• Tag Archives MicroProse
  • Special Forces (Atari ST)

    Special Forces (Atari ST)


    While I’m pretty familiar with MicroProse’s Airborne Ranger, I was less familiar with its sequel, Special Forces. Part of this is probably because in 1992 when Special Forces came out, I was still using my Commodore 64. Game releases for the C64 were very few and far between by that time and Special Forces was not one of them. It was released for the Atari ST, DOS and Amiga.

    Special Forces shares several similarities with its predecessor. The box artwork is similar, the overhead point of view in the game is also similar. However, there are some differences. While Airborne Ranger had a strategic element, it was really more of an action game. Special Forces on the other hand is much more of a strategy game. In Special Forces, you command a team of four squad members chosen from a squad of eight, each with different abilities. Missions can then be chosen from different regions with day and night variations. There are many possible objectives including rescuing hostages, search and destroy, and recon among others. You do not control the squad members directly but instead issue orders to them.

    Overall, Airborne Ranger was an excellent game and Special Forces lived up to its predecessor for the most part. They are slightly different types of games but share enough similarities that if you like one, you will probably like the other. These were arguably the first games that you could say fell under the tactical shooter category and were fairly unique for their time.

    If you want to give Special Forces a try, you will have to break out your Amiga, Atari ST or old DOS box or resort to emulation. As far as I know this game has never been re-released and there have been no further direct sequels. It’s worth a try though…MicroProse made some pretty great games and this one does not disappoint.

    All images above pertain to the Atari ST version of the game.

  • Solo Flight (MicroProse, 1983)

    Atari, C64, Apple II, IBM PC / 1983 / MicroProse

    This early example of a flight simulator tasked players will flying solo (hence the name) over the United States, delivering bags of mail. The game covered many of the states, and even included altitude data for mountains and taller hills. However, due to the technology limitations at the time, the in-game landscape always appeared flat. Flight models were reasonably realistic for the time, with fairly authentic recreations of cockpit instruments to watch and maintain as players flew. The game was created by notable developer Sid Meier and was one of the earliest titles published by MicroProse, a studio co-founded by Meier.


    Solo Flight was one of the earliest games by Sid Meier and MicroProse and one of the earliest flight simulators. The goal was simply to fly around the country delivering bags of mail. It was released initially for the Atari 8-bit in 1983 and then ported to the Commodore 64 and Apple II. A little later it was also ported to DOS based computers.

    For the time, it was a fairly realistic flight simulator with accurate instrumentation and even accurate elevation data though everything appeared flat regardless of the elevation. Despite the relative quality for the time, old flight simulators are a type of game that don’t really hold up well over time. Frame rates tend to be slow and the graphics limited and sparse. Still, it’s decent quality for 8-bit or early DOS computers and offers something a little different than Flight Simulator, Jet and other early flight simulators.

    Commodore 64 version