Falcon

Rob 'Bomber' Henderson remembers Falcon

Now, I know everybody raves about this one, and YES, I do know it was good in lots of aspects, but I honestly thought this one ( at least in it's original version ) was lacking when compared to the likes of F16 Combat Pilot.
The graphics were beautiful for the time, and the speed of the game was superb. The sound of that afterburner kicking in was music to the ears. The MiG's were a great opponent.
The thing that I found a shame was that the original missions were one-off's. There was no campaign structure. It must be said ( before I start getting too much hate mail ) that the mission disks helped cure the problem by giving you a dynamic" campaign to work on - and here in the UK ( don't know if this was the case anywhere else ), when the original Falcon was re-released on a budget label, it had been re-worked using the same updates as on the mission disk so the original missions then became a true campaign. "

The aircraft itself was so slippery you had a sensitivity option on the keyboard to help tone it down a bit. There was also an emergency recovery button, which if you pressed, would automatically level the F16 out - however, if you were in a spin it didn't help.
Spins were caused ( among other things ) by having the gear down above 300kts, or stalling with an ECM pod or fueltank on the centreline.
I did find that if you did enter a spin, a quick way to recover was get the airspeed below 300kts using speed brakes and throttling back, then, if the gear was up, drop then raise it, or if the gear was down, raise then drop it again - hey presto the jet would continue merrily on it's way.
If altitude was low, you could also hold the recovery button while doing the gear. This sim also had a very basic form of a padlock view. If you pressed the key, the cockpit view would switch to the one in the direction of the MiGs.
The detail on the radar for both AA & AG was particularly impressive at the time. Although nothing when compared to the likes of what you find in something like F/A-18 by Janes Falcon 4.0, back then you felt like you were controlling something really special and right on the cutting edge of technology.
It also had a black box flight recorder, which could be accessed after every flight. The recorder replayed the mission on two tracks simultaneously, one plan view, the other a side tracking view, with you as a blue line, the MiGs as red lines. The recording time was limited, and if you were in a particularly long-winded dogfight, you usually only ended up having the last half of the fight to review. This sim was also my first experience with Bitchin' Betty".
Although you had a choice of weapons, it was quite a basic loadout. Along with the external tanks, you had an ECM pod, two types of AIM-9 ( Lima's & Juliet's I think? ), Mk84 2000lb slicks, AGM-65 Mavericks ( IR guided ), Durandals and the 20mm gun. The weapons were varied in supply, and usually ran out on the mission you needed them most. "
How many of you remember trying Grand Slam" but only ever seem to be allowed one AIM-9L, or being told by that smug crew chief "Sorry Sir, but Tango Lima(whatever) just took the last one..!". That crew chief ( or should it be comedy relief? ) was always ready with a handy hint and a cheeky smile. OK - it's time to do the toughest wild weasel mission ever. I need Mavericks and loads of 'em. Chief gives me three. "....Sorry Sir, fresh out!". Git.
OK, deep into enemy territory, so it's ECM pod time. Well it would be ECM pod time if there were any left. But who cares? Chiefy's happy - "Morning Sir! How are the wife & kids?" About to be orphaned thanks to your perfectly timed lack of supplies. Git. "
MiGMan thanks Rob "Bomber" Henderson for these recollections.