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Fair Strike Impressions

Buka's upcoming helicopter action game was demonstrated at E3 2003.


During our visit to Buka's booth in Kentia Hall at E3 2003, we got a demonstration of its upcoming helicopter game for the PC, Fair Strike. Fair Strike's developers describe the game as an action-simulation game, as it is possible to choose between two different control schemes for your helicopter. The action control set will allow you to fly your chopper with an extremely simplified flight model, using the same controls you'd use in a first-person shooter or standard 3D action game. The simulation control set allows the hard-core simulation fans to fly their helicopters using an accurate helicopter flight model that takes a number of different dangers into account, including blade stall, wind shear, and vortex spinning. Damage is also modeled accurately, affecting your chopper's flight capabilities differently depending on if you've sprung an oil leak, or taken damage to the rear rotor, for example.

Six different real-world combat helicopters are available in Fair Strike: The Ka-50 Black Shark, the Ka-52 Alligator, an experimental Russian stealth helicopter called the Black Ghost, the AH-64 Apache, Comanche, and the Euro Tiger. All helicopters have accurately modeled cockpits and can be outfitted with their real-life weapons loadouts, such as Hellfire missiles and 2.75-inch folding-fin dumb rockets for the American gunships. You're also only allowed to carry realistic amounts of each missile or rocket. Since Fair Strike's missions will include fairly large numbers of enemies, you will be able to land at friendly bases in order to rearm.

Fair Strike's missions are set all around the world, and they involve a variety of tasks ranging from attacking and wiping out an armada of torpedo boats to close support missions for ground troops. The gameplay is fast-paced and action-packed, with plenty of ordnance flying back and forth as you destroy enemy tanks, gun towers, helicopters, and foot soldiers with your arsenal of cannons and rockets. You can bring up to three computer-controlled wingmen with you, and depending on the mission, you may get some unarmed helicopters to protect, like Kiowa scouts or Black Hawk troop carriers.

The developers plan on including three different multiplayer modes, including standard deathmatch, two-player cooperative, and a special team assault mode. The team assault mode is mission-based, and it will involve scenarios such as one team trying to protect a base from the other team, or covering a troop insertion while the other team tries to prevent it.

The game currently isn't scheduled for a North American release, but it is slated to ship in Europe before the end of the year. We'll have more information on Fair Strike as it becomes available.

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