Falcon BMS F-16 Combat Flight Simulator Review
An Introduction to Falcon 4
Falcon 4, an F-16 combat flight sim, was released way back in 1998 to an eager, dare I say ravenous flight sim community. It included 30 or so training missions (definitely required), a 700 ish page inch thick instruction manual (no, really), a full dynamic campaign where the war raged even if you sat and did nothing, and some of the most detailed and realistic graphics of the time.
If you had a ninja PC, this was the game to show it off!
The problem was it was full of bugs, not many people had a ninja PC, and it was complicated to fly. For my friends and I who had grown up flying Falcon 1 - 3, number 4 was a disappointment.
Fast forward to 2005 and Falcon 4 was re-released as Falcon 4 Allied Force. With major upgrades in graphics, A.I. (artificial intelligence) and multi-player. It was a step forwards, but with so many other games vying for my attention, I didn't play it much.
Fast forward again to, well the day before yesterday in fact, and I stumbled upon two modern day successors to Falcon 4. FreeFalcon 6, and the subject of this article, Falcon BMS.
My oh my, where to begin? To call BMS an update to Falcon 4 is an insult! The original flight sim has been updated in every way imaginable. As you will see in the screenshots carefully littered about in this article, BMS does eye candy, and does it really well. On the very first take off, I was impressed by how fluid and smooth the handling seemed.
Falcon BMS Eye Candy
Avionics and Cockpit
The avionics have been updated, and as for the weapon systems, again these have been brought kicking and screaming up to date, with all the modern laser and GPS guided systems implemented in amazing detail. Seriously, the avionics suite is on par with the DCS A-10 simulation, it is that comprehensive and well researched.
The cockpit is 3d, fully clickable and has support for TrackIR and 6 degrees of freedom. By fully click-able, I mean that instead of using keyboard commands, you actually use the mouse to click the buttons in the cockpit. For this reason I cannot recommend TrackIR highly enough, especially for this sim where the ability to zoom in and look around with just a head movement can make the difference between life and death and frees up the mouse for activating the switches.
Now lets be honest, I have never, and most likely never will, fly an F-16 of any description. I have however flown one hell of a lot of combat flight simulators, many of which include the F-16 in one form or another.
So, all I can say about the flight model is that it model just feels right, and the illusion of movement and speed impressed me right off the bat. As I said before, it feels fluid, and the smallest adjustments are required in order to not overcompensate, especially on a bombing run. It took a little getting used to after flying some lesser fidelity sims, but now I am used to it, I love it to bits!
The dynamic campaign is all there, and it works flawlessly. You select the theatre and campaigns from Korea and Israel, and the dynamic generator works the war on both sides, and generated missions you can choose from, so if air to air is your thing, no problem, if not, select one of the air to ground missions.
The really cool thing about these missions is that what you do really effects the outcome of the evolving war. One example I came across was the decision to take out a bridge to stop a tank advance, or an airfield to earn air superiority for the area. Both had merits, and of course drawbacks. I took the easier option of dropping the unprotected bridge, and suffered constant harassment from Mig-19s and 21s.
Also, you really do get the illusion that you are a small part of a much larger war machine, right from the briefings, to the campaign map and especially in the air. The sky is alive with allied and opforce aircraft, tank battles rage and it seems like everyone has a job to day, and they get straight on with it in the most efficient way.
Have you played any of the Falcon Games?
Of course, with only a couple of days in the Viper's cockpit I have only really scratched the surface of what this great sim has to offer. A couple of things you need to know.
- BMS Falcon is FREE.
- You need the original Falcon 4 .exe file, or the CD so you can install it. BMS if kinda like a patch in this respect.
- A fair amount of time, its taken me several days as an experienced armchair pilot to get to grips with some of the more simple avionics.
Did I just say free? Yup, these guys have created something special just for the love of it. If ou consider yourself a serious flight sim addict, you owe it to yourself to download this and install it immediately.
BMS 4.32 for Falcon 4 Overview
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Questions & Answers
I am having trouble installing Falcon 4. Is it compatible with a Windows 10 system?
Falcon 4 is available in Steam or GoG and works fine on my Win 10 PC. Failing that, you only need the .exe which is easy enough to find if you look in the right places!