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Overview

Published in 1992, ATAC:The Secret War Against Drugs was an ambitious game that pitched the player against the powerful drug lords of Columbia in the far flung future of 2003. At the start of the campaign the player was given eight AH-64 Apaches, eight F-22 Fighter-Bombers, and eight pilots. From then on the player had free reign to plan his attacks based on intelligence given by on the ground informants.

Gameplay

The game had three distinct phases, the first being planning. A map of the area of operations showed the railroads, highways, and cities surrounding the player's jungle base. If the player did his job gathering intelligence (how he did that we will see in the third phase) there will be markers indicating when and where drug conveys would be transporting their vile cargo. Once the player decided the optimal time and place to strike, it was time to move on to the next phase.

Here the player chose how many pilots would fly the mission, what they would be flying in, and how they would be armed. Any combination of planes and attack helicopters was possible, but the player always had to be mindful of which aircraft were suited for which roles. F-22's could get in and out quickly, but could not carry the amount or variety of armaments the slower, more vulnerable Apaches could. Apaches also had the ability to drop supplies, which activated informants on the ground and was vital for getting a understanding of what was going on on the ground (also to provide juicy targets for the fast movers).

Once the strike was ready, the mission began. At this point the player could either watch the mission unfold through the eyes of the AI pilot, or take direct control of one of the planes and fly the mission personally. The player was rewarded for killing Cartel members, destroying valuable drug cargo (refined cocaine was worth more than raw coca), and bringing all the friendly assets back in one piece. If a F-22 or Apache was shot down during the course of the mission, it was gone for good. Once more, if the pilot managed to survive the player had to immediately send out a rescue mission of Apaches or risk the pilot falling in to the hands of the Cartel and no longer being available to fly for the rest of the campaign.

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