In the days of yore there was one flight simulator than most stood out among the crowd. Digital Integration's Tornado. It wasn't a turn and burn flight sim in the vein of Falcon 3.0, but it had the read stuff in it to make it one of the best low-level action flight sims for a long time. It had an amazing mission planner, multiple modes of autopilot, accurate flight mechanics, two cockpits, murderous enemy AAA and SAM batteries, dynamic campaign, laser-guided-bomb runs, a 332 paged manual and a dazzling array of keyboard commands. Its weakest point was its flat-shaded polygon graphics, which was already outdated at the game's release in 1993, was also one of the game's strengths - it provided fast low level action even on a lowly 286 or 386. It was and remains a classic. A product of the ingenious programmers and designers, that was Digital Integration, UK. For a long time, before DCS came out, it was the only flight sim that allowed you to craft a synchronized multi-plane coordinated airplane strike against an enemy target. The AI planes would faithfully reach the target at the appointed time and one of the best feelings was seeing your bombs hit the target in at the exact same time as the bombs of your wingman, hitting an adjacent target, coming in from a different direction and height. In 2017, you have awesome games like X-Trident's Tornado for X-Plane. Just Flight's Tornado is another worthy mention. So many others for FSX, P3D and even Falcon BMS. All graphically jaw-dropping with realistic and immersive cockpit instrumentation and external environments. Still, you would be hard-pressed to find any mordern Tornado flight sim that has the complete package of AI enemy that shoot back, damage modeling, target destruction, dynamic campaign, mission planner, detailed environment, thick paper manual, avionics and weapons management. Tornado had it all in 1993-1994. That's why I consider it one of the greatest Underdogs of all time.
Me? I still play the game because it gives me a complete celebral workout. I consider a flight mission to be akin to a series of actions, all done to the exact time and accurate sequence. In fact in the series of over 100 decisions and actions, any one of them done wrong could prove your undoing. So a successful mission is a mission done to perfection plus a dose of luck. 30 to 60 minutes of strategic mission planning, 20 minutes of flight boredom, followed by 10 seconds of sheer terror as you unleash your munitions on the enemy in the midst of AAA, SAMs and fighter planes breathing down your neck. Master alarms are flashing indicating loss of key controls. What do you do next? How do you keep your cool? It's the perfect cerebral package for me. If you want a means of having fun whilst stemming the tide of Alzheimer's and forgetfulness due to old age, this is one.
My humble, dingy fansite is at http://www.moodurian.com/tornado
. I also created a more modern-looking overview site at www.moodurian.com
. Each has a link to the other so you need not choos. Please do drop by and have a peek at my Tornado mania. I am just happy to keep a classic game alive, and if it brings you joy or many happy memories, then I would have done my duty.
Frankie "TornadoMan" Kam.