Falcon: Operation Counterstrike (Mission Disk 1)


Title		Falcon: Operation Counterstrike (Mission Disk 1)
Game Type	Flight Sim
Players		1 (2 with linkup)
Company 	Spectrum Holobyte
Compatibility	All (AGA needs degraders) Requires original game
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Falcon: Operation Counterstrike was the first mission disk for the original
Falcon game. Falcon was, for me, a revelation in that visually atleast it
made even the superbly playable F/A-18 Interceptor look a little dated.
What's more, in Falcon, as well as being able to take out your adversaries
at a distance, you could get in close to the enemy fighters and indulge in
some serious in-your-face combat. Oh yes!

I remember fondly the magazine advert for Counterstrike; against the
backdrop of a beautiful red-brown sunset, an F16 was scorching past the
viewer and firing a missile at a distant enemy MiG. Underneath were the
words "The Best just got Better". This was the first time I'd heard the
phrase and I was rather impressed.

While Falcon was set in a desert location, Counterstrike's landscape was a
lush green with a large lake making an excellent landmark useful for your
aerial navigation. The game had been significantly improved over the
original in a number of ways, including an easier landing operation (this
had been very difficult to pull off originally), correct TV display for
your AGM-65 Maverick missiles, a safe area over your own base, and more
convicing air combat maneuvers from your adversaries, which now flew the
sexy MiG 29 fighter instead of the outdated MiG 21's in Falcon. I should
say that most of the improvements above were later added to the re-release
of Falcon, making it a far more desirable game than the original
release.

Perhaps as significant as anything else though was that in Counterstrike
the twelve new missions were properly interlinked; the results of mission
one effected mission two etc. This added a lot to the game which
originally had felt a little lacking in the way it involved your emotions.
In Counterstrike you first had to repel an amphibious attack, involving
not only the landing craft but also enemy tanks already closing on your
base. After that, once you deprive the frontline troops of supplies, you
gradually take the fight to the enemy, neutalizing his Surface to Air
missile sites in the Wild Weasel mission which then allows you to attack
targets deeper into his territory like bridges and oil depots. Far more
involving than 12 unrelated missions that you could attempt in any order.

The excellent link-up option from the original (dropped in the second
mission disk, Operation Firefight) is still present in Counterstrike. It
is simply head-to-head combat though, unlike the Spectrum Holobyte's later
release Flight of the Intruder which allowed cooperative missions during
link-up.

In summary then Counterstike is a significant improvement over it's
illustrious yet somewhat clinical predecessor. Even when you include the
enhancements which were later incorporated into Falcon, the linked mission
structure of the mission disk clearly gives it the edge making it the
superior game  .....and anyway, the MiG 29's look so much nicer than those
drab MiG 21's.



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