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Review by: Emil Pagliarulo
Published: July 31, 1997
As a computer game reviewer, there is one situation you pray to avoid, but eventually you must face the inevitable. Nothing is worse than writing a praising preview of a very promising game, only to find that the full version is a complete and utter disappointment. Unfortunately, such is the case with NovaLogic’s latest entry into the helicopter sim genre, Comanche 3.
Helicopter sims have always touched a soft spot in my heart ever since the release of the original Comanche: Maximum Overkill, and I honestly couldn’t wait to jump into the cockpit of the RAH-66 Comanche. Fresh off the drawing board at Boeing Sikorsky and touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapons platform in the world, this new Comanche looked to be a dream to fly. Who better to bring this action to the PC than NovaLogic, a company known for its in-your-face helicopter action titles and beautiful VoxelSpace terrain, right? Wrong.
From its powerful introduction and opening animation, it became clear to me that Comanche 3′s developers had every intention of creating a top-notch helicopter game. The mission selection screen looked even more promising, and for good reason. The game has tons of missions in four different campaigns. The “Training” scenarios guide you through just about every aspect of helicopter operations. Starting at Fort Rucker, you’ll hone your skills in everything from ground attacks, to air combat, to long-range artillery spotting. From there, you can advance to the game’s four combat scenarios. Operation: Gallant Venture, Operation: Frozen Friendship, and Operation: Desert Endeavor are all actually low-level counterparts to campaigns found in F-22 Lightning II, and take place in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Siberia, and the Persian Gulf respectively. Operation: Firm Resolve is set in Cuba in 2003, after Castro’s death and the rise of drug cartel-controlled “Nuevo Dia” (New Day) Party.
Comanche 3′s mission variety is really the game’s strongest point. As in Comanche: Maximum Overkill (the game really is setup much like the original), you will have to fly combat sorties in just about every environment imaginable. In Frozen Friendship’s “Ghost Train,” it is your job to see a locomotive through the wintery wastes to its destination, and then secure the town by any means necessary. In Desert Endeavor’s “Big Al’s Place,” you are given the daunting task of destroying the remote Al Qaim Nuclear Facility, which consists of fourteen separate buildings and is as heavily defended as you’d expect. One of my personal favorites is Firm Resolve’s “Bastion,” in which you’ll desperately attempt to defend the base at Guantanamo, Cuba from air, land, and sea assault. Overall, Comanche 3′s missions do manage to paint an accurate picture of the role of the attack helicopter in just about every possible situation, and definitely give the player a chance to put the bird through its paces.
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