Fighter Bomber logo

ACTIVISION £29.99 * Mouse/Keyboard

There are already a good few combat flight simulations around, so what makes Vektor Grafix, the people behind Fighter Bomber, think they've got more to offer?
Well, for a start the game is apparently based on the annual Strategic Air Command Bombing Competition that's held in the heart of the American West. Several nations take part in this contest, including the Russians and British, which comprises a series of missions designed to show off the aircraft.
The nation which performs best is awarded the Curtis LeMay Bombing Trophy: America have won it most in the last 20 years using F-111s, but the Brits have pinched it twice using Tornados.

The first thing to do, then, is decide who you'd like to fly for, the list comprising the USA, Russia, Germany, Sweden and Britain. The Americans have several planes to choose from including: F-15, F-4 and the F-111. The Brits and Germans are offering the Tornado, the Swedes the Saab AJ37 and the Russians the MiG 27. Then you can select the sort of enemy plane you'll be likely to encounter including the brand-new MiG 31, the old F-14 and the sim writers' favourite of the moment, the F-16.

As with all flight sims, the next thing to do is get to grips with the controls and learn to fly the thing. Once you've got that out of the way, you can start the game proper and start hitting targets. As you level of competence rises so does the complexity of the mission until you end up trying to hit multiple targets: check them out on the mission briefing map before setting off or you could end up arming your plane with completely the wrong armaments!

And once you get rar enough into the game you'll have to attempt refueling in mid air, by locking on with a jet tanker, and the continuing onto other targets (including non-military targets like bridges).

Once you've completed the set missions there is also the facility to design, test and fly your own missions - but remember, all your progress is saved to disk!


It's not the fastest or the most detailed flight sim to have appeared, but it moves fast enough and is detailed enough to be enjoyable. What it does have in its favour are the excellent out-of-cockpit views. There's even a weapon view which allows you to watch a missile go winging its way towards its target. These views and the great sound effects certainly make up for the slight loss of speed.


With 176 pre-designed missions and the ability to make up your own (and save them to disk, so you could swap them with a friend) there's bags of lasting interest built in.


The ability to fly several planes and fly your own missions adds greatly to the game, making it well worth looking at if you fancy a new slight sim. It's not as good as some of the competition, but it's still a great game and fans of the genre will be well pleased.

Fighter Bomber logo

Im Sachen Flugsimulationen herrschte auf dem Amiga ja nun schon längere Zeit Ebbe, genauer gesagt seit letztem Herbst. Ob Activisions Bomber die Lücke schließen kann, scheint allerdings mehr als fraglich...

Dabei ist der erste Eindruck recht vielversprechend: Sieben verschiedene Flugzeige stehen zur Wahl, wobei man sowohl das eigene als auch das gegnerische bestimmen kann; es gibt 16 vorgegebene Missionen, und wem das noch nicht reicht, der darf sich seine eigenen zusammenbasteln.

Zum Eingewöhnen kann man im Free Flight-Modus das Starten/Landen oder das Betanken in der Luft üben; dies ist gleichzeitig eine gute Gelegenheit, sich mit den übrigen Features vertraut zu machen. Gestartet wird in "Interceptor"-Manier mit den Tasten 1-0 (leichter bis voller Schub), über +/- kann noch feinreguliert werden. Die Darstellung der stählernen Vögel erfolgt wahlweise in 2D oder 3D, und das aus den unterschiedlichsten Perspektiven.

Soweit so gut, doch die praktische Erprobung fiel eher enttäuschend aus: Von einem Flugsimulator erwartet man sich ja vorwiegend ein halbwegs realistisches Verhalten beim Fliegen, aber genau dieses (entscheidende!) Feature sucht man bei Fighter Bomber vergeblich! Erstens fliegt sich das Ding nicht wie ein Kampfbomber, sondern wie 'ne lahme Ente; zweitens kann man sich die irrwitzigsten Fehlbedienungen erlauben, ohne daß der Vogel abstürzt. Irgendwie wurde ich das Gefühl nicht los, eher vor einem Actionspiel als vor einem Flugsimulator zu sitzen.

Und wenn wir schon beim Meckern sind: Der Sound ist für meinen Geschmack absolut fürchterlich, mal abgesehen von ein, zwei guten Effekten. Das Handbuch ist zwar ordentlich gemacht, wenn man aber tatsächlich mal Schwierigkeiten hat (vorzugsweise beim Landen oder in der Luft tanken), läßt es den Spieler im Regen stehen. Was allerdings so schlimm auch wieder nicht ist, denn die Bedienungs ist wirklich kinderleicht.

