by David K. Marshall, Rod J. Swift, Paul Barnes
Digital Integration
Crash Issue 23, Dec 1985   page(s) 12,13

Producer: Digital Integration
Retail Price: £9.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Dave Marshall

Following the success of Digital Integration's Fighter Pilot based on the Tomcat, Dave Marshall sat down and studied the specifications for the Hughes Apache Advanced Attack Helicopter. Now, after a long wait, the fruits of his labours are finally available with the release of Tomahawk, the helicopter flight simulator which puts you in control of one mean machine.

Once you've got past the Lenslok the main menu is displayed, which allows you to choose from a range of flight options and weather conditions:

Flying Training - this helps you become familiar with the helicopter instruments and develop ground attack skills;

Combat - which puts you in a battlefield scenario with live hostile targets;

Day or Night - at night there is no artificial horizon and your view is limited to the pilot's night vision system;

Clear or Cloudy - you can choose an overcast sky for instrument flying;

Cloudbase - selectable cloudbase, you chose the height at which you wish the clouds to appear if any are desired;

Crosswinds and Turbulence - for the experienced pilot. Allows for variable crosswinds and turbulence effects;

Sound - if set to ON then it mainly consists of effects generated by the rotor blades;

Pilot Rating - effectively the skill level option. There are four choices ranging, from the Trainee to Ace;

Controls - joystick or keys option. Allows for two ports to be used on Interface 2 for enhanced helicopter control.

You view the game from the cockpit. The top half of the screen is dedicated to the horizon and any features that might appear on the landscape (or the map, in map mode). The lower section of the screen takes the form of an instrument panel which displays the status of all the flight controls. These consist of bar scales for throttle position, fuel, engine torque, turbine and rotor RPM, engine temperature and collective position indicator. There are also readouts on altitude, time to target, ground position, speed in knots and vertical speed. Also featured on the instrument panel is the artificial horizon. This gives information on roll and pitch, while to the right of this is the Doppler Navigation/radar; using this it is possible to find your way to other landing pads as well as track enemy targets.

At your disposal are three types of weapons: Guns which have a range of about 2000 ft; Rockets - the Apache is equipped with 38 of these (19 each side) and they have a range of 4000 ft; Missiles are laser guided and automatically lock on to the target. You only have 8 of these. Each type of weapon is controlled by a different type of sight.

When in combat mode there are a number of possible targets such as tanks, field guns and enemy helicopters all of which are depicted in 3D vector graphics. Fighting is not easy and it is advisable to train for quite a while before going into combat mode. As well as using the tracking system, the map is in constant use in combat, so it is necessary to learn how to fly 'blind', without the graphic representation of the horizon.

The number of variables that can be set on the main, option screen allows you to almost redefine the game. If you get bored playing one way, for instance, you can make the game a lot tougher by selecting a cloudy option and adding in crosswinds and turbulence.


Control keys: Q decrease collective, A increase collective, Z/Caps Shift rudder left/right, C combat mode, N next objective, P select weapon, 7/6 nose down/up, 8/5 roll right/left, 0 fire button, W/S open/close throttle
Joystick: Interface 2, Kempston, Cursor
Keyboard play: lots of keys but quite a good response
Use of colour: not a lot of colour but generally well used
Graphics: nice vector graphics
Sound: limited but put to good use
Skill levels: 4
Screens: massive playing area

When Fighter Pilot was first released I had just bought my Spectrum and remember thinking what an ace simulation it was. Now, almost 2 years later, the sequel has been released and it is every bit as good as the original. My first impressions were that it looked just like Fighter Pilot but after playing it for a while, you realise that it has been improved a lot. The graphics are very good with nice representations of enemy tanks and helicopters. The only real problem that I had with the game was that it was a bit tough to get right into - but if it wasn't so tough then it wouldn't be so realistic. I would definitely recommend this game to anybody who is keen on simulations. Arcade addicts would find it a touch boring, perhaps.

This has to be one of the most awaited proggies ever: the development time was even longer than The Great Space Race. Well the end product is certainly better than Legend's little problem and all in all a very competent flight simulator indeed. The best thing about Tomahawk is that it's instantly accessible. I found it very easy to power up and fly around with practically no skill involved at all. As you get into the game and start using the combat options, things get more complex and a fair bit of practice will be required. The graphics move fairly well considering the complexity of some of the shapes that are handled. At one point, though, I'm sure I managed to fly through a mountain... Overall a very good simulation indeed, even if it is a mite late. Non-flight freaks should see before buying, but flight maniacs will love it.

