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Released: 1984

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Vortex Software

Developer: Costa Panayi

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Flight simulators are boring… everyone knows that! We don’t want to be bothered by knowing whether our gear is hanging out… and we certainly don’t want to spend our time fiddling with our flaps… No we just want to get in a plane and fly under bridges and then shoot some things…. TLL partially fulfilled this need.

As a small boy I loved fighter planes. Rightly or wrongly the Falklands war had just happened and to a young lad, the nightly news broadcasts of Harriers dogfighting, were very exciting. TLL allowed you to fly a Tornado… a plane so cool it could sweep it’s wings back and go faster or something… I don’t know exactly why, I’m not an aeronautic engineer!

It had great scenery, all done in a very stylish (if strange) non-isometric 3D way. It was very effective. Bridges had great shadow effects and you could indeed fly under them. You could fly behind buildings, although you’d usually crash, but it could be done. The colour scheme was simple, greens, blues and reds, but worked very well, enabling your black Tornado to move colour clash free across the environment.

You could indeed sweep the wings back and go a bit faster, but this used more fuel and was not very useful at all. So this was a bit pointless… it was however not the most pointless thing about the game.

No that honour belongs to the fact that you couldn’t shoot or bomb anything. You were in a multi million pound fighter aircraft with no weapons at all! No, in this Tornado to destroy the enemy base you had to fly over it at a very low level… hence the games name Tornado Low Level… genius! It wasn’t genius though it was a bit rubbish. Even today when playing the game, I think to myself how much better it would be if there were other planes, and you could shoot them. It would have been class, but it wasn’t to be.

If that all sounds too negative, then I’m sorry, I do actually like the game. It has charm, and great fun can be had swooping below flyovers and power lines. If you’ve never played it then give it a go… it’s an almost great game!