Falcon 4.0: Allied Force

Screenshot of Falcon 4.0: Allied Force
Lead Pursuit
In the world of flight simulators, there exists only one winner. Released almost a year ago, Lead Pursuit's Falcon 4.0: Allied Force is arguably the hands down supreme industry leader. The simulator is based on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, one of the world's most agile and dominant multi-role fighters.

To those not familiar with the F-16 Fighting Falcon, it's a highly maneuverable compact, multi-role fighter aircraft which entered service with the United States Air Force in 1978. Since the F-16 is a multi-role fighter, it can successfully attack both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets.

Falcon 4.0: Allied Force is a sequel of sorts to the 1998 release of Falcon 4.0, which to some die-hard Jet Sim fans, was not too impressive. But Lead Pursuit in years of research has fine tuned and enhanced the capabilities of the new title. F4AF, as it is know throughout the online community, is the pinnacle of Fighter Simulators. This sim has nailed down virtually every declassified detail of the F-16, it's scary. Gamers literally have to learn how to fly.

Learning resources are not in short supply with F4AF. The purchase CD comes with a printed 100-page overview manual. Also, there is a 716 page PDF file filled with all sorts of flight navigation and weapons systems procedures. The PDF describes with painstaking detail every cockpit control and how to use them.

With that in mind, the difficulty on this sim is quite high. This sim requires reading and extensive flying before you can truly enjoy it. That makes F4AF all the more interesting and original. It's not just some game you can pick up and beat in 24 hours.

Graphically, F4AF displays a 2-D cockpit view and also a 3-D exterior jet view. Inside the cockpit you can see with great accurate detail all the switches, heads up display (HUD), and avionics systems found in the actual F-16.

You can physically move the switches with your mouse and use different keyboard commands to control your plane and its settings. The area terrain is smooth and passing through clouds seems very impressive.

As for sound, you can hear all the warning alarms in your cockpit as well as air traffic controllers over the radio. The engine noise from your F-16 is also very realistic. All radio traffic that you hear is done in an automated computer voice fashion, but it gets the job done.

The realism associated with this Sim is very high as all aspects of flight have to be factored in. While piloting the F-16, you must be aware of stalling, engine malfunctions, and fuel supply.

Likewise, tasks such as takeoffs and landing the aircraft require many detailed steps and procedures to guide the aircraft. Similarly, using all the weapon systems on the aircraft such as the AIM-9 missile require manipulating radar systems that are very closely modeled after the actual F-16. To sum it up, F4AF is as real as it gets.

One very cool aspect of F4AF is the instant action mode where you get to just start flying and basically can encounter a whole host of different scenarios. The campaign mode for F4AF takes place in Korea and the Balkans. Throughout the campaigns, you'll face off against intense surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft batteries spread around targets. Enemy fighter planes also show up during missions so you'll end up doing some intense dogfighting.

F4AF is one of the few games that were optimized to utilize the full power of Dual Core processors from the very beginning. According to Lead Pursuit, gamers should upgrade to Dual Core processors as they are better able to handle the extra workload in most instances. Although, they are independent of the Intel/AMD debate, Lead Pursuit states that either Dual Core processor will work well.