Hind Mi 21
Review by Al Giovetti, 09/14/96
Price: $50
Genre: combat flight simulator (Hind helicopter)
Release: September, 1996
Developer: Digital Integration
Publisher: Interactive Magic
Phone: 888-946-2442, 919-461-0722
Website: http://www.imagicgames.com
Requirements: 486DX, 33 MHz, SVGA graphics, DOS 5.0, 2X CD ROM, 8 MB RAM, 30 MB free hard disk space.

History: Major (really a Lt. Col.) "Wild Bill" Stealey is really a combat pilot. Wild Bill has really flown the A-37, Dragon Fly while serving in the Air Guard. Bill owns his own T-28 Radial Engine Trainer, which he took me up in over a year ago. We filmed the segment for The Computer Show television show during 1995.

Interactive Magic, and more specifically Digital Integration, has been very busy this past twelve months, bringing out the excellent Apache (AH-64D) simulator in late 1995. In many ways, the current flight combat simulator is identical to the Apache, except for how the helicopter flies and some really neat new inventions and enhancements. Hind looks like a good follow up to Apache, and many will be asking, when will Interactive Magic add the Hind enhancements to their Apache product?

Another helicopter combat flight simulator that was released this year is Jane’s AH-64D Longbow from Origin-Electronic Arts. And while Jane’s has the Hind beat on sheer number of missions, graphic details, and perhaps flight model, the Hind excels in variety of missions, and the complexity of the battlefield, right down to the many squads of infantry which move about the battlefield and can even bring down a careless Hind pilot with ground fire.

Craft you fly: Hind Mi-24 only. The Hind avionics are accurately portrayed through the Apache flight engine so that the major differences are seen. For one the Hind is about as maneuverable as a bus without power steering in rush-hour traffic, and the game accurately portrays this. Obviously, the Hind version of the Apache game flight engine will not permit you to make rolls or loops like the Apache will. The targeting electronics and computerized systems in the Apache are absent in the Hind, but as Top Gun trains us, its not the plane its the pilot that wins battles.

Wing person commands: The wing person commands are now implemented - they were not in Apache. You can now give a few rudimentary commands to your wing, and get assistance and interaction in the single player mode.

Difficulty and flight matrix: In addition to the arcade and realistic modes of flight, Hind now has an intermediate level of flight model difficulty called stable. Stable does not as you might suspect keep you rock hard at the same altitude which is what arcade does, sable is a combination of the immensely hard (at least in the Hind without all the nice features of the Apache - Ed.) realistic mode and the arcade mode. Stable is a nice compromise between the two, which was added due to the extremes of the other two selections.

Missions and campaigns: Play instant action, single-mission, training, or campaign mode. In campaign mode the success and failures of the cyber pilot are recorded into his file.

Missions include strike and defense, but also deployment and pick up of troops, like the original Gunship and later Gunship 2000 missions that Wild Bill was involved with at Microprose.

A mission planner will allow the change of waypoints and a preview of mission terrain.


Flight model: the main rotor speed, blade deflection, transitional lift, tail rotor speed yaw control, pitch forward or back, and other avionics are admirably modeled. Speed allows the small wings to provide increased lift and yaw stability. The helicopter is not as nimble as the Apache and side slipping is virtually impossible.

Artificial intelligence: Based upon Russian activity the Hind behaves accurately.

Interface: The interface retains the same menu structure, mouse interface, game options, game flight engine and other features from the original Digital Integration Apache game.

Graphics: Highly detailed low level visual effects, which unfortunately do not rival Jane’s AH-64D Apache simulator, but then graphics do not a game make. Some really nice details in the graphics are the sheer number of other units portrayed on the battlefield. There are gasoline tank trucks refueling jets, scads of infantry units marching to who knows where, Su-25 Frogfoots, tanks, AAA, and others.

Animation: Smooth animation without jerkiness or frame rate errors is seen, this is one smooth engine.

Multi-player: Multi-player options include head-to-head with the Apache and cooperative mode with other Hind owners through phone and null modem, or network. Currently there is no internet support, but wouldn’t it be great to have groups of up to eight human directed Hinds against up to eight human directed Apache.

Reviewing the Reviewer: If an article appears in a magazine of on an internet site before the game hits the streets it indicates that a beta copy of the game was reviewed. There is nothing wrong with reviewing a beta as long as the reader knows a beta was reviewed. The text of the article or the heading should indicate that a beta was used for the article.

Usually, but not always, a review of an alpha copy is called a preview. Many magazines and internet sites call the article a review only if a shrink wrapped copy or off-the-shelf copy was looked at. Others will call a final or near final beta copy, which in some cases will not even resemble the finished product, a review. When you review betas, you may get embarrassed when the final copy is delayed or as has happened in some cases, the final copy is never released.

It often takes three months for the article to get to print in a magazine after the reviewer has written the review. During that three months, the review remains and is published without any changes that might be warranted by differences between the reviewed beta and the final shrink wrapped copy that the public buys off the shelf. The internet gives us a chance to change our reviews for these beta to finished copy changes on a daily basis. It is often more work, but it is worth it.

Bernie Dy was impressed with the addition of ground troops in the game, and how the missions used the defense and deployment of troops as a part of their mission structure.

Bernard Dy, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 72-73, 9/10, (90%).
Al Giovetti, Apache, Computer Player, volume 2, number 5, October, 1995, pg. 52-53, 8/10 (80%).