Ace/Ace II (Encore) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Ace/Ace II
By Encore
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #70

Ace Plus Ace 2

Jet aircraft combat is the name of the game in both of these simulations, the first giving you a choice of skill levels, summer, winter or night-time graphics, different weapons payloads and a two-player option. When the latter is chosen, the second player controls the gunsights of the jet. There are enemy tanks, jets, ships and SAM sights to take out, with the aid of instrumentation (including a rear-view camera) and full-screen map. Mid-air refuelling extends the length of missions.

The Zzappers of issue eight were so pleased with the depth and variety of Ace that they gave it a 90% Sizzler: Gary Liddon "couldn't believe how much there was in it!" and Julian Rignall was sure it was "*the* most exciting flight sim on the C64". But Gary Penn admitted he "wasn't overly impressed with the graphics".

Today, all the reviewers' opinions hold true, although positive opinions should be toned down - it was only late '85, after all. Missions are uncomplicated - destroy land, air or sea targets - and the instrument panel is pretty sparse. However, the refuelling sequence is good even today. Graphics are tacky, 3D jerky, landscapes sparse, movement unconvincing and sprites blocky. Sound effects are simple but there's some amusing grainy speech ('missile warning', 'low altitude' etc). All in all, visuals spoil the aging play and these days Ace is worth a mere 56%.

Ace 2 has a much more direct approach. The screen is split horizontally so that two players have their own independent cockpit views for one-on-one dogfights. A single player can tackle computer-controlled aircraft and ground targets; when such a mission is selected in a two-player game, it's a race to see who destroys the other's base first.

Reviewed in Issue 30, the Zzap! crew were a lot more restrained in their views. It was generally agreed that Ace 2 was too simple, too much like an arcade game, in comparison to the original. Steve Jarratt said it "does provide a decent, albeit short-lived, challenge against a human" and Julian added, "...if you're likely to be playing Ace 2 solo, avoid it". Paul Sumner supported the two-player mode: "among friends, Ace 2 provides fun, spectacle, colour and excitement."

In fitting with Ace 2's direct, arcade approach, the jets' instrument panels are pretty basic, but not as simplistic as the views of the outside world. Light blue, dark blue and yellow like either side of the horizon to represent sky, sea and sand, no features or highlights on any of them so it's all very dull to look at and there's no sensation of movement. Sound effects are dull, Rob Hubbard music's irritating and even in two-player mode only mild interest is generated. Given 81% originally, it's only worth around 52% now.

True, you get two complete games for your three quid but neither are particularly well programmed or enjoyable - you'll load each one once but won't feel compelled to bother again (unless you're Robin Hogg). Far from an ace release.