Amstrad Computer User1st October 1989
Published in Amstrad Computer User #59
A budget blaster in the style of Afterburner. No messing, just go and waste some sucker.
In this latest blaster from Codemasters, the chaps have eschewed plot and the usual meaningless waffle in favour of straightforward violence. There is no namby-pamby messing - just get straight into that MiG-29 and go waste some sucker.
Why you are in a Soviet fighter is not explained but if you watch Clint Eastwood's Firefox before you play, then you will have a feel for it. Either that or play Afterburner, of which this is the budget version. I would go so far as to say that MiG-29 is an Afterburner simulator, even if the horizon tilts only up and down, and does not swing clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Everything else is there, with some rather tasty, chunky multi-colour graphics and different weapon systems.
Your first objective in this behind-the-aircraft 3D perspective game is to make it to the end of the Woodland level. It is not easy to make it without losing the odd life, as the tanks on the ground and the aircraft in the air are all bent on your destruction.
Thankfully, the aircraft never seems to fire below a certain point, so the best strategy appears to be to stay low and dodge hard.
You are armed with five weapon systems - bullets, bombs, air-to-ground missiles, air-to-air missiles and hydrogen bombs - and a limited supply of most of them. Catch the parachutes which float down periodically for the ammunition and also to replenish your fuel supply.
At certain points a big helicopter appears in front of you, which means that it can fly backwards at Mach 2, I suppose, and it can be downed only by an air-to-air missile, so make sure you do not use them all by then.
You might have thought that using a hydrogen bomb at very low altitude might be somewhat fatal but your aircraft is obviously solid lead and warp engine-powered, because only the assembled enemies are fried, crisped and dried - even the Russians use smart bombs these days.
After the woodland there is desert with cacti; tropical, sea and Arctic with Eskimos fishing, landscapes to jet over, with a bonus screen of floating weapons to replenish your rapidly-dwindling stocks in the middle of it all.
It is a pity the sound effects are poor because the music, although somewhat tinny, is acceptable and the graphics are very good. The speed of objects scrolling towards you is impressively fast, while the action is always thick and tense.
After a number of really disappointing releases from Codemasters, it is good to see an unpretentious budget thrash which is worth playing. MiG-29 may not be the most sophisticated of games but with the intense concentration required to select the proper weapon system at the correct time in the midst of a gunfight, it certainly beats Afterburner in my novella.