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HIND: The Russian Combat Helicopter Simulation

HIND: The Russian Combat Helicopter Simulation
4
Platforms: PC, Mac
Publisher: Digital Integrations Ltd. / Interactive Magic
Developer: Digital Integrations Ltd.
Genres: Simulator / Flight Simulator
Release Date: 1996
Game Modes: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

HIND isn’t much for looks, but it’s one of the best Russian helo sims out there.

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The flight model is available in both realistic and semi-arcade modes – both engaging and detailed.

Some people will start their approach to Hind, a sequel to 1995’s Apache, with a whole bunch of pigeon-holes and prejudices to deal with. It’s not texture-mapped. The Hind isn’t as high-tech as the AH-64. The multiplayer might be as hosed as in the previous game. But don’t let the low tech graphics fool you. For its time, Hind was simply the best chopper simulation out there that didn’t have ‘Jane’s’ labeled on the box. If you want to get some taste of what flying a Russian chopper is really like, set this thing up to max realism, get into the cockpit with a joystick, and ideally a throttle (collective) and pedals, and be prepared to handle a massively different kind of flying.

The main advantage in modeling the Hind is that it is somewhat less sophisticated in control technology than the AH-64. This is an advantage because, since there’s little in the way of fly-by-wire or technological compensation for the kinds of issues most chopper pilots (excluding Apache guys) have to handle, there’s also no excuse left for not illustrating the major problem of torque generated by most helicopters’ main rotors. Taking off in a Hind is an experience not to be missed, once you’ve mastered the controls. You’ll also get a little taste of what helicopter pilots describe as a process of trying to stay balanced atop a greasy, rolling ball when in a hover.

And, finally, once you enter combat, you’ll find you need very different attack and egress techniques from those typical for the AH-64. While the latter helicopter seems to have one of its main advantages in bob-up attack, the Hind is more of a slash-and-run kind of bird. Mainly, after playing other chopper simulations, you’ll pity the poor guys who have to stay on top of this kind of equipment in the heat of battle; it requires skill, precision timing, constant monitoring of performance, and practice, practice, practice.

Beyond the quality of the flight modeling are a number of other significant features. Take the WSO (Weapons Systems Officer). You can turn him on and off; when he’s on, he does a damn fine job of apprising you of your current combat situation, and of selecting and prioritizing targets. The virtual cockpit technique used for this design is also quite effective. The Hind’s cockpit is wide, and you can literally scroll around the interior with your hat (if you have a joystick with a hat button). When the WSO’s on, of course, and you’ve located yourself up front in his hot-seat, you’ll see the visual targeting system follow and track the target independently of cockpit position. The system will break lock at what feels intuitively like the right moment, either when a more important target appears up ahead or when the locked target has passed a weapon’s range of capability. This seems much more realistic – and more effective – than most of the target padlock techniques presented on other PC helicopter sims.

Fighting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

The bundle of missions available in Hind (ten available in each of the three theaters, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Korea, and the rest present in the campaigns available across those same theaters) are extremely wide-ranging, and fit the mission profile of the Mi-24 extremely well. You’ll engage in reconnaissance, mine-laying, search and rescue and infantry target-practice as well as the more usual sorts of missions present in most sims. Each mission continues to feel different. The voiced briefing, battle chatter, as well as the other aircraft present pursuing independent missions, make the experience quite vivid. All in all, the devs have set the mark for the genre.


System Requirements: 486 Compatible CPU, 8 MB RAM, VGA Card, Windows 95

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