Reviewed by: Greg Carson, send e-mail

Published by: Activision & Mango Grits, go to the web site
Site 2: go to the web site
Requires: Pentium 133, Windows 95, 98 or NT4, 32MB RAM, quad speed CD-ROM drive, a supported 3D accelerator (with either Riva tnt, Rendition V2200, Matrox G200, or Permedia 2 chipsets - Voodoo Graphics 3Dfx card and 2D card, or Voodoo Rush 3DFX 2D/3D card fit the bill), 98MB of uncompressed hard drive space, 33.6 modem
MSRP: US$24.99

First of all, I'm not much of an arcade-style flight sim fan. I've never really liked simulation games. The Barrage storyline is straightforward and moderately appealing however. Basically, the story behind the game is that a fighter jet of the future has been created. It's meant for all-out war. You (the player) being in the military, have been given one of the jets to use on missions. The mission levels vary: from destroying submarines (you can submerge your jet to fight or avoid enemy fire) and flying through power buoys to deactivate them while under attack, to flying underground. Barrage was created by Mango Grits and is published by Activision.

I tested Barrage on a Pentium II/266 MHz machine with 64MB RAM and a 4MB Matrox Millennium graphics card. Installation was flawless. There are plenty of options available for configuring the game controls. You can also set the game to be less stressful on your computer so that it runs better. Barrage was not tested in multiplayer mode.

In a high-speed hover fighter aircraft you can fly freely anywhere in outdoor, underground, and underwater 3D environments. Blast away at the military targets, watch out for their return fire, race to locate the portal, and activate the gateway into the next world before the clock runs down and your fuel runs out.

Barrage can be beautiful with a fast processor, lots of RAM, and a good 3D accelerator. If you don't have one of those spectacular machines the game may not look the greatest, but it's still not bad and the game play is still fast. The explosions are still fantastic and the array of weapons just as tantalizing.

The game controls were kind of confusing. I was using my joystick, but I found that after using and configuring all the joystick buttons, I had to go to the keyboard for basic maneuvering controls. Using the keyboard alone is a better idea because all the controls reside in one place.

I said at the beginning that I don't really like sims. Well, this one is different. Although it did get a bit repetitive after a while (shoot, kill destroy, shoot, kill destroy, etc.), the excellent graphics and different game levels (underwater, top-side canyons, etc.), kept me going.

Barrage provides different cockpit views, and you can experiment with them to determine which one suits you best. Your viewpoint is important in Barrage, because your enemies can be anything from a turret-mounted plasma gun, to a helicopter hovering above you. Even on the 'Easy' game play setting, Barrage finds a few ways to challenge you. The views are important, especially when battling in Grand Canyon or Downtown Chicago.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I rate Barrage a 3.5. People who aren't as prejudiced as I am against flight sims might even give Barrage a 4.

Cons: Needs a fast PII system with 3D accelerator. The weapons selection is tantalizing, but there should still be more weapons. Sound and music are OK but not great - the 'recorded' quality is reasonable but the music itself is not that inspiring.

Pros: Great graphics. Fun and mostly exciting game play. Lots of game levels and the action is great. Recommended.

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