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Serious: SAM Simulator

If you've ever flown a simulated jet in a simulated combat zone there's a very good chance you've been killed by a simulated SA-2 Guideline SAM missile. Some young pasty-faced AI routine sitting in a radar caravan on the edge of an airfield, has spotted your plane on his scope, locked you up, set appropriate fuses, and - pulse racing - pushed the launch button. What would it feel like to be that young pasty-faced AI routine? A free sim from Hungary provides some fascinating clues.

Spotted by NaiseFail, an eagle-eyed SimHQ forumite, SAM Simulator is not for the faint of heart. After a couple of hours of tutorial watching, note-taking, and switch-flicking I can just about down a dawdling airliner in training conditions. The swift, wary F-4s in the War Of Attrition scenarios have nothing to fear.


Black Shark, Falcon 4.0 and Dangerous Waters fans will feel right at home amongst the bristling banks of knobs, dials, and lights. Others should install simply for the joy of pressing the power button (highlighted in blue in the second pic). Once prodded into life the SA-2's antique targeting apparatus emits an electroacoustic murmur the Radiophonic Workshop in their heyday would have been proud of.


Unexpectedly, considering its origin and theme, there's excellent English language documentation and a multiplayer mode. Development appears ongoing with the last update a month ago and plans afoot for the inclusion of a third missile system (the SA-2's younger brother, the SA-3, is playable in the current build). Vietnam War scenarios are also on the cards. If SAM Sim wasn't already the epitome of a mainstream crowd-pleaser, the chance to protect Hanoi from waves of evil B-52s, will surely make it so.

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Tim Stone