Flash Point Korea: AH-64D Longbow Review

There is no doubt that this is the finest helicopter sim ever made, and one ofthe best sims of any type.

The first add-on disk for the outstanding Longbow sim is not just a new set of missions - though it is that, too. It's a substantial revision of the entire game system that elevates numerous aspects of play to new levels. It's required flying for anybody who owns the original.

The core of Flash Point Korea is the 140 new missions: 100 single scenarios and 40 in a new Korea-based campaign. Set around a Second Korean War, with news clips and new animations, the new missions take place in the wonderfully rendered Korean landscape, with plenty of terrain changes and hills for masking. While the campaign is still a branching tree rather than a dynamic campaign, missions are much more complex, with a new structure that can make things very tricky. You may go out on one mission, only to be called away on a more pressing one. The enemy in the field can call in fire support, and redirect forces to deal with you. Sometimes your primary target isn't even given to you until you've gone out, and then it's radioed in. This all comes together to make Longbow missions more like those of Apaches in the real world. The result is a dangerous, challenging, constantly shifting battlefield that will keep you on your toes.

These new features, as well as improved enemy AI, also carry over to the stand-alone missions, resulting in a huge set of scenarios with a whole new game dynamic. New enemies are also included, and new sounds have been added to many of the weapons already in Longbow. Beneath the new gameplay is a massive overhaul of the flight model and the game engine itself. The biggest changes are to avionics, which is even more complex and realistic. Performance characteristics for both TADS and FLIR are now more closely in line with the real thing. Azimuth controls have been added to both the TADS and the fire-control radar, allowing for panning left or right. You can set both FCR and TADS to either radar or laser modes to better control emissions, and narrow the scan zone for faster updates. FCR can be set to either single-sweep or continuous scan. The radar range has been reduced to eight nautical miles from 50. FLIR now has "white/hot" and "black/hot" modes to help with armor spotting.

Beyond avionics, there are other changes, such as recoil effects when firing guns, more detailed handling of system damage, choice of seeker head type (laser or radar) on Hellfires, more realistic rotor performance, modeling of obstacles when laser designating, varying enemy armor values, new weapon launch sound effects, and other tweaks that show the attention to detail that makes for a great sim. To handle fires in the chopper, there's now a fire extinguisher. A whole new screen has been added to emulate the second seat for the co-pilot/gunner. You can lock and track targets from this view, and while there's no real new functionality, it is a new cockpit with two MFDs that are configured to make threat assessment easier.

The 140 new missions and some new threats would have been plenty for most Longbow fans, but Andy Hollis and his team have gone ahead and honed this puppy down to a killing edge. The initial version of Longbow was realistic, playable, and finely crafted. Flash Point Korea raises it to a new level, though. There is no doubt that this is the finest helicopter sim ever made, and one of the best sims of any type.

The Good
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The Bad
9.1
Superb
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Flash Point Korea: AH-64D Longbow More Info

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  • First Released Nov 30, 1996
    released
    • PC
    There is no doubt that this is the finest helicopter sim ever made, and one ofthe best sims of any type.
    8.6
    Average Rating59 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Jane's Combat Simulations
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genre(s):
    Flight, Simulation