..Easily one of the most exciting flight sims on 8-bit systems, Project Stealth Fighter was the 1987 progenitor of f-19 Stealth Fighter and Night Hawk: F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0, both of which were released on 16-bit systems.
Released on Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, the game boasted missions to Libya, the Persian Gulf, the North Cape, and Central Europe, and is heavily grounded in the geopolitical turbulence of the time: rogue Arab states and an apparently resurgent Eastern Bloc (history proved otherwise on the latter, of course).
Co-founded by Bill Stealey and Sid Meier in 1982, MicroProse was revived in 2019 by David Lagettie with help from Stealey. It’s Twitter presence is particularly worth following for fans of the publisher, and recently initiated a discussion about its retro stealth flight sim
When you purchased Project Stealth Fighter from #microprose back in 1987, you didn’t just get a cracking combat flight sim and a manual packed with technical detail. Said book also included a glossary of pilot terms with some funny inclusions. Here are two. #flashbackwednesday pic.twitter.com/Kh7s0HHQKC
— MicroProse (@micro_prose) September 23, 2020
Recollections of the game include detailed manuals, beautiful package art, and playing the game at night. As a stunning video game that holds great memories for many, Project Stealth Fighter is certainly worth revisiting.
While the wireframe graphics might not stand up to modern scrutiny, the gameplay certainly does. There’s also the added element of the keyboard overlay. This was a physical card sheet that sits around the computer’s keyboard to assist with gameplay. With around 40 keyboard controls to remember this is a welcome addition to the experience, aiding with the immersion. It lists everything from pitch and yaw to stealth setting, targeting, missile selection, and more.
A browse through the comments to MicroProse’s conversation starter will highlight some crazy guy who played night missions after dark. That was me. Project Stealth Fighter was the first game I bought to run on the 1571 disk drive in 1989. As such, my first pocket money diskette purchase is probably my favourite.
Despite the visual limitations of the C64 and ZX Spectrum, Project Stealth Fighter remains an impressive game. You can find Project Stealth Fighter on eBay, while later versions of the game are available to buy digitally on GOG.com.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.