F-15 Strike Eagle III

Released: 1992
Published by: MicroProse Software, Inc.
Developed by: MPS Labs, Inc.
Author(s): Andy Hollis, Jim Day, Scott Spanburg, George P. Wargo, Detmar Peterke, Chris Clark, Bill Becker, Lawrence Russell, Donn Goddard, Barbara Bents, Max Remington III

System Requirements

System Requirements 80386 and compatibles with 33+ MHz required (486-25 recommended). 2 MB RAM. MS-DOS 5.0 or higher. Hard disk installation only. Supports VGA only. Audio support for PC speaker, Covox Sound Master, Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, Ad Lib, Pro Audio Spectrum, Pro Audio Spectrum Plus/16, or Roland MT-32. Joystick and Mouse optional (and recommended). Modem and Direct Link play also possible.
Original Media Either five 3.5" 1.44 MB (HD) floppy disks or a CD-ROM. Approximately 6.5 MB of files are included. Installation to hard disk is mandatory.
Installed Size 15.2 MB

Introduction

This is the third and final installment of F-15 from MicroProse. With beautiful updated graphics and a fresh set of theatres in Panama, North Korea and Iraq (Operation: Desert Storm), anyone who enjoyed F-15 SE2 will love this one. It retains the more arcade-style of gameplay of the earlier games but adds more complexity, including laser targeting. You can even play co-op with a friend with both of you in the same plane! It was succeeded by F-14 Fleet Defender, which used an evolution of the same game engine.

From where can it be run?

From hard disk only. The original media comprises an INSTALL.EXE program and several large compressed files which the installer decompresses to your chosen installation directory.

 

Copy Protection

No disk copy protection, but on startup the game asks you for the language of your manual, then to enter a word from that manual, based on a random page number, paragraph number and word number. If you get the answer wrong, you are automatically assigned to a training mission which allows basic take-off and landing only. Strangely, the US-version of the game does not include copy protection.

 

How to Setup

The game, once installed, comes with a setup program, INSTALL.EXE, which must be run once before you can start the game with F15.COM (F15.com looks for a configuration file called CONFIG.F15 - if not found it asks you to first run INSTALL.EXE).

The INSTALL.EXE program allows you to reinstall the game files to your hard disk, reconfigure your hardware options (sound cards, video card type, etc), or create a boot disk. This last option is useful if you are struggling to free up enough base memory to run the game.

Choosing the Roland Sound option works with a game port MIDI cable connected between your Roland MT-32 and sound card's Game/MIDI port, so it does not require an "Intelligent" mode MPU-401 interface such as the MFC-IPC or equivalent.

The game requires 2 MB of memory with the higher memory allocated as expanded memory (EMS). Therefore you need to have EMM386 or equivalent loaded into memory in order to play F-15 SE3.

Initial Installation

To install the game, execute INSTALL.EXE. You will then be prompted to choose the source drive, either A: or B:. If you are running this without a floppy drive (and have copied the game disks' files to a directory on your hard disk) you can get around this by using the DOS command, SUBST. This associates a path with a drive letter, so you can tell DOS that a directory on your hard disk is drive A:. Here's an example of running the command from my F15_INST directory (which contains all files from the original media):

SUBST A: C:\F15_INST

Now you can run INSTALL.EXE and choose A: as the location of my installation files, and it will look in C:\F15_INST instead.



Once the installer has finished installing the files, you will be prompted to specify your computer's configuration. The installer auto-detects your hardware and selects the best option in both categories by default:

You then need to specify the port address, IRQ and DMA channel for your digitised speech card. Mine was at address 220h, IRQ 5 and DMA channel 1:

The next screen ask you for your chosen control input:

Finally, an optional configuration screen appears where you can choose which COM port to use for Modem or direct play (via null modem cable between two local PCs):

Once complete, you should see a message stating "Configuration file written". If the program locks-up after your selection on this screen, don't worry.

 

 

Problems

Symptom: The game fails to get past the intro sequence and onto the "hangar" menu screen.
Cause: Your system is too fast.
Resolution: Disable either internal and external caches (or both) via the BIOS. If possible, bring the speed down to the equivalent of a 486SX-25, and the game should then start properly.

Symptom: The game fails to start and displays error message "There is no EMS memory. F-15 Strike Eagle III requires a minimum of 770048 bytes of EMS memory with 21 handles.
Cause: You haven't loaded an expanded memory manager/driver, such as EMM386.
Resolution: Edit your config.sys file and add the line:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE RAM
Then reboot your system and start the game again. Note that version 4108.003 of the game reduced the conventional memory requirements significantly at the expense of slightly more EMS memory needed - now just 581,488 bytes of conventional memory are required (for the 'no sound' mode), and minimum EMS memory is now 786,432 bytes.

Symptom: Roland sounds are strange - The speech heard during the intro gets cut off, and when in the cockpit you hear a very deep, unrealistic tone for the engine roar.
Cause: The game requires an MT-32 "Old" (the one with no headphone jack on the back). The MT-32 "New" and MT-100 are not 100% compatible with the MT-32 "Old" - they were introduced around the time the General MIDI format was being ironed out, so Roland moved the locations of some of the MT-32 sound samples around. This means games whose sound was designed and tested on the MT-32 "Old" may sound 'wrong' on the MT-32 "New" or MT-100. Another cause for this incompatibility is that games designers became aware of bugs in the MT-32 "Old"'s firmware, and often exploited these to produce the sounds. Since the MT-32 "New" and MT-100 ran on different firmware, these bugs could not be exploited by the software, resulting in different/no sound.

