ST Games Gallery
Gunships, Gone Fishin', GFL Football, Alien Fires
GFL CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALLGFL Championship Football is exciting and adds a few new tricks. Your viewpoint is from the receiver's or runner's position on the field. This gets you involved in ways that a view from above the field can't. You hear your footsteps as you run and you almost feel the impact when you get tackled.
To start playing GFL, you and another player select your teams from four divisions North, South, East and West. In a one-player game, you select the computer's team too. Each position is rated from 1 to 3. Use the joystick to call plays from an offensive or defensive play list. You also control your movements with the joystick.
Passing and running take practice. On offense you can pass short or long, or run up the middle or down the sidelines. On defense you can blitz or look for a passing play. Guess wrong and your opponent will gain big. Guess correctly, and you could throw him for a loss.
On passing plays, you move the receiver downfield after the snap. You must take the exact number of steps in the right directions to catch the ball. This is as hard as it sounds, but I managed to get the hang of it after a couple of games.
Special teams are important. You can block field goals by maneuvering a defensive player in front of the kicker and jiggling the joystick. During field goal attempts, if you kick too soon, the ball will go wide too late, and it'll be blocked. When running the ball back after a punt, you can outrun or stiff-arm tacklers. My team got creamed a few times because the computer is pretty good at running back punts.
GFL comes with clear instructions, helpful play diagrams and a glossary of football terms. It lacks interesting sound effects, however, and some of the graphics could be better.
But it's fun, especially for football fans who are also computer enthusiasts. It's not a game for statistics freaks. GFL just gives you a grunting, sweaty, nitty-gritty real-life football game. Learning the plays is a little hard, but the fun of breaking tackles or crushing an opponent's offensive drive makes it all worthwhile. JOHN MANOR
$39.95, color and joystick required Activision 3885 Bohannon Drive Menlo Park, CA 94025 (415) 329-0880
Gone Fish'n mimics every nuance of bass fishing. In your quest to catch the most and the biggest fish, your first decision is when to try your luck. Do you wait until Saturday, when weather conditions might not be prime, or do you skip work and set sail on Friday, a perfect day? Unfortunately, you're not on salary so a skipped workday will cost you. And you'll need plenty of cash to afford all the state-of-the-art fishing paraphernalia on your wish list. Start with a simple lure, then choose the lake. Navigate to a prime location, attach your lure and let loose your line. And wait.
Unfortunately, just like real fishing, I find this expedition boring. I just lack the patience to wait for a hungry fish to make a mistake. I want to pursue my adversary actively, not to outwait him. But the game really does simulate every aspect of fishing, so I'm sure some fishing enthusiasts will love it. Capable graphics heighten the realism of the experience. You'll actually see the stupid, starving bass dash toward your lure and you'll actually jerk back on the rod to set the hook (although I felt that the control interface left a lot to be desired). The jerky, mouse-controlled rod quickly became annoying, and a good read through the lengthy manual will also be necessary to master this non-intuitive game.
All in all, Gone Fish'n does just what it sets out to do except lie about the size of your catch. But don't despair, as there's still latitude to fib about the one that got away. STEVE PANAK
$44.95, color Electronic Arts (Interstel) 1820 Gateway Drive San Mateo, CA 94404 (415) 571-7991
The AH-64A Apache is the hottest helicopter in the sky with a top speed of 224 mph, a maximum climbing rate of 2,880 feet per minute and a ceiling of 20,500 feet. In Gunship your goal is to maneuver the Apache through a series of military operations, usually seeking to take out the primary target, an enemy installation or base. You select mission parameters, weapons, weather conditions, day or night and difficulty level. After successful missions you'll be promoted and receive medals and commendations.
The Apache is controlled with the keyboard and either a mouse or joystick. I recommend a joystick. A keyboard overlay noting each key's functions is included with the package.
What I like about Gunship is that you can fly the Apache in Easy or Realistic mode. In Easy mode, movements such as pitch, roll and altitude changes don't effect lift, but in Realistic mode, they do. So if you move from a hover to forward flight, keep on your toes, or else you'll lose altitude.
Once you've mastered flight, the next goal is avoid getting shot down. The Apache uses a TADS (Target Acquisiton & Designation System). The pilot and gunner wear special helmets that track their viewpoints in three dimensions when a crewman looks at a target, the TADS "knows" where he's looking. When it locks onto a target, it will stay locked until the target is neutralized or a new one is selected.
When a target is located, its image appears on a video monitor showing distance, zoom factor and the display functions in daylight and darkness. In combat, you just look at a target, select a weapon and fire.
Of the four offensive weapons, the chain gun works best against ground troops and slow-flying aircraft. The Hellfire missile is for knocking out enemy tanks, using a laser to locate its target and firing a beam that "breaks up" when it bumps into a tank the Hellfire "sees" that breakup and homes in. The unguided FFAR rocket works best against ground troops and installations, and the sole purpose of the AIM-9L Sidewinder missile, an infrared-homing air-to-air missile, is to take down enemy aircraft.
If an incoming missile is radar-homing, the "R" light above your Apache's radar screen will flash. If it's a heat-seeker, the "I" light will flash. You'll want to choose either the radar or infrared jammers and change course. If you still can't lose the missile, then chaff or a flare should be deployed.
The tougher the mission, the better the enemy's skill and weapons. Sometimes deploying a decoy or jamming still won't shake a missile, so you have to take evasive action. This isn't easy in a helicopter.
The Gunship manual is the best game manual I've read a piece of art. It includes detailed gameplay information, general helicopter information, weapons and tactics, Apache stats and complete mission briefings. It's clearly organized, and the learning process is a joy.
Gunship is the hottest helicopter simulation, period. Flying the Apache takes a bit if getting used to, but with practice you will be able to strafe those enemy fortifications with the best of them. SCOT TUMLIN
$49.95, color MicroProse Simulation Software 120 Lakefront Drive Hunt Valley, MD 21030 (301) 771-1151
ALIEN FIRES2199 A.D.
The superb cover art of Alien Fires-2199 A.D. sparked my imagination. And my expectation was fueled by the sight of not one, not two, but three disks holding worlds beyond my imagination. Unfortunately, the fire was extinguished soon after I booted up.
Your goal in Alien Fires is to travel to a planet called Galaxy's End and destroy a time machine created by Dr. Kurtz, a benevolent genius driven insane by his own intellect. Skill points are assigned to each of seven attributes to determine your Time Lord's overall ability. As in most games of the Dungeon & Dragons genre, these values increase and decrease based on your performance.
Probably my biggest disappointment resulted from the lackluster graphics. The ST is the premier graphics-oriented personal computer, but no one seems to have mentioned this to Paragon. The vector graphic cortidors quickly become boring, and the creatures you meet, while colorful and interesting at times, become a dull gray when superimposed on the corridor.
The screen photos on the rear of the box are quite different from what you'll see at home. Movement through the corridors is annoyingly jerky and few options are open to you. While I'm sure that the three disks contained tons of data for generating limitless worlds and creatures, I felt little compulsion to explore. It's too bad. STEVE PANAK
$39.95 Electronic Arts (Paragon) 1820 Gateway Drive San Mateo, CA 94404 (415) 571-7991