This is the sort of game I couldn't honestly recommend to someone who likes sitting down to a game which can be competently played instantly. As with most flight simulators, practice makes perfect. The 3D works pretty well once you get into the air and the update on the horizon is about the quickest you'll get on the Spectrum, considering everything else the program is doing. The multitude of missions and combat sequences must make Tomahawk potentially the most durable program yet to be released on the Spectrum. The instructions are excellent and show you in detail how you can fly the Apache. Perhaps Digital Integration should have made more of them - a bigger box with glossier bumph would have added even more finesse to an already brilliant program. If you liked Fighter Pilot then this is the natural progression; if you've never seen it, give this one a go - it could well get you hooked!

Use of Computer: 93%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 89%
Getting Started: 86%
Addictive Qualities: 95%
Value for Money: 92%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: A very good, very realistic simulation but it may not appeal to arcade players.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 1, Jan 1986   page(s) 33

Digital Integration

It's been a long time since Fighter Pilot - the revolutionary flight simulator from Digital Integration that revived a whole genre by giving the opportunity of killing things. Well now it's the turn of the helicopter pilot to take off from the comfort of his own living room and keep the Western World free from whichever menace owns the bases, tanks, guns and other choppers that take pot shots at you.

Ignoring the militarism for a moment, this is a real treat for those of you who've only ever flown Cessnas with your Spectrum before. You won't believe how hi-tech the helicopter of today is. What with the chips that keep the nose level and the ones that tell you where the next target is, flying time before you arrive, when the pubs open... well, there's the equivalent of a couple of ZX81's here making flying a doddle.

I really enjoyed road-testing this machine, swooping low around the smooth 3D vector graphics of the landscape, clipping the tree tops, swerving among the mountain peaks. But Uncle Sam has a mission for me so it's out of practice mode, a quick look at the map, and I align my heading with the target radar dot - just time to check upon the combat mode before we encounter Ivan!

It should come as no surprise that you've hardly been short changed on weaponry. I was spoilt for choice between guns and missiles but finally plumped for a rocket to take out their field gun. After all. I could hardly keep them wailing while I hovered around making up my mind! Tilt nose down, target and fire. A satisfying explosion blows them into a thousand pixels and it's onto the next base. Of course I was on Trainee rating, flying without crosswinds, by day, but one day it'll be a force nine gale with only infra-red sights and then I'll deserve the Ace rating. Clint Eastwood, watch out.

Yes, it looks like D.I. has done it again - I got a real kick out of Tomahawk. My only quibble was the Lenslock security system that it's using. It's like something dreamt up by the MoD to protect official secrets, and I'm sure Tomahawk isn't that accurate!

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 10/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Hot Shot

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 45, Dec 1985   page(s) 19

Publisher: Digital integration
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor

The AH-64A Apache Advanced Attack Helicopter. Think about it for a moment. It flies at nearly 200 knots maximum. It can climb 1400 feet in a minute. It carries 16 hellfire anti-tank missiles, 1200 130mm cannon rounds, and four pods of 70mm rockets. If that isn't enough to freeze the blood, or rather vaporise it, the pilot's helmet responds to what the pilot is looking at and points the guns at it.

It sounds like an extremely unlikely nightmare, but it's real, and Digital Integration has finally brought out it's long talked-about simulation. Tomahawk is the follow-up to Fighter Pilot, which we still rate as the best flight simulation around for the Spectrum. But Tomahawk takes the genre to new levels of sophistication with a variety of options and levels of violence which will surely delight simulation lovers and militaristic Rambo-freaks alike.

The chopper is easy enough to fly in training mode, but the landscape you see is very detailed, and since helicopter gunships are all about getting down low and hugging the surface, you'll rapidly discover the delights of cruising eight feet off the ground at 100 knots. Trees and buildings are the least of your worries - there are mountains and pylons which present even more hazardous obstacles.

Then there's the enemy. Dotted around the playing area are tanks, field guns, and an enemy helicopter. Once you get into the proper play mode - even as a trainee - life gets hairy as those blaze away at you whenever they can. They also produce rather impressive explosions if you knock them out.

The control panel is fairly cluttered, but you won't need to look at all the instruments all the time. The controls are responsive, and there's a twin joystick option if you want to put all the controls onto sticks.

Manoeuvres are quite different from flying aircraft. Helicopters tend not to like looping the loop, but the instruction booklet details hair-raising stunts such as torque turn and auto-rotation, where you reduce the revs and drive the rotors with air passing upwards through them. You can even land a helicopter with the engine completely cut out.

