Game Review - by James Allen
In modern warfare, if you need to transport troops or make a strike quickly, effectively, and surreptitiously, your choice is a helicopter. To simulate the modern battlefield in all it glory, and to offer the chance to pilot two of the best military helicopters, we have Enemy Engaged's latest incarnation, RAH-66 Comanche versus KA-52 Hokum. Featuring realistic flight in three of the world hottest hot zones, you can experience what it is like to pilot the best gunships under the most extreme conditions, even when Degree anti-perspirant will not help you. Will Comanche vs. Hokum complete their missions and win the war, or get ravaged by enemy SAMs?
Enemy Engaged: Comanche vs. Hokum came with more features that I was expecting. I was speculating that we'd see battles between just the Comanche and the Hokum, but we are presented with so much more. One of the best features of the game is the dynamic missions. In skirmish and campaigns, you can partake in realistic missions against the enemy, including escort, recon, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, and transfer. While you are going about your business, there are other pilots in other real aircraft (like Longbows and Hornets) and ground units completing missions as well, some of which you cannot participate in with a helicopter. It's really a nice feeling that your little strike missions are contributing to the overall success of the battle. And it's not that the game just says there are other units moving about: they are depicted in the map, and can be shown in action with the cinematic camera. Each time you replay the scenarios, they pan out differently: you are given different missions, and the outcomes are not the same. I have to tell you, I was quite impressed at the epic struggles in Comanche vs. Hokum.
For your duty to your country, you are given various medals and awards, along with promotions with the time spent in the cockpit. Of course, beginning pilots wouldn't stand a chance of earning anything besides Purple Hearts if some scalability wasn't implemented in flying the aircraft. Troublesome features such as blade stall, ground effect, vortex ring, and over-torque can be turned off for those beginner pilots who wish not to worry about such things. Also, the avionics and difficulty can be changed, further providing for variety in the game. This makes Comanche vs. Hokum approachable from all levels of experience. As slightly mentioned earlier, there are several kinds of bouts to undertake: small skirmishes, which take place on one section of the landscape, to full blown campaigns, which cover the entire theater, and are really, really large. There are about 5 skirmishes and 1 campaign for each geographic area: Taiwan, Lebanon, and Yemen. You can also embark on multiplayer affairs. As you can see, the features in Comanche vs. Hokum are quite impressive.
The sound is also well done. Most of the effects you will encounter mirror those you would find in real life: the slicing of the blades, the radio communication, warnings, and the (hopeful) explosions of your targets. Nothing is overdone in the game, and the noted absence of music adds an extra level of tense realism. Since this is a simulation, it's nice to see that nothing over the top is found in the sound department, and all that is expected can be found.
The flight model in Comanche vs. Hokum, although I have never personally flown a helicopter, seems pretty realistic. With everything happening in actual time, it's important to make the speeds and all the other factors as genuine as possible, so that the battles progress with the utmost realism. In flight, the cockpits contain all of the systems, dials, and switches that the real counterpart does. Sometimes, you are presented with so much information, it can be boggling, and you'll need to sort through it. To ease the pilot during the flight, Comanche vs. Hokum has been kind enough to include autopilot and time acceleration, so 30 minute missions can only take five. The waypoints set by the mission selector make sense, as they follow low topography, like rivers and valleys, on the way to the target area. The best thing about the flights is that nothing is done to make the game excessively hard, just excessively realistic. I imagine it's pretty difficult for one helicopter to fly into enemy territory and destroy targets, all without getting all shot down and blown up. Everything leaks of realism in Comanche vs. Hokum, and it all adds up to a wonderful gaming experience.
The graphics are pretty good, although there are some occasions where severe clipping occurs, especially when focusing on ground units. The models are, for the most part, fine: you can tell which aircraft is which, although the auxiliary units don't have close to the level of details at the Comanches and Hokums do. A damaged Comanche or Hokum does look fairly lame, as parts don't fly off the craft, and we're left with a wire frame helicopter. During flight, though, I felt as though I was in a realistic replicated war environment. The graphics don't impress, but they do not detract from the gaming experience.
Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche versus KA-52 Hokum has a really long name, and is possibly one of the best military flight simulations on the et. Although the graphics are, at times, less than impressive, the real time battle modeling more than picks up that fumble. The most important aspect of Comanche vs. Hokum is that you are immersed in the war zone, with other missions being carried out during yours. It almost borders on a battle simulation where you can only pilot helicopters. Nevertheless, Comanche vs. Hokum should not be missed by anyone interested in military or flight simulations.