Categories: flight simulators
Back in 1983 the world was simpler, the games were simpler, the graphics were simpler - you know what they say "todayís nostalgia isnít what used to be in our days". But 1983 arcade shooter Blue Max was a game that contradicted those theories. While other shooters from that era were rather simple, Blue Max simple only on the surface. During World War I you are put in charge of warplane (I would call it fighter, but it really isnít that simple). Your character is called Max Chatsworth, known as Blue Max (same as German medal). The target is to reach the enemy headquarters set deep into enemy area. You begin at the airfield, quick push of the joystick (yes, they were still in use in those days) and plane begins to speed up down the runway. And here is where the tiny details take over.
Of course you would expect to just take off and thatís it, but in Blue Max you had to reach the minimum speed to take off and look out for the trees that could have been growing just few steps away from the end of the runway. Whey you are in the air the rest is simple. At least so it seems - you fly along a river with enemy buildings standing around, enemy tanks spread among them, flak guns that shoot straight at you... you know, the usual. But then you discover the ships are armed with anti-aircraft guns as well, there are enemy airplanes flying nearby, there are bridges that are vital for enemy, not to mention few other small details.
So far so good, but they you discover that not only you fly around and try to shot down enemy planes, you also carry 30 bombs that can be dropped on important ground targets or the ships, but also if you fly real low (or should I say dangerously low) you can shoot the ground targets with your guns. It is dangerous since you are more likely to be shot down by the flak guns at such low altitude. They you discover the enemy convoys crossing the bridges, which are particularly important targets, you discover that enemy planes not only can crash into you, but also shot you down. And at the end of the day you discover... that you are out of fuel.
Yes, from time to time you will be informed about nearby airfield, where you can land and resupply (fuel and bombs), but also repair your guns that could be jammed. Of course you donít have to land on every airfield you stumble upon, if you are willing to take a risk and wait until you will reach the next one. Have I mentioned that flak fire can also damage your fuel tank and it will begin to leak? No? Oh, well, youíll learn about it the hard way. And here is another tiny detail - not only you can crash while landing, but also while you are being refueled enemy planes will show up and bomb the airfield, so you can either leave without full load or risk being his by a bomb. But there is another charming detail to consider - bombs donít necessarily have to hit directly you, they can leave a lovely shell-pit on the runway and you wonít be able to take-off again.
The whole map that you fly above is randomly generated, so each time the game is completely different from previous one (using same objects and patterns, obviously), after the river the scenery changes to inland area, where there are much more tanks and trucks, also there are enemy airfields on which you can destroy enemy planes that are still on the ground. After the inland area you fly above a city, where there are more buildings (that are high enough that you can crash into them) and bunkers (which are the ultimate targets).
Blue Max was one of the best games of 1983 and even after all these years it is one of the most simple, yet and at the same time most complex shooters.
Blue Max gameplay
Blue Max medal