In a genre all abandoned by North American developers, itâ€™s very refreshing to see a combat flight simulators flying over from Europe. Following in the prop-wash of the Danish-built Apache Longbow Assault, Russian developer G5 Software gives us its own unique take on the attack-helicopter â€œaction simâ€ with Fair Strike.
Featuring six flyable gunships â€” including the AH-64A Apache, RAH-66 Comanche, PAH-2 Tiger, Ka-50 and Ka-52 Hokums, and Ka-58 â€œBlack Ghostâ€ â€” Fair Strike is a relaxed realism sim-lite. Accurate flight and avionics modeling take a back seat to point-and-shoot gameplay mechanics. In fact, the game proved so clumsy and counter-intuitive to play in â€œsimulationâ€ mode that I switched from joystick to keyboard-and-mouse control once it became clear just how superior the arcade mode really is.
Back-storied by a lame narco-terrorist plotline, the game ships with a linear 30-mission campaign set in four separate hotspots around the globe. Many of these multi-phase missions are quite challenging: some of the sorties can take an hour or more to complete (after factoring in the multiple â€œdo-oversâ€ youâ€™ll need when shot down). This depth gives Fair Strike some legs, as do its deathmatch and co-op multiplayer options via LAN.
Regrettably, the scripted predictability of the missions and the relative sameness of each helicopterâ€™s flight characteristics significantly reduce the overall replayability. An underwhelming visual palette further reinforces Fair Strikeâ€™s B-list status, as low-poly helicopter renderings and simplified scenery textures combine to create a thoroughly unconvincing environment. You can find better alternatives â€” namely Apache Longbow Assault – that do the same thing, but slightly better.
System Requirements: Pentium IV 1.7 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB Video, WinXP