Platform: Commodore Amiga
Also known as: A.T.A.C: Advanced Tactical Air Command – The Secret War Against Drugs
MicroProse’s flight sim, A.T.A.C: Advanced Tactical Air Command was previewed for the Amiga in various magazines back in 1992, but was sadly only to get a DOS release in the end. It seems that the PC edition was released first, and an Amiga conversion was following. The developers were none other than Argonaut, who had a rich history with 3D developments.
Described as a simulation/strategy game, the title sees you as a Supreme Commander of an entire anti-drugs campaign. At your disposal are an entire army of undercover infiltration agents, two fully armed attack helicopters, four F22 stealth fighter/bombers and a secret base tucked away in South America.
From your base, you plan missions using your agents to gain intelligence on enemy forces. As well as strategy, you must take part in missions in 3D, where you can control up to 4 aircraft at once.
It was commented in one press preview that the graphics looked quite average overall for a new flight sim, and one of the explanations was that it could be to compensate and allow the Amiga version to maintain a decent frame rate, with the focus being on the game play.
Plausibly, it could be that the game was dropped from the Amiga due to the frame rate not being acceptable. Certainly MicroProse continued to release games for the Amiga, so it seems to point to it being a technical issue rather than just being late in the day for the platform.
ACE magazine revealed the names of the Amiga development team, who were Adam Polanski and Jonathan Wolf, both on code. Artwork was by Tom Ashton, and the overall project management by Richard Clucas. It is hoped that we can get in touch with the team to learn more about what happened.
In the meantime, contributor Martin Smith (via the comments) makes a good suggestion that perhaps Argonaut pushed focus over to the new SuperFX chip. Martin suggests that EA wanted them to do a sequel to Birds of Prey, but turned it down due to work with Nintendo. The PC version was also not well received and could have been a factor for cancellation too – maybe coupled with framerate issues perhaps?
Martin also spotted that Amiga Action mentioned that ATAC was “well into development” as late as June 1993. That may have just been a passing comment by the reviewer (who recalled the previews), but we suspect it had long been cancelled by this point.
If you know anything more though about this title, then please do get in touch.
With thanks to Karl Kuras for highlighting, Martin Smith for the suggestions and info and Hall of Light for the scans.