runway, press F1 to enter the cockpit.
- Press both Alt keys to ignite engines followed by Shift and F10 for full power.
- Press K (keyboard), M (mouse) or J (joystick) control.
- Press Help key four times to maximum afterburner levels.
- Press Del key four times to reduce afterburner level to zero.
- MFD's can illuminated by pressing 1 or 2 keys.
- When engine power instruments indicates full power, press L to launch (if on aircraft carrier).
- Press F1 to toggle between cockpit and external view.
- Press Tab key for HUD display.
- Press Swift and Esc keys to exits to main menu.

A lot of attention has been paid to details, offering some neat touches to the visuals. As you fly missions that begin in late afternoon, the sun sinks, the sky darkens, and as night falls, your cockpit instruments disappear until you turn on their illumination. Returning to the carrier for a night landing gives some small appreciation of why naval aviators refer to this as their single most difficult task. Details are apparent again in the row of landing lights that flash sequentially down the length of the flight deck as you approach. The flight model is fine, while speed is on the negative side due to the hardware limitations here.
The sound is also good, as the game is full of digitized sounds and speech (a total of 44 samples!).
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Comparable platforms
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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