Developer: Interactive Magic
INTERACTIVE MAGIC GETS IT RIGHT!
After playing some less-than compelling sims from Interactive Magic in the
past (iPanzer '44, iM1A2 Abrams), I was not expecting much with Hind. I was
pleasantly thrilled to discover that the 1996 helosim based on the Russians'
formidable Mi-24 gunship is not only enough to keep my interest--it is
detailed, engaging, and fun. Clearly a lot of time and attention went into
the production. Next to Enemy Engaged it shows some age but without
reservation it represents a slew of indulgent hours at the joystick. The
program possesses the necessary range of flight model and difficulty settings
and twenty training missions so that the casual helosim jockey (like
me, for instance) and the serious devotee can get as much action out of the
sim as they can handle.
thrills begin immediately with Quickstart missions or you may choose Training,
Single Missions, and Campaign. Campaign is a branching, scripted affair that
does a decent job of making your results count. The single missions take place
in Korea, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan and the opponents are numerous. Count on
facing Apaches, Super Cobras, M1A1 tanks, Patriot launchers--even other Hinds!
that most players have never sat in a helo, let alone rode in Russian military
gunships, evaluating handling and physics is loaded with supposition. I have
spent a little time flying pipelines (as a passenger) so I can remark on the
general feel but I acknowledge my judgment is open to debate. That said, Hind
has three flight models, EASY, STABLE, and REALISTIC. Easy mode is pretty much
idiot-proof flying. Go for Stable to begin with and work up to Realistic.
Forward motion bleeds off with consistency, the drop rate feels within
acceptable limits, and the torque effects are always present. Autorotation is present (but hey, the focus is on flying, not crashing)
and the collective
and cyclic can be reversed. The Hind is a heavily armored aircraft and it flies
like one. The Hind aircraft in this game is probably more maneuverable than
the real thing.
The instruments reflect the design
decisions typically made in Russian military hardware--sturdy, bare bones gear
that gets the job done with manly reliability. Analog gauges abound with scarcely
a digital readout or hi-tech gizmo in sight. A threat warning box with orange
lights clustering around a Hind graphic almost looks screwed on as an upgrade.
The tactical map is one of those mechanical tracking devices that was hot
stuff in the '60s. But for all its simplicity, the Hind was one lethal machine
in the hands of a well-trained Russian pilot and weapons officer.
have one word of advice: take advantage of the training missions before
turning up the difficulty levels to a respectable level. Hind missions can be
intense. All missions begin with a briefing and overview of the mission area.
Then, with your machine on the ground, usually at a forward deployed airbase,
you receive the order to commence hostilities. Flight time to the enemy is
frequently less than two minutes.
weapons officer assists with target selection and tracking but you can switch
him off and handle the flying and shooting chores all by your lonesome if
you're feeling like Yuri Badass. It can be a handful. You fly night missions
and will rely on infrared views. During combat, your systems status and warnings
are delivered by a sexy Russian female voice. You will be the judge of
the health of your machine. You may hear a warning that the avionics are out
or the hydraulics have failed, to be followed by a rapid descent, not the kind
you are particularly fond of, either.
Hind gives you an impressive array of ordnance to spew down on the capitalist
pigs: loadouts include AT-6 ATGMs, twin 30-mm cannons, two 57-mm rocket pods,
two 80-mm S-8 rocket pods, and 1400 round turret gun. The enemy you engage
will test your skill and reflexes to the limits. Troops on the ground back up
opposing fast movers to make battle challenging. The Hind's thick armor allows
you to take a pounding.
I've played Hind off and on for several
years and I always like coming back to it. The numerous missions (130)
combined with the wide range of mission types (ground support, dropping off
troops, recon, tank busting) make the sim fresh and fun every time I visit
it. That's got to be considered a sturdy endorsement.
GRAPHICS & AUDIO
At the time of its release, Hind sported the best graphics available in a
helosim this side of Longbow. Unaccelerated 3D polygons get the job done with
good detail even though by today's standards (EECH, Gunship!) they are
showing their age a bit. The color palette is the big hitch--everything is
depicted using 256 colors. Infantry and tanks are rendered with some detail
and explosions and tracers are well animated. The solid colored terrain is
flecked with occasional trees and rolling with ridges and hills but the water
is flat and uninspiring. One key area that is lacking is the damaged vehicles
and buildings--score a hit and they explode, leaving only a crater. The
program looks good but not spectacular.
the other hand, the physical world in Hind is alive and dynamically charged
with roads, hills, troops, truck convoys, and aircraft. In one mission as I
lifted off at the airbase I could see planes circling to land and a refueling
truck preparing to meet them. There's a lot to be said for a sim that hides
soldiers behind trees to await your approach.
sound is quite good. I love the macho Russian male voiceovers in the mission
briefings--they all start off with "Comrade!". The mechanical sounds
including the rotors and engine, missile launches, turret gun, and weapons
done nicely. The menu music is good journeyman stuff and sets the right mood.
Interactive Magic did themselves proud.
FLIGHT LEADER CLEARED FOR TAKEOFFSpecs: DOS or Win 95/98,
486DX2/66 Mhz CPU or faster, SVGA video card, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive, 8 MB
RAM, supports joystick
Helosims were a hot commodity for a while between '95-'99 but the future
looks less generous. Hind may be a couple years old but it has a lot to offer
the helosim player and I recommend it as a competent simulation of Russia's brawny
attack gunship. Hind provides good variety and gameplay for a terrific value.
HeloSim.Com Rating -
HeloSim's Rating - 6 out of 10