Night Raider (Gremlin) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

Night Raider
By Gremlin
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #47

Night Raider

It's late May 1941. You are a dive bomber pilot aboard HMS Ark Royal. Your mission is to sink the Nazi battleship Bismarck.

Your plane starts off on deck. Although you are the pilot, you can become the tail gunner, the engineer or the navigator by pressing a key.

To take off you have to move certain levers on the engineer's screen and release the brakes. You then return to the pilot's screen, pull the joystick back, and you're airborne.

When in the air, you will see lights reflecting off the water, enemy aircraft attacking and shells exploding around you. In defence, you can fire the machine guns in front of the cockpit or switch to the tail gunner's screen if the enemy is attacking from behind.

You will also be under attack from E-boats and the dangerous U-boats, submarines which the navigator cannot see. They fire torpedoes at the Ark Royal and anti-aircraft guns at you.

While evading all these dangers, you have to keep watching the navigator's screen in order to spot the Bismarck and get advance warning of enemy attacks. The display is updated as you watch.

You must also check the engineer's screen to make sure you are not running out of fuel or having mechanical problems, and keep an eye on the altimeter, compass, artificial horizon, air speed indicator and other instruments on the control panel. A light will flash if something needs attention on one of the other screens.

If something goes wrong in mid-flight you can return to the Ark Royal for repairs, refuelling and restocking ammunition.

Landing on the deck is the most difficult part of the game. You have to be very careful about rate of descent and altitude otherwise you will crash into the deck, crash into the sea, or overshoot and have to turn around and try again.

If you have to ditch, do it gently and you will be rescued.

Choosing a flight path is very easy. You just select a point on the navigator's screen, return to the pilot's screen, line the aircraft's bearing up with a mark which appears on the compass and you will automatically fly towards the point you chose.

If you manage to keep going for long enough in the correct direction you will eventually find the Bismarck. It is well defended with radar, searchlights and anti-aircraft guns, so you will have to fly very low over the water, release your torpedoes, then return to the Ark Royal.

If you are lucky the Bismarck will have sunk, the Ark Royal will have survived, and you will have won.

This all sounds complicated and difficult, and so it is. However, there is a very good practice mode which allows you to try out the difficult parts such as takeoff and landing before attempting a full mission.

There are five levels of difficulty, with more and more attackers on each level.


War game programmers often put a lot of effort into historical accuracy and little into presentation, but this is a spectacular exception.

The graphics are superb. The dials on the control panel are well animated, the artificial horizon rolls convincingly – but the engineer's screen is the best. There are various levers to move and switches to flick, and all you need do is move an arrow to the correct place, press Fire, and everything happens quickly and smoothly.


I played Halls Of The Things once, then gave up. Why? Because there were about 20 keys you could press and I kept getting confused. Night Raider is so incredibly easy to control and is so addictive it deserves to become popular.

That might encourage more companies to produce the decent war games that Arnold needs.


If you thought war games were only played with lead soldiers on giant landscaped tables by retired colonels reliving their past victories, think again. This program brings everything right up to date.

It's as difficult as you want it to be, with excellent arcade sequences and a lot of strategy.