It seem like only yesterday that DiD gave us EF2000, F-22 ADV and TAW. However, their roots date back to 1991 when they released F-29 Retaliator, one of the first attempts to model the F-22 and X-29 fighters. |
Like most games released during the height of the Cold War, the aircraft model is based on speculation. The F-22, never seen at that time, was modeled like the artists' impressions on books about (then) future fighters. The F-29 looks more realistic, because the X-29, a technological demonstrator on which it is based, was widely known at that time.
The game takes you to 4 theaters of operations: Nevada, Europe, Pacific and the Middle East. You have a fixed number of missions to choose from from each theater. You fly air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in these fairly interesting (and challenging) scenarios.
Graphically, Retaliator was advanced for its time. It clearly showed the looks we will see in its sequel, TFX, with excellent graphics that depict cities, bridges, and even moving vehicles. The flight modelling is simple. The array of weaponry is quite bewildering, including the speculative AIM-9X backward-firing Sidewinder.
My biggest complaint for this game is the ridiculously small play area. The size of the map is perhaps comparable to the one in Falcon 1.0. In light of the super-cruise capable F-22, the size of the map quickly feels cramped.This is especially true because even F-19 Fighter, released 2 years before, already gave us the whole Central Europe as our playground.
Still, Retaliator is one of the better action-sim games of its time. This game delivered what its designer wanted it to: fast-paced, hi-tech action. Good enough to pick up when you feel nostalgic for the good old days of gaming during the (simmering down) Cold War.
Reviewed by: Iwan