Falcon 3.0, PC

Developed by Sphere Inc. and published by Spectrum HoloByte (MicroProse in Europe), Falcon 3.0 is a DOS-only combat flight sim from 1991. It is the third entry in the F-16 Fighting Falcon series of games.

The developers claimed that Falcon 3.0 used flight dynamics from a real military fight simulator and was the most advanced flight sim ever produced for the home market at that time.

For the time it was considered very cutting edge, requiring a high-end 486 PC – with a math co-processor – to run the game in ‘high-fidelity mode’ (ie. at a reasonable frame rate). On anything lower the frame rates would be less than acceptable.

Falcon 3.0 was one of the first flight combat simulators to use a ‘padlock mode‘ viewpoint, which allowed the player’s POV to lock on to a given target or location and follow it around as you flew. The game also offered more detailed landscapes, cockpit views, and aircraft than had ever been seen in a game of this sort before.

Playing it now, Falcon 3.0 still has plenty of thrills and spills, but only for those willing to put some time into it, learn the controls, and how to fly the F-16 well enough to complete missions.

A number of missions packs were released for Falcon 3.0 over the space of two years, which helped maintain the popularity of the game. In 1992 a scenario disk called “Operation Fighting Tiger” was released that portrayed a fictional conflict between Russia and Japan, and which allowed the player to fly the Japanese variant of the F-16, the “FSX”. In 1993 two more expansions were release for the game: “MiG-29: Deadly Adversary of Falcon 3.0” and “Hornet: Naval Strike Fighter“. Also in 1993 a video tutorial that taught aerial dogfighting basics, called “Art of the Kill“, was released, using Falcon 3.0‘s built-in recorder to recreate engagements and explain tactics. This video was included with a re-release of Falcon 3.0, called Falcon Gold, in 1994.

Falcon 3.0 sold extremely well for a flight simulator and by 1998 had racked-up over 700,000 physical sales. It was also one of the first combat fight sims to offer head-to-head network play over a null modem serial port connection.

Although the game may look primitive by today’s standards Falcon 3.0 was definitely an important milestone in the evolution of the combat flight simulator.

More: Falcon 3.0 on Wikipedia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.