HIND     reviewed by Neal "Pappy" Stevens

Developer: Interactive MagicHind!

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. 

The 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!


Air base attack!Given 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. 


Cockpit viewI 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. 

A computer-controlled 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.

hind25.jpg (45290 bytes)The 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. 


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. 

hind3.jpg (11040 bytes)One 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. 

The 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 impacts are done nicely. The menu music is good journeyman stuff and sets the right mood. Interactive Magic did themselves proud. 

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.

Specs: 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

  HeloSim.Com Rating - HeloSim's Rating - 6 out of 10

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