Blue Angels
- Formation Flight Simulation -
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade, Programming by: Martin Edwards, Designed by: Rick Banks &
Paul Butler, Opening by: Lise Mendoza, Graphics By: Grant Campbell, Sound by:
Paul Butler, Release Year: 1990, Genre: Mixed Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

A beautiful female robot leads you into her labyrinth of sensations... whoops, that was last month. This time the Blue Angels, far from being metallic striptease artistes, are in fact the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron who perform such manoeuvres as the 360 degrees Pass, Dirty Roll, and Line-Abreast Loop, but alas no '69'!

So you want to be a Blue Angel? Well, obviously before you attempt a full airshow you'll need plenty of practice. The Flight Simulator option allows you to learn manoeuvres in complete safety with the aid of two DDIs (Digital Display Indicators) which tell you how to complete the manoeuvre using a series of joystick actions.

The four basic joystick direction allow you to bank left/right and climb/dive, while with the fire button depressed you can control speed and roll left/right. All the manoeuvres included in the game are explained in a detailed manual. A countdown clock helps you time your action perfectly while a 'tunnel' of rectangles guide your movement.

The practice option is much the same excepty that this time you can crash and you don't get any rectangles on the cockpit view (although you still get a small display showing the ideal and the actual positions of the plane). After attempting a manoeuvre (either in Practice or Flight Sim mode) the evaluation screen appears.

This is a trio of graphis showing how much you strayed from the correct flight path in three aspects: yaw, pitch, and roll (get three stright lines and you must be Robin 'Biggles' Hogg!) You also get average and maximum percentage errors (the lower the better).

Flying in one of three positions (diamond, lead solo, or opposing solo) you can then attempt a full airshow (or simulate or practise one). There are three types of airshow - flat, low, and high - each comprising several manoeuvres. At the end, you'll be given your average percentage error and, if good enough, enter the pilots' hall of fame.

PHIL
I'm not sure quite what to make of Blue Angels: it's far too simple to be a proper flight sim. Play merely consists of making the correct joystick actions (which you're told) at the correct time.

Even I managed to get an average 2% error for a full airshow, while on most flight sims I usually nose dive into the ground after about two seconds! That's not to say the game is terrible: trying out the plethora of different manoeuvres is fun, especially with the evaluation graphs.

But plane maniacs beware, this certainly isn't a full-blown flight sim and will prove far too easy for most computer pilots.

ROBIN
It's out-and out-aerobatics all the way with this oddball game from Accolade. While Blue Angels is very simplistic in terms of flight controls and graphic depiction, with the only major worry being hitting the ground, it's a fun game to get to grips with.

Following the chase aircraft is a demanding occupation with post-flight eveluations really rubbing it in if you go way off course. Play it with a few other friends and you can have a great time trying to beat each other's error rates. If you think flight sims are much too serious for their own good, take a flight with the Blue Angels, it's a fun ride.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 84%
Interesting manual and a wealth of options.
GRAPHICS 44%
Nice evaluation screen and control panel, but the cockpit view's pathetic.
SOUND 67%
Not much, but a really good jet noise.
HOOKABILITY 68%
Surprisingly easy to get into...
LASTABILITY 56%
...but it's too simple to have much long-term challenge.
OVERALL 61%
More of a novelty than a flight sim.


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