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Famous for its rugged design, unique looks, and 30-millimeter cannon, the A-10 is one serious piece of aerial machinery. A-10 Cuba lets players slip into the titanium cockpit of this close air-support plane and dish out some serious hurt in a fictional campaign against Cuba.
It is unfortunate that A-10 Cuba's graphics are so dated, because the physics and flight models are some of the most convincing we've ever tested. Few other flight simulations do such a great job of conveying the feeling of commanding an aircraft, whether it is the landing gear struts compressing when we braking on the runway or the plane's crazy behavior when damaged. The attention to detail in the cockpit also deserves praise, as nearly every button, knob, display, and handle is rendered as an interactive object. It takes a lot of practice to get familiar with its complexities, but the reward is in knowing you are handling one of the most realistic re-creations of a military aircraft ever crafted.
Ultimately, the worst thing about A-10 Cuba is the lack of missions. The designers gave us this great aircraft to fly and then didn't give us enough to do with it. The "campaign" is just a series of linked missions without much of an overarching story line to hold them together. The skies are alive with other aircraft, but they never talk to one another. Much like the aircraft it simulates, A-10 Cuba is all business, and players who want a flight simulator with personality should look elsewhere. --T. Byrl Baker
It's one thing to create an ultra-realistic flight simulation, but it's quite another to design it so that novice to intermediate pilots won't feel intimidated. And while it's great for a sim to be as realistic as possible - it would be slammed by every serious flight sim fanatic in the world if it weren't - that doesn't mean there's no place for options that allow newbies to fine-tune the degree of realism, or for a well-organized manual to help them understand the myriad weapons, gauges, and controls on a modern attack jet. And for it to qualify as a first-rate product, it also needs features such as a mission editor, wingmen you can communicate with, and a campaign mode, to name a few.
A-10 Cuba!, which bills itself as both an "ultra-realistic flight simulation" and "the most realistic flight combat simulator ever," is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Without question, A-10 Cuba! employs a very realistic flight model, and the air-combat action - which ranges from tank-killing sorties and escort missions to a bridge-busting assignment and a strike on an enemy commander's home - is fast, furious, and very satisfying.
The cockpit display is one of the most impressively detailed I've ever seen, and what's more, it is actually interactive: You can toggle switches and turn knobs via the mouse. And while gamers accustomed to texture-mapped extravaganzas might sneer at the polygon-based graphics here, they do make for a stunningly impressive frame rate - even running at 1024x768 - and the planes look pretty good, especially from an external view.
But in several crucial areas, A-10 Cuba! falls short of the competition. Its most glaring deficiency is the lack of a printed manual; the only documents you get with this game are the registration card, a layout of the keyboard commands, an order form for ThrustMaster flight sticks, and an almost worthless jewel-case insert that's woefully thin on useful information. The latter contains a screenshot with captions describing various cockpit flight instruments, but the picture and text are both so small you'd need a magnifying glass to get any real use out of it.
To be fair, A-10 Cuba! does come with online Help, but there's just too much information here to be covered adequately in this format - and if you stay in the Help file too long while the game is running, you'll be kicked out by a demo that you can't disable. This simply doesn't cut it for a flight sim, especially one that boasts how "ultra-realistic" it is. Novice and even intermediate flight-sim fans need a manual they can keep at their side for quick reference, and novices especially would benefit from a "basics of flight" type tutorial - the kind that's found in the manual of many PC air-combat sims.
Other common features are missing, too. There's no specific support for popular four-button flight sticks such as the CH FlightStick Pro or the Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro - or if there is I couldn't find it in the Help file. (Then again, the numerous keyboard commands almost dictate using some type of programmable stick or throttle.) While the 12 combat missions are varied and exciting, and the game's AI routines for enemy forces guarantee that no single mission will pan out the same way twice, that doesn't change the fact that there are only 12 missions - a pretty sparse amount for a flight sim. The situation is made even worse by the lack of a mission editor.
There's no way to communicate with wingmen; no way to change your waypoints; no campaign mode (except to play the 12 combat missions in order); no way to access a mission briefing during a sortie; no "auto-navigate" feature to guide you to a waypoint; no toggle for stalls; no variable difficulty modes; and no option to skip take-off and start in the air (though many targets are so close by you might want to take off just to make the experience last longer).
It's true that A-10 Cuba! carries a very low sticker price - and if you trade in a copy of A-10 Tank Killer, Silent Thunder: A-10 Tank Killer II, ATF, AH64 LongBow, F-22 Lightning, SU-27, or EF2000, Activision will send you a check for $15, which means you could get this game for as little as $14 or $15. Considering the fun to be had dogfighting over a LAN or modem, that really boosts the value rating.
Longtime flight-sim fans will take to the realism of A-10 Cuba! like ducks to water, and forgive it its shortcomings - easy to do with a sim offering such an authentic flight model and intense combat missions. But if you're relatively new to the genre, you might want to try a sim that allows graduated levels of realism and more features, and includes a printed manual.--Stephen Poole
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One of my favorite games of all time. I grew up playing this on my computer and it's great to have it back.. Very fast delivery as well. Very pleased.Published on June 3, 2013 by parker lee
Still a pleasure to fly. Never mind the outdated physics engine compared to this days standards, the flight model is exelent, and this game was pioneering Virtual cockpit and... Read morePublished on August 14, 2008 by BigJoe