Back to Baghdad
MiGMan presents a review by Bob Roberts from
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In June 1994 George T. Keverian and Bob Carter founded Military Simulations Inc. or MSI, their goal was to make the most realistic F16C simulation for the desk-bound PC Pilot.
2 years later, the end result became one of the most advanced simulations ever created for the PC platform. Touted as a simulation and not a game, Back to Baghdad or B2B promises to be one of the best in it's genre until MicroProse's Falcon 4.0 sees the light of day!
One would think that a simulation of such "sophistication" doesn't come without drawbacks. Let's look at some of the little problems that you wouldn't expect from a package that costs as much as a good meal in a fine dining restaurant.
Firstly, the packaging that came delivered with it didn't do it any justice. It was lighter than expected and a quick peek inside revealed that this complex sim had an apology for a manual that wasn't even remotely like Digital Image Design's EF2000 or even Spectrum's / MicroProse's Falcon 3.0 but was more like a condensed version. It had very little to offer in terms of Technical Backgrounds, avionics or even technical troubleshooting. Since then, MSI has made available a downloadable version of their online manual. (Ed Note - MSI's site is down as of January 98. A 3 in 1 Tactical manual was also available for sale online then.)
Although the sim's specs called for a Pentium 90 with 16 MB of RAM, I would suggest a P166 with 32 MB would be the base minimum.
This is largely due to the fabulously detailed objects and terrain found in the v.1.03 patch. Like EA / Jane's Longbow, both suffered from frame rates that are slightly less than the desired 30 fps, thus making it a little difficult, but not impossible to line up a shot or hone in on a target. However, the nine (9 - count 'em!) radar modes and two MFDs representing the APG-68 found in the Block 52 C variants are detailed enough to keep one busy so as to not worry about framerates!
Front view with Atrox Graphics upgrade
What's more interesting about B2B is the ability to hook up a separate monochrome monitor by plugging in a Hercules monochrome card and using it as a third working MFD! An industry first.
The object graphics in B2B are rendered in resolutions of 512 x 512. Cockpit modes are in crisp 640 x 480 video modes. Using the preciously mentioned 1.03 patch will allow for more textures. One nice feature is to see and fly through smoke trails left behind from pickled weapons. Likewise, if you see a SAM with a smokestack going up, you know you're in for a warm welcome! Also the flak sprites are wonderfully done - giving you the actual feel of being fired upon.
NOTE: this was in the days before 3DFX graphics cards - MIGMAN
Flying in Baghdad's airspace at night proved to be almost as interesting - except for the debris that you catch if one of those "interesting" flak bursts gets too close!
There are also several different aspects of gameplay. Beside the usual trainers which prepare you for the "opposition" you'll face, there are two campaigns: Operation Desert Shield.