Kennedy Approach on


Title		Kennedy Approach
Game Type	Management Sim
Publisher       Microprose (1989)
Players		1
Compatibility	A500
HD Installable  No
Submission	Steve Baker

Review
I first played this game on the C64 and although it was a brief liaison,
it had enough impact that it was one of my first purchases on my shiny new
A500. In presentation terms, it betrays its C64 origins without shame,
appearing to all intents and purposes as a direct port. The best that can
be said for the graphics and sound is that they are functional, but with
Kennedy Approach that is not the point. This can be summed up in one word,
atmosphere and tension (ok, two words). However, I am getting ahead of
myself, so lets start the review proper.

You take the role of a rookie air traffic controller and it has been
charged to you to keep the skies safe. You control every aspect (in game
terms) of the flight paths of every plane. This can include planes
entering your air space and looking to land at one of your runways, planes
that are using your air space as a "through road" to other regions and
planes that are taking off from your runways.

There are a number of rules which must be observed to ensure that flights
continue safely and consistent failure to do so can result in you being
fired. Yes that's right; fired, because the game actually charts your
career.

As you start the game, you will get a list of job offers and once one has
been selected, you are taken to the game screen. This shows the simplest
representation of any runways, exit points and flight paths, the first two
being marked with a three letter abbreviation (eg. DEN for Denver, WSH for
Washington). It also shows the planes, along with their heading and
altitude.

Each runway and exit point begin with a different letter to allow
distinction of each flight's start and end points. Control can be provided
by any combination of a joystick, a mouse or the keyboard. To issue a
command, you first need to select a plane. Once selected, you can issue a
command to change heading and/or altitude and confirmation of your
choices are given as an oral order. On screen, you will then see your
selected plane following your orders, although planes can't instantly drop
1000 feet or turn on a sixpence, so there is a delay in the plane reaching
its chosen heading/altitude.

A number of statistics are kept about the current scenario. Of the four
that are available, two are terminal to your career, namely "Crashed
Aircraft" (fairly obviously) and "Bad Exits" (any planes leaving your air
space must be at a height of 4000 feet). The remaining two are "Minutes
Delay" (you sometimes have to wait to launch a plane because another is
coming in to land) and "Minutes in Conflict" (planes at the same altitude
and within three miles of each other). I'm not sure at what point these
also become terminal but I think it's safe to assume that they do
eventually.

It all sounds pretty simple, and in principle it is. However, what starts
off as fairly straightforward, soon becomes a nightmare of organisation.
Initially, the speed of the planes appears pedestrian, but after a couple
of minutes of playing, it suddenly doesn't feel slow enough as your
carefully plotted plane ploughs into a new arrival because you forgot to
reduce its altitude by 1000 feet. Further complications are introduced in
the shape of mountains (where your planes must be at 4000 feet at least),
storms (which plod across your screen crashing any planes caught) and
planes that fly at different speeds.

In spite of the minimal presentation, I can't think of any other game past
or present, that has managed to convey the mounting pressure and
increasing sense of panic so effectively. The game is obviously not as
involved as the real thing, but there is quite enough to mean that a fatal
mistake to your career is only one lapse of concentration away. Needless
to say, successful completion of a scenario is highly satisfying and
generally quite draining.

For those who fancy something a little different and can look past the
presentation from antiquity, Kennedy Approach provides a thrilling
challenge.






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