Options include four levels of difficulty, day or night flying, crosswind and turbulence effects, and cloud. The last is great fun. You can select a cloud base from 50ft to 1000ft. At 50ft nearly every object on the terrain can only be seen when you're low enough to hit it. On the other hand, it's tremendous fun dropping like a stone out of the sky in front of the enemy to zap him.

The wireframe graphics are effective and appear well-regulated. Targets appear as dots on the horizon at first, and since there are plenty of bushes and trees about which look identical at long range there's a realistic feel to the business of hunting them out. You'll rely on the cockpit instruments to close in, but once you have visual contact the best tactic is to fly by instinct and keep a sharp eye on the altimeter.

Digital Integration has produced a superb simulation, with plenty of action for games lovers; simulation addicts can forget about the warfare and just slink off to a quiet corner of the map and practise aerobatics and low-level flying. It's the ideal mix, and we recommend it without reservation.

Overall: 5/5

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 58, Jan 1987   page(s) 54,55


Fly an aircraft, race around the world's most dangerous Grand Prix circuits or take a steam locomotive from London to Brighton. Just as your Spectrum can take you into the depths of space to zap aliens so it can simulate most audio visual real-life events you can mention. This month SU straps itself into the world of Spectrum simulators. Here's our choices:

Label: Digital Integration
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Various

The most complex and satisfying helicopter simulation on the Spectrum. You take control of a US Airforce Apache helicopter. It's a modern model, designed to fly low through a 3D landscape of trees, mountains, high buildings and electricity pylons.

The complex console display has been copied straight from the real McCoy so, you'll need to do all the swatting up required of a trainee pilot. You are, of course, at war but have a complex weapons' system at your disposal to destroy the tanks and missiles which attempt to knock you from the skies.

The Spectrum version of the helicopter has eight Hellfire missiles, two rocket pods and a cannon, compared to the real Apache's 16 rockets 19-round pods and cannon. However, a helipad will always be at hand for you to stock up with more. Rockets can be aimed manually or targeted by the computers and you've also got infra-red camera equipment to help track targets during night.

The aim is to take out as many of the enemy's positions as possible but just flying the copter is a fascinating experience.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 5, Feb 1988   page(s) 70,71

Atari 8-bit, £9.95cs, £14.95dk
Spectrum, £9.95cs
C64/128, £9.95cs, £14.95dk
Amstrad CPC, £9.95cs, £14.95dk
IBM PC, £24.95dk

Helicopter simulated Hughes AH-64A Apache.

Helicopters have come a long way since the old days when Westland ruled the waves. Although the British company came up with the excellent Lynx (when did you last see a helicopter loop-the-loop?) the Americans have been hard at it and the Apache shows just what modem US technology can stuff under a rotor blade when it sets its mind to it.

Digital Integration leapt to fame with their Fighter Pilot simulation, which was the first flight sim for 8-bit micros to give a no-compromise combination of combat challenge and simulation authenticity. It's still an excellent buy but misses out somewhat in the ground detail stakes. Tomahawk, on the other hand, draws - and improves - on the tradition established by Durell's renowned Combat Lynx, which gave improved wire-frame landscape features and a reasonable degree of flight control realism.

First, the instrument display is excellent. Clear, sensible read-outs give all essential information. The landscape is slightly crude but still ambitious and effective for 8-bit machines. It would be nice to see this game running on an ST or an Amiga, but for time being this will do nicely. Landing pads, pylons, tanks, guns, helicopters, trees, and mountains all come and go with simple but effective majesty as you search out up to 1024 targets on a large map. There are four missions of increasing difficulty and complexity, culminating in an almost impossible game of noughts and crosses with the enemy as you each seek to support your ground forces and occupy whole rows of the grid, thereby taking them out of the game while you proceed to the next.

You have guns, missiles, and rockets to fight with and flying options include variable cloud cover height, day/night flying, crosswinds and turbulence. There are four pilot ratings with enemy action and skill doubling with each increase in player status. Flight sim fans used to the muscle of big jets may find the Apache limited by comparison in some departments, but push the machine to its limits and you'll be surprised what you can get out of it. A must for chopper champions and a strong contender for the rest of us, though simply applying collective and rising into the air doesn't quite compare with roaring down the runway.

