Publisher (North America): Global Star Software;
Publisher (elsewhere): TBA
CHECK; RELEASE ROTOR BRAKE: CHECK
As a rule helosims are fashioned
after military vehicles. And why not? After all, combat helos are high tech,
ultra-modern flying wonders. Armed with rockets, guns, and electronic gear,
these are the ultimate machines. However, helicopters serve more tasks that
destruction and aggression. The majority of the world's choppers are used for
commerce, logistics, transportation, and emergency duties. The newest in a
series of helosims from
InterActive Vision/Global Star Software, Search and Rescue 3 charges you
with responding to emergency calls that come straight from the pages of the
SAR3 is strong in one area unique to
simulations--procedures. All missions are graded for compliance to proper
procedure and this is the glue that binds the gameplay. The adversaries are
not bunkers, SAMs, and armor but rather high winds, raging seas, and
expediency. While that may not sound as glamorous as tackling the Iraqi
Republican Guard, once you initiate the first mission you will be drawn into a
highly satisfying world of risk and reward.
vehicles are profiled: the Sirkorsky SH-3 Sea King, BK-117, and the Dolphin
HH-65A. Each is modeled with sufficient fidelity and the external views are
good. Graphics are just a notch below big budget flight sims. Landscapes, ocean textures,
and buildings look good and the world is littered with forests, cities, parking
lots, cars, and
roads. One thing I enjoyed in particular was the immersion into a simulated
world I could survey without fear of hostile fire. The helos look great and are
packed with details--hoist lines, divers, spotlights, and landing gear augment
the sense of realism. There are a lot of little details that show how much
thought went into this game. One example: when you switch on the spotlight, it
doesn't just pop on, it warms up steadily with a glow at first, brightening
into a cone of light.
SWIMMER SPOTTED, PREPARE LITTERThe
controls are detailed enough to satisfy many of the enthusiasts while simple
enough to encourage casual gamers. The 62 page manual does a great job of
explaining how things work; it is packed with well-written tips and
instructions. As with all new helosims I try them out with minimal instruction
(but then again, who doesn't?). Referring to the keyboard sheet I was able to
fly right away. If you want to tackle the flying with full realism, SAR will
accommodate you. Ground effects and autorotation are present and the system
includes AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) which is what real pilots rely
on to manage flying in demanding situations.
includes lots of gameplay options, always plus. There are several options that
allow for tailoring helicopter physics and controls. You can fly from the
cockpit of from the chase view. It pays to invest a little time familiarizing
yourself with the procedures because you are graded on your proper utilization
of them in rescue missions. And there are lots of procedures to choose from:
swimmer rescue, stretcher and litter deployment, hoisting, and radio inspection
are among many. Funny thing is, I found myself thoroughly enjoying performing
rescue ops "by the book". SAR3 makes a great Coast Guard recruitment tool.
Gameplay comes as single missions and a
campaign-- there are more than a hundred to choose from. The action takes
place in amusement parks, nuclear power plants, out to sea, and in the
mountains. Some missions can be pretty demanding. A time jump feature allows
you to speed things up between landmarks. You may call on a full-time help
feature to guide through the missions--this comes in handy when confronting
situations that demand precise accordance with rescue procedures.
The game even includes a random mission generator for the fun of the unknown.
Searching in the stormy, pitch black night
Located at last!
Get the thermos of hot coffee ready
During the missions you can opt for music.
Instead of an adrenaline pumping rock score, SAR3 provides soothing mood
music. Very original!
mistake the lack of combat with less challenge. In one mission I was tasked to
search and rescue a film crew who were lost in the forests. The area was
hilly, festooned with pine trees, it was pitch black (except for the nearby
lighting), and a 30 knot wind, driving rain kept blowing me off course! I used
the spotlight (which can be directed by the player) to illuminate the woods
until I found the rascals. Brother, that's as good as it gets.
Search and Rescue 3 builds on what has become a
fun and reliable franchise. It has balanced gameplay that offers a refreshing
change of pace from Hellfire-laden combat missions. The more you play it, the
more you learn, and the more you get out of it. I found SAR3 to be one heck of
a sleeper--it had plenty of the one ingredient any simulation or game needs to
hold my interest--challenging fun!
Specs: Win 95/98, Pentium 166 Mhz CPU or faster,
3D video card, 4X or faster CD-ROM drive, 32 MB RAM, 315 MB Hard Drive space,
Recommended: Win 95/98, Pentium 500 Mhz CPU or faster,
3D video card with 32MB RAM, 4X or faster CD-ROM drive, 128 MB
RAM, 315 MB Hard Drive space, supports joystick, pedals, throttle stick.
|HeloSim's Rating - 7 out of 10