I have always wanted to play a real 3-D game simulation in real time. With Dale Lear's newest release I can. And, it's one with a humane mission instead of mindless destruction as a goal. It seems that a local ex-con, Pyro Maniac, has assembled an army of torch-happy androids dedicated to the cremation of the city.

l have been assigned a laser-armed water cannon helicopter. The altitude control seems to be locked into rooftop height, and the heat resistant windshield develops high distortion around the edges of my field of view, not to mention making the buildings appear in simple outline form. The blades chop ominously overhead, while the city starts to burn before me. I rush to battle, joystick sluggish in my grip, to the nearest flames.

I almost have the flames completely out when a sniper appears. He turns out to be hard to hit, and before I can dispatch him my previous work is going up in smoke again. Precious seconds tick away as I douse it again, then proceed to sweep back and forth over the city. A bigger fire appears, and with it the warning FIRE LEVEL CRITICAL. As I struggle to keep this one under control I notice another building nearly out of view begin to disintegrate. Turning my hoses on it, I realize that I am too late to make a difference. The skeleton collapses, and then the "end of city" alarm sounds.

I like the concept of the game. It plays fairly realistically, but the response is too slow to be smooth and allow accuracy. I also missed the ability to climb higher to get a better look at the city as a whole; but then again, I am a perfectionist. The ability to turn the 'copter around would be nice, too; but I know how much the 6809E microprocessor must have been stretched to its limits already. The game is very playable, and most important, fun. I have spent quite a few hours in the "hot seat" and haven't ever regretted the time spent. Now, if only one of the full-size arcade manufacturers could start trends in realistic and humane arcade games...

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