Display Quality: 7/10
Sound: 4/10
Instrumentation: 8/10
Documentation: 4/10
Ace Rating: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 52, Feb 1986   page(s) 15

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Digital Integration
PRICE: £9.95

What's the toughest helicopter around? Blue Thunder? Airwolf? No. The Apache Advanced Attack Helicopter is the king of the skies. It can climb 1400 feet in just a minute. It carries enough weapons to sink at least a couple of battleships. And it's REAL.

You may never got a chance to fly the real thing - but Digital Integration can put you in the hot seat - if you own a simple Spectrum.

The long awaited follow-up to their Fighter Pilot flight simulation is a complex and highly detailed representation of what it's like to fly one of these hi-tech fighting machines,

The screen display shows a heads-up view of the terrain you fly over, plus an impressive range of instrumentation. Fortunately you don't really need to keep an eye on these all the time. There are audio alert signals which call your attention to the gauges when they need it.

Graphics for the landscape are draw vector graphic style and - despite that limitation - are very accurate. You can fly over mountain ranges, trees, buildings, military installations - and the ever present enemy.

Controls are extremely responsive. You can mix keyboard and joystick - and there's a two joystick option for the really experienced flyer.

It's difficult to do justice to the amount of detail and accurate background work that has obviously gone into this excellent program.

Tomahawk is an extremely well put together piece of software. Impressively presented and documented. And, on top of all that, it's got real atmosphere - something that's hard to get into a game. That's if you should really describe it as a game. Somehow it seems all too inadequate.

Tomahawk is destined to become a classic.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 9/10

Award: C+VG Blitz Game

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 12, Dec 1985   page(s) 43

Digital Integration
Arcade Adventure

Over 7,000 ground features and some of the best wire-frame 3D graphics this side of Novagen's long-awaited Mercenary, Tomahawk puts you in control of the US Army's latest attack helicopter, the Apache. Promoted by Hughes as "an extension of the pilot's will", it's appropriate that the Spectrum simulation of such a hi-tech heli marks the commercial debut of the Lenslok protection system. This, of course, is a game in itself - hours of fun to be had squinting through a plastic lens at the VDU guessing at the combinations of any two letters of the alphabet.

Once past this hurdle, you can open the throttle, ease forward on the collective, and leave the pad. As the 3D world display unreels you will see landing pads, buildings, trees, transmission pylons, mountains, enemy tanks (moving and firing), field guns, and airborne enemy helicopters.

A number of mission scenarios are available to you: flying training or combat, with different difficulty levels, you can select a low cloudbase of a night mission. In this last you can try out the infra-red vision - same game but in red and black. The display will be familiar to aficionados of DI's Fighter Pilot, but is much more than an enhanced version. All helicopter characteristics are faithfully reproduced; slowing down is best achieved by use of the cyclic pitch controls rather than reducing throttle level - you tend to plummet - and you can fly sideways or backwards. Weapons include eight Hellfire missiles which automatically destroy anything in your sights plus 38 unguided rockets and a machine gun. The Target Acquisition and Designation System tells you whether your target is friend or foe - most modern military hardware has a built-in identification signal.

The system has been designed with Interface 2 in mind, so that it's possible to fly like a real helicopter pilot using one joystick for throttle control, the other for altitude control.

Much more accessible to the casual player than Fighter Pilot, what more can I say than that our fellow journalists on Flight magazine have, over a cup of coffee, voted this one of their favourite games.

Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 2/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 58, Oct 1990   page(s) 31


Oh cripes. Whose idea was this? Couldn't we do it on something else? Nah, we promised. How about putting if off for another month? Or we could make JONATHAN DAVIS do it? Heh heh. Right, where's he got to? Ah ha!

Neeeeeow! Dakka dakka dakka! Kaboom! "Crikey, Ginger, pull up! Over."

"I can't! I think my flaps have gone a bit funny. Over." Neeeow! Boom!

"Bail out! Bail out! Over." Dakka dakka dakka. (Ricochet noises.)

"Er, okay then. Over and out."

Sorry about that, just trying to inject a bit of excitement into this thing because, let's face it, flight sims aren't exactly the most exciting bits of software around.

Or are they?

No, They're not. But there are loads of them about, and people keep buying them. Why is this? Perhaps we'd better investigate.

For thousands of years man has dreamt of flight... (Cut the crap, Ed) Erm, well, perhaps it's because they demand a bit more thought than your average arcade game. Fast reactions are all very well, but what about using your noddle occasionally? Keeping a plane in flight isn't just a matter of wobbling your joystick about a bit, which is the impression that lesser games give. You've got angles of attack to worry about, altitude, navigation, weapons systems, undercarriage... the list is endless. As are the manuals usually. And that's another thing. If you've never played one before you'll need to spend hours wading through one of these breeze-block tomes before you can even get off the ground.