Was soll man zur Grafik sagen? Auf der einen Seite gibt es sehr viel davon, das Fluggebiet ist geradezu riesig; auf der anderen Seite bekommt man im Cockpit nur die Hälfte davon mit, denn der halbe Screen wird hier von der Instrumententafel eingenommen, die trotzdem nur wenige Anzeigen enthält. Meiner Meinung nach ist Fighter Bomber für Fans von "Falcon" oder "Combat Pilot" nicht geeignet - am ehesten vielleicht noch für Anfänger, die leichte Bedienbarkeit und schnelle Erfolgserlebnisse zu schätzen wissen.

So gesehen hatte der Bomber noch Glück, daß der geplante Vergleichstest mit "F29-Retaliator" wegen technischer Probleme beim Hersteller Ocean ins Wasser gefallen ist - ich glaube felsenfest, daß der Konkurrent mehr zu bieten haben wird! Nächstes Heft sind wir dann (hoffentlich!) alle schlauer... (mm)

Fighter Bomber logo CU Screen Star

Price: £19.99

Up until now Amiga flight sims consisted of Interceptor (though good, not much of a simulation), Falcon (good simulation but extremely tough to play) and the Sublogic sims (expensive and hard to obtain). Since then everybody has been waiting for a cross between these three: a flight sim that is detailed, accurate and above all, controllable. Vektor Graphic's Bomber fits the bill perfectly.

Instead of being restricted to one aircraft, you can choose between an F-15, F4-E, Tornado (German and British), Saab, Vigen, MiG-27 and an F111-F. Each is represented with a 2D picture and a 3D rotating image. The technical specifications are all accurate and include a brief history of the craft. On top of that are another half dozen different enemy fighter aircraft, though you do not often get to see these close up.

One thing that needs to be remembered that by the nature of the simulation the onus is one bombing runs and ground attack, not air-to-air combat. Consequently, the majority of the weapons are designed for blowing up land-based targets. Some missiles and bombs are specific to a certain plane, such as the JP233 multiple bomblet dispenser which can only be attached to a British Tornado. Whereas Mavericks and Sidewinders can be fitted to Nato planes, with the Russian equivalent for the MiG-27.

Even the armaments sequence is well presented. The screen displays a frontal view of your plane with a plan view showing the weapons pylons. Every time a missile/bomb is attached it shows up on the picture, giving you a good idea of how formidable you really look.

Missions are graded in difficulty: Covert, Tactical, Strategic and Offensive, with each containing four scenarios. Sixteen is a generous amount of missions for any game, but that is just the start. There is also a full mission designer, allowing you to do everything from placing targets on the maps to editing the scenario text, giving Bomber an almost infinite amount of missions.

The most significant thing in Bomber's favour is the control method. Rather than an endless bank of keys the few that are essential are well located and easy to remember. I would be lying if I said flying a plane was a piece of cake - it isn't, but it is easy to pick up basic manoeuvres and this keeps the simulation playable without making it simple, you just have to try the mid-air refuelling sequence to find out.

The graphics are surprisingly well detailed, especially the ground targets. A host of cities, bases and even Mount Rushmore make an appearance. As is common nowadays you can pan around your plane.

Bomber plays like a flight simulation really ought to. It is extremely well presented throughout, with good sound and high quality graphics. It is not exaggerating to say Bomber is the best flight game on the market at the moment. Don't just take my word for it, try it yourself.

Chocks away for a 'billion dollar' flight sim sim!

Fighter Bomber logo Zzap! Sizzler

Activision, C64 £14.99 cassette, £19.99 disk; Amiga £29.99

If you thought Space Ace was an expensive game, you've obviously never heard of the US Air Force's annual bombing competition. All you need is a couple dozen of the world's most expensive aircraft, a few supertankers full of fuel, and a billion dollar air traffic control system.

Activision's simulation of a simulation begins with the pilot picking his aircraft. Choose from the American Phantom, Soviet MiG-27, US F-111 (used to bomb Libya) and British Tornado. Amiga owners can also fly a F-15 Strike Eagle, Swedish Viggen, or another Tornado variant. You can then choose the enemy aircraft type - either the Gruman 'Top Gun' F-14, Soviet MiG-29 or US F-5 (plus the F-16 Falcon, Soviet Su-27, Mirage 2000 and MiG-31 for Amiga owners).

