PC Pilot

The Complete Guide to Computer Aviation
by Steve Smith


You also have to keep an eye on the bottom line (the supply of expensive toys like the $500,000 AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile is limited by budgetary constraints), and, above all, the Rules of Engagement (RoE). Just as in real wars, you can't engage a target without permission. Since by the time you see the blip of a MiG-29 on your Westinghouse APG-66 pulse-Doppler radar it's too late to ask for permission, you'd best study the RoE before you take off. (I can only imagine all these rules and regulations are there to make you mad enough to kill with your bare hands when the appropriate moment finally arrives.)

And lastly, just as in the military, if you do everything by the book, exactly as you're supposed to do—even if you lose your whole squadron and get yourself killed without putting so much as a scratch on an enemy target—you're a hero…when they bury you with a chest full of medals. Or lead.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that this program is a barely tamed version of software that Spectrum HoloByte developed for the military—instructing F-16 pilot-wannabes in the finer points of SA (Situational Awareness, keeping an eye on your enemies; from the old pilots' adage "A fool and his target are soon parted"). As its fans are wont to repeat, if Falcon were any closer to the real thing, it would have to be classified.

And "fiendishly complex" barely covers it. For example, consider the options available before you even start the game.