Once you've got the thing up in the air though you're well away. With any luck there'll be lots of scenery to look at and plenty of enemy thingies to 'take out'. You might even like to indulge in a bit of aerobatics to pass the time. The one thing you should always keep an eye on though is the ground. Stay away from this at all costs. Unless you're landing, of course, which is another story altogether.


In compiling this guide I was faced with the usual problem - what exactly is a flight simulation? What are the criteria? Where do you draw the line? I decided to seek the advice of one of Europe's leading experts in the field of computer games.

"Er, Matt? (Cough.) Matt?' I ventured.


"Would you have said that, say, Fighter Pilot was a flight sim? Huh? Matt?" I enquired cheerily.

"Er, probably," he replied.

"How about Harrier Attack?"

"I expect it is, yes."

"Or Night Raider?"

"Um, look, I've got to go out. To the, er, shops. I'll see you later. Maybe."

Unperturbed. I decided to try Andy, but he didn't appear to hear me. I also tried ringing up a few friends. They all seemed to be out.

So it's all down to me then. Well, I reckon that really, in a flight sim, you ought to be in control of a plane of some sort. Ideally you'd get a 3D view out of the cockpit, but I'll be flexible and allow ones where you see the plane on the screen from the back (like ATF) and even ones where you see the view in 2D (from the top or something).

Another important guideline is the number of keys. Preferably there should be at least 2,452 of them, each with about three different functions. But, again, I'll allow a generous margin of error and set the bottom line at six.

And finally there's the manual. Obviously this should be as large and impenetrable as possible, with lots of incomprehensible acronyms that you have to keep looking up in the glossary at the back. A rough guide to length? Let's say 500-600 pages for a decent one or, if the game comes in an ordinary cassette box, an inlay card that folds out into a thin strip long enough to wrap round Matt's tummy at least two and a half times.

So now we know just what makes up a flight sim, let's take a look at a few…


Once again, the normally-so-versatile YS rating system doesn't really seem too appropriate here (Instant appeal? Addictiveness?). So what we've done is to come up with a revised system, specially tailored to meet the needs of today's flight sim. Let's have a nosey...

The View: Can you see anything nice out of the window? Or is it all just green and blue wiggly lines? And does the scenery glide around smoothly or jerk around like an Allegro with a dodgy clutch?

Realism: This can often be determined by the number of keys the game uses. So that's just what we've done. Counted 'em. As there are 40 keys on your basic Speccy, and each one can be doubled or even tripled up, the maximum comes out to exactly 100. Handy, eh?

Dakka Factor: Is there much to shoot? Or is it all a matter of map-reading, gauge-watching and other such nonsense? And once you've shot whatever it is, does it explode dramatically and plummet to the ground leaving a trail of smoke behind it? Or not?

Net Weight: A crucial part of any flight sim is all the junk that comes with it. So, adding together all the disks, maps, manuals, stickers and the box, what do the YS scales make of it? (All weights are, of course, approximate.) (In degrees.)

Digital Integration

This one's the sequel to Fighter Pilot, and there are a number of differences between the two games. Number one is that you're flying a helicopter. This is a big step-up from a mere F-15, and doubles the number of keys under your fingers at a stroke. Number two is that you've got a choice of different weapons to play with, some of which lock on and home in automatically - brilliant fun. Number three? Erm, well there are some nice-looking mountains to fly between, plenty of trees and a fair few buildings. All of these were new at the time. And, ooh, I'm losing count now, but there's an enemy helicopter to shoot down and lots of tanks and things on the ground as well. And (and! And!) there's a 'strategy' element to it where you've got to win a war or something. So it's a pretty complicated game then. And, what's more, it's extremely playable. The helicopter handles very convincingly, and is fairly simple to fly once you've worked out what's what. And the large quantity of shootables means that you won't get bored of it in a hurry.

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The View: 67%
Realism: 78%
Dakka Factor: 69%
Net Weight: 85%
Overall: 72%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue Annual 2018   page(s) 60

As the Crash annuals are still for sale ZXSR has taken the decision to remove all review text, apart from reviewer names and scores from the database. A backup has been taken of the review text which is stored offsite. The review text will not be included without the express permission of the Annuals editorial team/owners.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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