You may also name your pilot, and your performance is automatically saved when you crash or make a landing. But first you must arm your plane with missiles, bombs, and so on - the computer will do this for you if necessary. Confirm your choice and the missions are loaded in. To begin with you're qualified for just Free Flight (no enemy) and a Covert mission. There are four categories of mission, each containing four missions (two on the C64). Mission types are Covert, Tactical, Strategic, and Offensive.

Select a mission and a map appears - click on 'mission text' for a briefing, then find your target on the map. Amiga owners can access a 3-D recon fly-by of the target, as well as selecting air refuelling points (air refuelling is absent from the C64 game). Another Amiga advantage is the ability to design your own missions, placing a variety of targets, refuelling points etc. These missions can be saved to disk.

Once you've been fully briefed you can go into the game proper, sitting in the cockpit with the instruments before you (a different layout for virtually every plane). Besides the cockpit view, you can select satellite, tower, and tracking views of your plane with full zoom in/out. After that it's wheel-brakes off, thrust up to max, and up, up and away...

Phil King What's happening? All of a sudden flight sims have become fun. Fighter Bomber is even easier to get into than F-29, simpler to fly and you can't die (the program merely increases your number of crashes from 100 to 101!). Both Amiga and C64 games offer plenty of options with some great exterior views. The Amiga game is extremely fast and great fun to play. Particularly good are the engine noises which vary according to thrust and aircraft type. The screens where you choose your weapons are great too, on both machines, it's a pity we didn't have more space to show them.
The C64 game has some impressive aircraft graphics, and there's some nice detail on some of the targets too. But the aircraft handles too slowly for it to be as exciting as it should be. Possibly solid 3-D was too ambitious for this type of game on the C64.
Robin Hogg Vektor Grafix have made a massive leap from Star Wars to Fighter Bomber, one which is extremely successful on the Amiga at least. Long missions become much shorter when you spend so much time zooming around your polygon-packed aircraft via various exterior views. The realism of flight control is much lower, but at least this makes the game instantly playable.
Once into the game the variety of missions soon impresses; in some there's a tight time limit for destroying several different targets. Often the target is ver specific - hit the tent, not just one of the jeeps beside it. So while it's easy to fly (and land, fortunately), the game is far from a push-over. You even have to land the right way down the runway to successfully complete a mission! Fighter Bomber looks good, plays very well indeed and serves as a good introduction to flight sims. Listen out for the rock guitar 'jamming' session at the start, it's great!!
While the 64 game has eight missions and near 16-bit presentation it lacks extensive ground detail leading to dull play and with it repetition on a grand scale (Project: Stealth Fighter still reigns supreme). Yeah, it's technically very impressive with its fast moving polygons, but 64 Fighter Bomber is shot out of the sky by dead gameplay.
Stuart Wynne External views of the C64 aircraft show the program at its best, with attractive solid 3-D aircraft moving well over the landscape. It is particularly neat how the undercarriage retracts and the wings sweep back on swing-wing aircraft. But inside the cockpit you become irritated by the sluggish response, and bored by the dull scenery. The most exciting target is a bridge - a few lines, with no road or river in sight. The missions are tough, but there isn't much variety. Air-to-air combat also seem rather infrequent in the missions we've played.
On the Amiga the graphics aren't only more attractive, but much more importantly they move quickly and with detail - crucial for the ground targets. This makes the game a lot more fun, while more missions and a 'design mission' option improve lastability. It is a pity it's a simulation of a simulation (atmosphere is low as a consequence), and the lack of a complex, hilly terrain means low-level bombing isn't as realistic as it might be. Nevertheless, this is an extremely enjoyable game, which will keep you flying those missions long into the night.

Fighter Bomber... ...Advanced Mission Disk logo

ACTIVISION £14.99 * Joystick and Keyboard

Budding Curtis Le May psychos out there who've flown their Fighter Bombers into the ground (figuratively and literally) can take to the skies once more with the Advanced Mission Disk. You need the original game - Fighter Bomber - as all missions and no planes makes Jack a dull boy. Even if they are 16 of the most ridiculously hard combat sorties ever devised.

The new features include improved land furniture with in-depth shots of parked jets and radar towers. What's more, many missions don't allow a re-arm/refuel stop-over so you must overcome a missile to enemy ratio of 1:2 or worse! You even have to guess which enemy are mission targets and which ones are cannon fodder.

The graphic improvements aren't that stunning but the insane difficulty levels are. It's a supplement disk only for those with a distinct iking for pranging jets or who are budding Chuck Yeagers. It would be better if you could fly the missions in any order, but they follow sequentially, so many will never get their money's worth.
But if you enjoy raining death from the skies, though, scramble!