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AIRBORNE RANGER by Richard Karsmakers

It has been Tough. Really Tough and, indeed, "Tough" with a
capital T.
When Cronos Warchild, mercenary annex hired gun, had first read
a leaflet with prerequisites of applicants for the Ranger course,
it was love at first sight. He immediately knew that he would
finally be able to put into practise everything he had done at
the local gym.
"You must be in top physical condition," the leaflet read, "able
to do at least 50 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, and run two miles in
under 15 minutes. You must have passed the Combat Water Survival
Test, which means that you can walk blindfolded off a 3-meter
diving board, and swim 15 metres in full combat gear. You must be
qualified in marksmanship, first aid, camouflage, orienteering,
and construction of observation posts and defensive positions.
You must be confident of your own skills and abilities, and ready
and eager to improve them."
A smile appeared on his lips as he thought back about this
pamphlet. Reality had even been worse, and the four training
phases had been Tough, Tough indeed. But he had been through
worse, though some of his old injuries (especially the ones he
sustained when trying out a breathtaking trapeze act once) were
regularly playing tricks on him.

But now he was ready. He had now joined the exclusive fraternity
of those who wear the unobtrusive patch reading "Ranger".
Unobtrusive indeed. Was this what he had gone through hell for?
Just a small piece of cloth with some characters knitted on it.
Tomorrow, he had to check in at Fort Benning at 0900 hours.
There was some kind of job to do in some godforsaken country in
the Middle East. None of his team had yet received his mission
briefing, but rumours spoke that they were to perform a quick
assault to a country called Inar where they were to abduct or
assassinate the spiritual leader, Mokheiny.
He walked the streets, thinking about what might happen there.
He was kinda enthusiastic and particularly looking forward to
tomorrow's assignment. Finally, he would be able to wield a gun
again, which he hadn't been asked to do since he was set out to
kill that ridiculous detective, Eddie-what-was-his-name.
He crossed a busy street and totally neglected the fact that it
was 5 PM and that everybody was trying to get home from work as
fast as possible; a time when even the entire New York police
preferred to say indoors and try not to miss tomorrow's weather-
forecast.
A car crashed into his left leg: A Black Pontiac Trans-Am. It
must have driven at least 50 mph. For about 3.14159265 nano-
seconds, Cronos thought he was dead. When he opened his eyes, he
discovered that he was standing upright with a black car folded
partly around his shin bone, and he thought he was surrounded by
Angels chanting songs of peace and bliss. But either he wasn't,
or the Angels' reportoire had changed considerably; he only heard
swearing curses. The Angels looked at bit like New York citizens,
too; citizens looking for a thrill and the sight of fresh blood
and/or a heavily mutilated body.
When Warchild realised that a) He was not dead b) People did not
seem to discover any fatal injuries on him c) The driver of the
Trans-Am was swearing like mad and d) The driver of the Trans-Am
was swaying a sturdy jack and looking threateningly in his
direction, he decided that it was time to bring some of his
training in practise.
The Trans-Am driver was an enormously sized feller, with a chest
width that most people would consider to be a proper total body
length. The guy must have weighed at least 270 pounds. Warchild
wasn't particularly small and light either, but this dude made
him look like his grandma's piano teacher.
He decided to wait and see what the gigantic guy was up to. For
this, Cronos didn't have to wait long. The guy lifted the jack
above his head and made movements that would surely end up with
an impact of solid steel on solid human skull bone.
Warchild's reaction was swift and sure. He stepped aside
carefully, which made sure that the piece of solid steel collided
with the Trans-Am's hood.
Devious dude: "Grooowwll!"
Warchild: "Watch yourself; that's bad for your throat!"
Silly stooge: "Grooowwll!!"
Jack: "Wooosshh!"
Warchild, stepping aside once more: "?"
Trans-Am's front windshield: "Rinkeldekinkel!"
Malignant macho: "GROOOWWLL!"
Warchild: "Tsk, tsk..."
Furious fool: "GROOOWWLL!!"
Jack: "ZZzoooppp!"
Warchild, stepping aside even once more: "Sigh..."
Trans-Am's roof: "Crash! (Crucial collapse)"
"It's about time for some defensive transactions," Warchild
muttered to himself. The next second, he beheaded the wild weirdo
with one of his fingernails.
Warchild's fingernail: "Swooosh?"
Mutant madman: "Waddoyouthink you're do...Glop."
Mutant madman's body: "Thump."
Jack (after hanging in the air for a while, not quite aware of
what happened, and least of all of the laws of gravity): "Dang!"
Cronos looked around the people that stood around the scene.
Most of them looked deathly pale now, and some of them could be
seen to have trouble keeping their afternoon coffee'n'sandwiches
inside.
"Step aside please," he said as he left the crowd to continue on
his way, "and can someone perhaps call a mortician? Thank you. I
have a plane to catch."

He left. Mokheiny had better watch his steps the coming week!

*****

Microprose's latest game, "Airborne Ranger", puts you in the
shoes of a genuine ranger, destined to live a life fighting the
fiercest fights, the most bewildering battles and the most
awesome assaults (sounds quite like something Cronos Warchild
would indeed fall in love with, don't you agree?).
After reading the 'Field Manual' supplied with the package, the
potential player already gets a good feel of the atmosphere
around being a ranger - a member of an elite team of cracks that
has always captured the imagination of everyone. The Rangers
really exist, and the booklet also supplies you with a lot of
information about Ranger Training and Ranger History as in real
life.
Reading this, one would even tend to become proud of becoming a
Ranger in the game - I know it sounds strange but it just happens
to be like that. "Airborne Ranger" has a good background story
anyway, and that's part of the game's appeal.

The game is made up of two parts: Your flight behind enemy
territory (a plane flying over a vertically scrolling landscape,
where you need the parachute out of), and the actual combat
scene. The latter is an 8-way scrolling scene (quite smooth!)
where you walk around shooting or throwing hand grenades. The
enemy appears everywhere, and it's quite difficult to make it to
where you're supposed to go in the first place. There are machine
gun nests, fences of barbed wire, trenches, soldiers walking
around, minefields and (at least, so I though) quicksand.
You can walk, crawl (quite safe) and run through enemy
territory. When you sustain an injury, you can use a first aid
kit to amend some of them. It's just a question of getting to
your goal without getting hit too often and without losing your
energy too soon.

"Airborne Ranger" comes supplied on two disks. The graphics are
of good quality, sometimes even nearing pure excellence, and the
music is technically well done but not much of a composition. The
game is well programmed and the menus are well designed. There is
pretty much depth in it as well; different landscapes, twelve
different missions, different enemies....the whole lot.
For those of you who like arcade-strategy games that balance
heavy on the arcade bit, "Airborne Ranger" is a very good
product.

Game rating

Name: Airborne Ranger
Company: Microprose
Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Playability: 7
Hookability: 6.5
Value for money: 7
Overall rating: 7+
Price: £24.95
Hardware: Color monitor and joystick

Thanks go to Mr. Martin Moth of Microprose Simulation Software
Ltd., not only for sending us the review copy but also for giving
some extra information regarding the Telecom takeover. For info,
you can contact him at:

Microprose Software Ltd.
2 Market Place
Tetbury
Gloucestershire GL8 8DA
England
Tel. 0666-54326

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.