Fifty Mission Crush
For Atari, Apple, 64
James V. Trunzo
System requirements: Atari computer with at least 40K RAM, a disk drive, and BASIC; Apple II-series computer with at least 48K RAM and a disk drive; Commodore 64 with a disk drive.
Now you have a chance to pilot a legendary Flying Fortress while making bombing runs over Nazi Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Fifty Mission Crush recreates the excitement and dangers experienced by B-17 pilots flying with the Eighth Air Force based in Britain during World War II. Your goal: Fly 50 missions, rise through the ranks to become a highly decorated brigadier general, and return home in one piece. Easily said - difficult to do.
Starting out as a first lieutenant, you take command of a Flying Fortress and hand-pick your crew. Then. you're assigned a target to bomb and sent on your way.
A pseudo role-playing game, Fifty Mission Crush requires you to make numerous decisions. Before taking off, for example, you must decide how much fuel you'll need to make the bombing run and return to base, and whether you'll carry an overload of bombs. The more bombs you drop, the more effective your mission; however, an overload can cause a fatal crash during takeoff if you lose an engine.
Throughout the mission, you exercise full control over the B-17. You decide whether to fly in formation, at what altitude to fly, which gunners will fire at enemy planes, when to use cloud cover, even when to abort the mission-and, of course, when to drop your bombs. Although all these details are controlled from the keyboard, playing the game is very simple thanks to onscreen menus and a short but concise instruction booklet.
The quality that makes this game special is the "feel" you get while playing it-or rather, while experiencing it. When you are passing over enemy antiaircraft batteries guarding your primary target and the screen turns red as flak begins to explode all around your plane, you can begin to appreciate what the real thing must have been like. You sit, tense and apprehensive, as shells burst about you, and you nervously watch the screen for damage reports. Your stomach tightens when you learn that your tailgunner has been shot up and a German FW-190 is firing at your unprotected tail. You suppress a groan upon discovering that your bomb bay doors are damaged, and you are forced to abort the mission because you can't release your payload.
Unlike many role-playing games, however, Fifty Mission Crush doesn't necessarily strap you into your computer chair for hours. A single mission can be completed in as little as five minutes, and seldom does a single mission take more than 15 minutes from takeoff to return landing. Also, you can save a game in progress after each mission. This makes Fifty Mission Crush perfect for those occasions when you have too much time to do nothing but not enough time to really get involved in a long session with the computer.
The graphics are functional if not spectacular. Tactical and strategic screens show the terrain over which you are flying, views of your plane, animated combat, and so on. These screens are informational and mechanically accurate, and fit in well with the overall program. The lack of arcade-quality, high-resolution graphics does nothing to detract from the game itself. Fifty Mission Crush is a challenging, addictive game that immerses you in the flow of actior in a very personal way.
Fifty Mission Crush
Strategic Simulations, Inc.
883 Stierlin Road
Mountain View, CA 94043