Comanche 4 Review

Comanche 4 gives players the opportunity to get behind the controls of an RAH-66 Comanche attack chopper, even before the Army's helicopter pilots do.  The Comanche is the most advanced attack chopper in the world and is not due to become a regular part of the Army's arsenal until 2006.  Hardcore sim fans should take note that even though the game will allow them to fly an RAH-66, Comanche 4 is more of an action game.  A forgiving flight model and a plethora of targets makes Comanche 4 more of a "shooter in the sky" than a highly accurate military simulation.

Weapon controls have been simplified to a few keys for weapon selection and target acquisition.  In fact, players will be able to control the Comanche quite well using the keyboard alone, although support for advanced joysticks is also provided.  High, medium, and low altitude hot keys along with the standard directional key layout familiar to action gamers help to keep control simple and the player's concentration on the action.  Even casual gamers will be able to get into the air quickly as the game makes the Comanche easy to handle, with crashes rare and requiring a bit of an effort on the player's part to actually run into something.

Ease of control does not necessarily translate into ease of play, though.  Many of the missions in Comanche 4 are quite challenging and the player will often find that the enemy has a decided advantage in numbers.  Players will actually have to employ attack helicopter tactics - flying low and staying hidden - if they want to have much of a chance of making it through the game's campaigns.  Players who try to fly into the fray with weapons blazing will soon find themselves a SAM pincushion.  The difficulty in the game is adjustable, but even on the lowest setting, the enemy shows a propensity for deadly accuracy.  

Fortunately for the player, targeting in the game is pretty easy.  The Comanche's radar display shows the location of enemy targets, differentiating between air, ground, and stationary targets, as well as the cone of fire of the Comanche's weapons.  With the click of a key, the player can lock and cycle through the available targets, and as long as the target is held within the cone of fire, most weapon fire will find its mark.  No need to keep the crosshairs trained on the target, just "fire and forget".