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Harrier Jump Jet a flight simulation developed by MicroProse and released in 1992. It portrays the R.A.F. GR7 and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers. The game scenarios were (then) set in the future, but have already passed by today. These are Hong Kong 1996, the Falklands in 1997 and Nord Kapp Scandinavia 1998.
Harrier Jump Jet has decent and functional graphics. The cockpit layout is good, with a standard HUD (Heads-Up Display) and two display screens that display radar, weapon stations, map and target view. There are some outside views available, a target view, side and back views and even a missile “follow” view. Nothing more of significance that other flight simulators wouldn’t offer at the time. One view that’s not included is a fly by view. Playing the game I do feel like MicroProse could have done more developing in regards to the in-game options and detail.
The HUD is informative and you will get most of the needed information from it. The HUD view can be changed colour wise to suite your visual taste. The downside of the HUD is that it gives no indication as to where a foe’s aircraft is located if it passed you. It is a little frustrating in the beginning but you will soon find better ways of targeting your opponent.
There are settings to change realism. A.I. of the Ground and Air targets can be set to Elite, but be warned, it is difficult to progress through the game with this setting. Weapon realism is a nice feature. If set to easy, there is a 90% chance that you will destroy a target even if you just shoot “very close” to it. The landing settings can also be set from easy to realistic.
Sound wise there is nothing much to be thrilled about. The start-up music is great and it gives you great expectation. The credit music is good as well whereas the game selection screen has rather annoying and repetitive music. As for the game itself, there is no music! I was disappointed in this, as this I believe is what sets that certain in-game mood.
Overall, Harrier Jump Jet is as realistic as they came a few years back. A lot of thought has gone into AV8B and playability is good, it will keep you busy for quite a while before you’ll get that feel of it being just another flight simulator. In my case it’s already part of my collection and I’m sure hardcore armchair pilots are already downloading it.
Don’t expect an intro movie, there is none.
When the game is started don’t let the game run through the MicroProse title screen. Press your mouse button as soon as the “MicroProse” title shows to skip everything up to the menu. If not, the game freezes and you would need to restart the game.