Flight of the Intruder for DOS

Title Screen

Title Screen

Flight of the Intruder was released by Spectrum Holobyte back in 1990, created by a software team called Rowan Software. It was the fourth game in a simulation pack that we got as kids that came with Silent Service II, Vette! and F117a Stealth fighter. This was the only game that came with a full colour printed manual in the pack, all the others having black and white paper booklets. It was also the only game that we never could get to work on our 386sx as it required an amount of EMS that our poor old machine wasn’t configured for.

So I recently tried the game on DOSbox to see what it was like. I didn’t have the manual for the game so I had to guess the controls as best I could. I wasn’t able to really get to grips with the game completely as I couldn’t work out controls for many basics of combat flight, such as using weapons!

The duty roster

The duty roster

The game offers EGA and VGA graphics. The EGA graphics are quite good, but VGA graphics look simply like translated EGA graphics. It’s sort of difficult to describe, it looks like they simply replaced colours on-screen to achieve a better effect, but without removing dithering or changing very much else. In fact it appears that each screen still uses only 16 colours. That being said the VGA graphics aren’t ugly, they could be better and don’t meet the same standard set in F117a.

Sound comes from the PC speaker or Ad Lib sound card, and are fairly sparse in-game. It does offer digitised sound, but it doesn’t sound very good. I actually didn’t really hear all that much sound from the game, so it’s hard to say which device sounds better. I’d recommend Ad Lib sound on the basis of what I did hear.

Short Briefing

Short Briefing

Again because I don’t have the manual it was very hard to gauge how good the game play was. I managed to work out the basic flight controls, the default settings using the mouse as an analog for the flight stick. I found the mouse controls were difficult to use and I couldn’t turn without losing lots of altitude, so I switched to keyboard control. The keyboard was better and easier to fly but I still had trouble handling the plane. Every time I tried to change course or do anything else I lost altitude. Perhaps this is the reality of flying these particular planes but I found that it wasn’t a particularly fun flight mechanic. A joystick would perhaps make the game easier to handle.

A large part of the difficulty I had with the game in flight was the cockpit itself. It is difficult to read all the dials and tell what they are supposed to be reading. I also wasn’t able to work out how to use the targeting system or radar, so I wasn’t able to see what enemies were around me easily. Now I’m sure this is quite realistic for how the cockpit works in the real plane, but it made it impossible to understand what was going on easily.

The cockpit

The cockpit

I didn’t have as much fun as I’d hoped with Flight of the Intruder. It does have some nifty features such as automatic carrier landings and missile evasion. But without the manual it was difficult to work out the controls, and the cockpit was difficult to understand. If I had of been able to play this game as a kid back when I was playing F117a I certainly would have favoured it over this game. It’s not bad by any means, but I think it caters to the more serious simulation players.


5 Responses to “Flight of the Intruder for DOS”

  1. January 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I actually just picked this game up from the thrift store yesterday CIB. the manual looks like a novel. actually the box advertises something about a novel and that’s what I thought the manual was at first.

    • January 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Yeah I remember the manual being huge, I’ve got it somewhere at my parents place but couldn’t find it in time. Perhaps I should find it and see if it makes it any easier to play!

  2. February 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    I started playing this game for a review video on some DOS flight sims I’m working on and I remembered you wrote this awhile back. I found this http://gamesdbase.com/Media/SYSTEM/Commodore_Amiga//Manual/formated/Flight_of_the_Intruder_-_1991_-_Mirrorsoft.htm it’s the manual written out. the keyboard controls are at the end.

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