ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1983 / PAGE 11

Jake The Software Dude
by Jason Cockroft

    Aye readers, I'm Jake the Software Dude. I like to play games and play em ruff. My motto is, "if it's junk I'll give it the dump, if it's cool I'll let it rule." Some of the guys in my user gang say I have more braun than brains. So what if I go through a joystick every hour or if I have trouble using graphics mode 1. In the end I leave the computer smoking and the screen melting, with only the high score remaining!
    In my first review, I'm going to review Hellcat Ace, a wild and rugged game created by Sid Meier. If you're the type of guy who stays up all night watching W.W.II fighter flicks, like I do, you'll go wild on this game.
    The basic layout of this game is based on you being a fighter pilot. You see what a W.W.II pilot in the Pacific would have seen! You see your power, ammo, heading, mirror, speed, and altitude gauges all on the console in front of you. But most impressive, which will burn your little eyeballs out, is the horizon. The reflection of the sun, and the changing color tones of the sky make the graphics, at least for the most parts, right on! The basic format of the game allows the players to have a complete tour of the Pacific theater. You start as a Flying Tiger in August 1940 and hopefully finish with 5 kills or finish fighting in Okinawa in April 1945. In 14 different missions, you are asked to complete different tasks such as shoot down bombers, zeroes, scout planes, or avoid zeroes and even fight zeroes at night.
    Gladly I find the game continually challenging and exciting. I find even after a month of continous practice,(I'm unemployed), I can only kill a zero 70% of the time and very rarely become an ace on skill level 3. Those intelligant zeroes dive, bank, weave and even climb into the sun. Sometimes they even challenge your skills by flying right down on the deck. The program justifiably makes the bombers and scout planes easier to shoot down than the zeroes. Meanwhile your own airplane can be damaged through his fire as you control your fighter with two jousticks; one of which you use to control your elevators and rudders and machine guns and the other to control your power and eject button. You can even ditch your own aircraft when it is nearly totally destroyed. For you chicken type of pilots there is another option of bailing out. Yet even here you can be killed if your picked up by the Japanese ship.

Hellcat selection screen

Helcat action screen

    Although the overall graphic presentation is good, there are a few complaints I have in this area. Firstly, the explosion of the Japanese aircraft is very questionable. It seems as if the whole program stops to see the aircraft explode. Secondly, the exact simularities between all the Japanese aircraft is a bit dissapointing. The programmer should have made the scout planes, bombers and zeroes three different shapes. Besides these few complaints I found the fast moving graphics to be great.
    The sound of Hellcat Ace was quite good. The main attraction here is how you can hear the sound of your engine rev higher as you change speed.
    The documentation of the game was great! I especially enjoyed the scenario write ups on the battles you encounter.
    Overall I would definitely recommend Hellcat Ace to anyone. Its the type of game you'll have many "all nighters"(No one night stand stuff!). Furthermore, the way I figure it, it is better for you to fight W.W.II on the screen rather than watching some dumb actor do it for you!

MicroProse Software
One Caribou Court
Parkton, Maryland 21120

The Rating Scale
By Jake the Software Dude.

    This table below is a reference sheet that can be referred to when reading the numbers given to each product review. It will help make clear why some of my numbers seem kind of low.

        Rating Table
10-Totally original, outstanding.
9 -Excellent, show your girlfriend.
8 -Great, glad to have spent the money.
7 -Good, no complaints.
6 -Passable yet not to the programmer's potential.
5 -Passable, but dissapointing.
4 -Not worth the money.
3 -Don't show your friends.
2.-Don't show your mother.
1 -False advertising.
0 -Not recommended by the Surgeon General.
    If there are any questions you can write to me in care of this magazine.