The developers have stuck to their tried and tested format - modern jet combat over Russia, this time between the former USSR and NATO - and old Flanker players will spot three identical aircraft from the series: the German MiG-29A, Russian MiG-29A, and MiG-29C along with the SU's themselves: the SU-25 Frogfoot, SU-27 Flanker B and SU-33 Flanker D. There are, however, two new aircraft. The American fighter F-15C Eagle and the much loved, but very ugly A-10A Thunderbolt II tank buster (better known as the Warthog).
Based on the code we've been playing, Lock On looks good and plays great. The only question mark lies over the genre itself. Until recently, the flight sim market was DOA. Can Lock On do for the modern combat flight sim what IL-2 did for WWII dog fighting? Probably not, but at least it shows there's life in the old birds yet.
But the main reason for playing Lock On is combat. Lots of combat. And here it delivers -which is both a good and a bad thing. You see, there's two schools of thought on combat flight sims. There's the one that likes to get up close and personal, and there's the one that likes to see a small dot on the screen and fire off a long-range missile (imagine playing Call Of Duty by radar and you'll be close to what I'm talking about). Lock On belongs firmly to the latter school. That's not to say you can't get in close and use the cannon - the A-1OA Warthog was designed to do just that -it's just that modern air-to-air combat doesn't work that way. Try and bounce a pack of F15s and you'll have ten Sidewinders up your arse in no time.
Lock On is one of the best modern jet combat flight sims about - but it's also one of the only modern jet combat flight sims about. It looks good, the flight models are good, physics and ballistics seem accurate and there's a diverse range of things to kill. But you rarely get the adrenalin rush associated with WWII flight sims such as IL-2 Sturmovik or WarBirds III. This is no slight on the developer, it's just the way of modern air combat.
The rough outlines, the compressed lips, and muscular frame, are each indicative of decision, and the firmest of wills. Phrenologically we are warned, that logical 3 combat may be profitably left alone, and to retire without precipitancy whenever that gentleman approaches an argument or a hobby! If there is any one fact established by Mr. Cary as a mental fixture, it is a conviction of his personal infallibility of judgment and action. Slow and skeptical in his recognition of modern innovations, his heart softens reluctantly, and his decisions close upon his reason with more unrelenting incarceration, than iron doors and bolts upon the victim of crime.
"My dear, for many years I have labored in the midst of my little flock, and so far as an enlightened conscience can pass judgment upon one's own actions, I have endeavored faithfully to discharge my duties in the fear of my Heavenly Father. It is very strange 19that during all this time I have regarded Slavery with indifference. Indeed, the question of its divine sanction had never occurred to me. But this sinful lethargy has been fully broken, and I must now atone for the past, and labor while the day lasts."
"A warm imagination!" he repeated. Thank 37God, I have at least that redeeming virtue to be sneered at! and that in these days of cant and hypocrisy I have a heart to be aroused by something. During the long years of your ministry in Minden, Mr. Cary, this poor widow has been familiar to you, and I, sir, have known her from infancy; and a brighter eye, a ruddier cheek, or more blithesome spirit never graced childhood than she possessed when she sat in the old school-house under the hill! Never shone warmer home light or home love upon locks so sunny then, but now so whitened by the frosts of her heart! She was the pet and darling of all; the first love even of many; the queen of little revelries; and when, a beautiful bride, she came forth from our rustic church, the blessings of old and young, the rich and the poor, followed the footsteps of Susie Wellman. But God has pressed to her innocent lips the bitterest of life's cups; and she has drank it to its dregs. Never has she swerved from the path of duty or rectitude, though often and again her weary feet have been pierced by the thorns. Her relatives, all of them, lie there, in our churchyard. It was your own lips that spoke solace to her heart the day she became a widow, and it was your hand, sir, that sprinkled the baptismal water upon the brow of her dying child, and pointed her to the 'Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.' From affluence and ease, from the blessed surroundings of love and plenty, she has borne her cross of heart crucifixion 38down the stairway of adversity, like our Saviour, cheerfully when she could, unmurmuringly when she must. Who of us ever listened to her repinings? And who of us have not seen her, in our own hours of sorrow, hovering like an angel of mercy around our homes, forgetting her own afflictions in those of her fellow creatures?"
"You say, Mr. Cary, that you have a right to preach upon slavery and all other topics, which appear to you to be in the path of duty! Now, sir, I wish to suggest this with proper respect and delicacy. You are a hired servant of the people, hired and paid to per- 77form a given duty, viz., to preach the Gospel of Christ; to visit and comfort our sick; and promote, to the utmost of your ability, our spiritual interests! You understand what we consider to be the Gospel, as taught by Christ. You know, that it is to preach this Gospel as we understand that word, that you are hired and paid, and that it is the kind of religion our humanity requires at your hands. Now, by what right do you pocket our money and deprive us of the thing bargained for? If I hire a man to cut hay for me, and his inclination induces him to cut wood instead, would he be considered a faithful servant? Would you consider it any excuse for him to say he felt it his duty to cut wood? No, sir, you would say emphatically, I know my own wants best, I engaged you to make hay, and it is hay you must cut. How many of our clergy, Mr. Cary, who are so zealous for the reform of our great national sins, would feel it their duty to sacrifice their churches in this manner, if their salaries were not promptly paid them? Sir, I have no faith in this great hue and cry of duty! I have no respect for the man who opposes his will to the common sense of the people. We know what our religious wants are better than you can tell us, but we grope blindly for the pearl of great price, and the wail of sinful despair is going up everywhere, 'What shall we do to be saved?' Instead of going forth like good shepherds, and searching for the lost sheep which have fallen into the pit, and laying them 78in your bosoms; and bringing them tenderly into the sheep-fold, what do you do? You carry dissension and rebellion among the little flocks grazing so peacefully in the green pastures and beside the still waters! You render their food bitter and unpalatable, until they break from their enclosures, and wander up and down in strange places, seeking for the food that satisfies the natural cravings of their souls! They hear the voices of strange shepherds and they learn to be called by their names, and to follow after them, and when at length the sheep-cot is deserted, you fold your hands complacently, taunt the broken flock with the wondrous depravity of their natures, and wash the blood of their destruction from your skirts!" 2b1af7f3a8