Dive Bomber is one of the least known World War 2 simulations ever made, even though it was marketed by (then) UK giant US Golf and ported quite competently by Epyx to the US. Perhaps one reason for the game's relative anonymity is the heavy arcade feel that disappoints any die-hards stumbling upon it, while lacking nonstop, physics-free action to please joystick experts. Maury Markowitz has all the scoop in his excellent review for MobyGames: |
"The game has an interesting idea, a single mission flight simulator where you fly an Avenger off the Ark Royal (Royal Navy) in order to hunt down the Bismarck. The Bismarck is "out there somewhere" and you have to find her, while at the same time protecting the Ark Royal from both submarines and minefields. Lose the Ark Royal and it's over.
Some parts of the game are a lot of fun. The plane pretty much flies itself (no real physics, somewhat arcadish in that you can only roll so much and fly so high etc.) so you spend the majority of the game finding targets on the map, and then flying over them while in the gunner positions. Eliminating U-boats is similar to dismantling mine fields, but very hard to do, you typically end up flying right past before getting enough rounds sunk into them. Lots of fun despite!
Hindering you are guns on the subs, represented by flashes which I think are supposed to be the AA. I've never found them to be a big issue though, and the flashes make it easy to find the boats. More dangerous though are the Me-110 night fighters which travel in packs. Although you could (unrealistically) take out a pack or two with the upper gun, get tagged too much and down you go.
Fuel and ammo need to be watched, and when you get low you fly into the vicinity of the Ark and hit "I" to tell her to turn on the deck lights. It also lines up with you every time (for developer ease I believe), making this task pretty easy as long as you remember to lower the hook and wheels.
The bad: one try to sink the Bismarck! The game just ends at that point, you miss or you hit, all done. Also the history is astoundingly bad. The manual goes to great lengths to explain that the Avenger never flew with the RN and this is just a game after all, but in reality Avengers really did fly with the RN! Then consider that the Avenger was a torpedo bomber, not a dive bomber. Pick up a book!
The bottom line: there's an interesting idea and the graphics were definitely well done for the time, but once you get the Bismarck once or twice the game has pretty much no replay value left."
Reviewed by: Underdogs