Michael has been an avid gamer and part-time writer for more decades than he cares to remember.
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 700ish-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 that 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 takeoff, I was impressed by how fluid and smooth the handling seemed.
Avionics and Cockpit
The avionics have been updated; 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 3-D and fully clickable, and it has support for TrackIR and 6 degrees of freedom. By fully clickable, 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, let's be honest: I have never flown an F-16 of any description and most likely never will. 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 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 that 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. You can choose from the generated missions, so if air-to-air is your thing, no problem; if not, select one of the air-to-ground missions.
Missions and the War Machine
The really cool thing about these missions is that what you do really affects the outcome of the evolving war. One example I came across was the decision to either 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 I 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, from the briefings to the campaign map and especially in the air. The sky is alive with allied and opforce aircraft, and tank battles rage. It seems like everyone has a job to do, and they get straight on with it in the most efficient way.
An Excellent, Free Flight Sim for Serious Armchair Pilots
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 is kinda like a patch in this respect.
- You'll need a fair amount of time to adjust to BMS; it has 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 you 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
- Falcon 4 BMS Tutorials: Data Link - YouTube
Absolutely essential viewing, incredible stuff!
- Benchmark Sims
Benchmarks Sims (BMS). Falcon 4.0 flight simulation patch.
Leave a Comment If You Enjoyed This Article
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Questions & Answers
Question: I am having trouble installing Falcon 4. Is it compatible with a Windows 10 system?
Answer: 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!
Ron on June 08, 2017:
I'm very interested I played quite a few I go back to fleet defender. If posssible the BTMS is my challenge, how do I get started?
Joseph1960 on May 21, 2017:
Great article about a brilliant flight sim!
Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on September 25, 2014:
Thanks for dropping buy Torch! 62 is nothing for a pilot, just years of good old fashioned experience! The sim looks awe inspiring with full details doesn't it
torch on September 24, 2014:
I started this sim when it first came out. Married with children...grounded me for a large number of years, but a year ago I started it back up, starting with the Superpaks. Came across BMS and fell in love with it. Best sim ever!!! Kudos to the developers, programers, editors, etc. that are constantly upgrading the BMS 4.32. Looking forward to the 4.33. And thanks to them for keeping it within my price range. lol. One of the best parts of the sim is it's own "configuation" editor, so that you can load whatever technicals and/or eye candy your system can take. But I highly recommend you see for yourself what the sim is capable of with "full" configurations. By the way, I'm 62 years old and fly pretty good for an old fart. Torch out.
Gustavo on March 27, 2014:
Hi, I would like to know if there is a flight simulator like Falcon BMS for mac ?? Or the Falcon BMS can be installed on a mac ??
Thank you for your help !
Abid on January 31, 2014:
To add, I missed some titles that I own. Like, f16 multirole fighter, f-22 raptor, eurofighter typhoon.
I also got f/18 super hornet gold edition which seemed to have good graphics but unfortunately its campaign modes never worked on my pc due to crashes.
Hope it helps others.
Abid on January 31, 2014:
I started playing falcon4 Allied forces in 2006 and stopped somewhere in 2010. And now when I wanted to revisit my fantasies I found the graphics quite dull on modern day hardware - don't know why. As I started to search for any alternate modern similar sim, I started to feel disappointed when nothing seemed to come my way. And then got this breather that we have this major upgrade for my most cherished game falcon.
One more thing; I started to play f14 tomcat, f/a 18 hornet, f16 fighting falcon, mig29 fulcrum, su-27 flanker, commenche during my teenage and continued till early mid twenty's. Then stopped when I got busy with my job. Seeing how PC gaming industry has evolved over last 15 years, I feel sad that not much has gone into military flight simulation pc games. I think most notable work was done in late 90's which in itself was pioneering effort in this genre of PC gaming. Jane and Novalogic were the leading brands that I know of.
Great job done. Keep it up!
Mike LeVan on December 30, 2013:
Just getting into flight sims and wanted you and those who have posted on your site that I have already learned so much. I appreciate the help. Keep up the great job!
maxbarjr on October 01, 2013:
Falcon 4 was my first fighter flight sim and it was good. I had many CTD and a lot of dancing. Well, redoing the same dance that is. Then BMS came and Allied Force came and it was better. I hope this is the best. I am rusty as I have never been flown any sorties for years. Need to dust off some dust on my HOTAS and start all over.
Thanks for the review.
Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on September 06, 2013:
Seeing as you asked so nicely...
Windows XP, 7 and 8 are all ok from my experience.
http://87th.org/Installing_FalconBMS has a system comparison so you can look it up yourself
gege-bl on September 06, 2013:
system requiments ?