Symptom: The game runs extremely slowly (low frames per second) when flying.
Cause: Your system is too slow.
Resolution: I've found the game runs best on a 486DX4-100 or Pentium. If you have a slower 486, press ESC while in-flight, and go to the Options menu. From here you can reduce the detail of mountains, sky, objects, etc., in order to improve performance.

Symptom: Error: "Could not open real mission file: EXITING" when selecting the Iraq '93 mission and starting the game.
Cause: This is a known bug in the CD version of the game (it works fine on the floppy version).
Resolution: Copy the file F15\FS\DS.REL from the CD-ROM into your game directory, and the Iraq '93 missions should then work.

 

To Quit the Game

Press Alt-Q at any time. A screen highlighting some other MicroProse Software titles is displayed, along with a prompt, "Exit to DOS Y/N ?". Press Y to return to the command prompt.

 

Supporting Documents

Here are the original documents that came with the game:

  • Technical Supplement
  • User Manual (Microprose release)

And here are aftermarket docs:


Did You Know?

F-15 Strike Eagle III's code contains a number of artifacts that don't get used anywhere in the game. There is a table of game information wxhich references two non-player controlled aircraft: the F-14 and F-117, plus several US and enemy helecopters including the Hind, Huey, Hip, SA315, S-70 and UH-60. Models of the two planes exist in the code, but none of the helicopters do - these only exist in the playable demo version.

There also exists code that indicates the designers were going to implement air-to-ground missiles which the game does not use.

Save Games

All personal data for the game is stored in a file called ROSTER in the main game directory. You can backup this file (copy and rename it) if you wish to keep a record of the roster at a given point in time, and then later replace the original with your copy to restore it. The file is not readable/editable in a text editor.

 

Versions of the game known to exist

Version Date Comments
Playable Demo 1st Oct 1992 An early demo of the game.
4108.01 8th Dec 1992 First release on floppy disk.
4108.02 (unknown) Second release.
4108.03 23rd Apr 1993 Final release. Adds Iraq 1993 missions and fixes several bugs. Ad Lib Gold (Gold Sound Standard) added for sound and digital speech. Better joystick calibration (now manual but more accurate than the auto-calibration that existed in earlier versions) Fixes a bug where the game hangs when you are near the carrier group or the battleship group.

 

Reviews

More Images

 

 

Original Floppy Disk Contents

The floppy disks have no volume labels.

Disk 1 of 5 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD, version 4108.03):

F15      001     1,338,002 04-20-93   2:23p
MPSLABS IDX 16,280 04-20-93 2:42p
MPSCOPY EXE 55,083 04-20-93 2:21p
INSTALL EXE 47,290 04-20-93 2:21p
4 file(s) 1,456,655 bytes
0 bytes free

Disk 2 of 5 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD, version 4108.03):

F15      002     1,457,434 04-20-93   2:31p
1 file(s) 1,457,434 bytes
0 bytes free

Disk 3 of 5 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD, version 4108.03):

F15      003     1,457,274 04-20-93   2:37p
1 file(s) 1,457,274 bytes
0 bytes free

Disk 4 of 5 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD, version 4108.03):

F15      004     1,457,664 04-20-93   2:39p
1 file(s) 1,457,664 bytes
0 bytes free

Disk 5 of 5 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD, version 4108.03):

F15      005     1,196,872 04-20-93   2:41p
1 file(s) 1,196,872 bytes
260,608 bytes free


Installed Directory Contents

Once installed, the following directory structure exists in the game directory.

Directory of C:\MPS\F15

 .            <DIR>         11-18-21   6:45p
 ..           <DIR>         11-18-21   6:45p
 CONFIG   F15           100 11-18-21   6:51p
 MPSCOPY  EXE        55,083 11-18-21   6:45p
 INSTALL  EXE        47,290 11-18-21   6:45p
 ADS      EXE        35,462 02-18-93   2:33p
 DS       DAT         4,967 04-12-93  11:37a
 DIGITAL  153        12,608 04-07-93   4:33p
 MOBILE   EXE         7,913 12-02-92  11:46a
 MGRAPHIC EXE         7,192 01-04-80  12:20p
 F15      EXE       129,458 04-12-93   3:17p
 ASOUND   15G         8,700 11-30-92   9:08a
 RSOUND   15G         9,690 11-30-92   9:21a
 PSOUND   15G        13,124 12-02-92  12:11p
 F15      COM         1,053 02-25-93   8:49a
 NSOUND   15G           880 07-18-91   2:26p
 DS       REL           140 03-09-93   2:00p
 F153     BIN       315,431 11-18-92  11:40a
 FONTS    F15         2,426 11-09-92   5:32p
 DS0      WLD       157,440 11-13-92   2:37p
 KO0      WLD       157,440 11-06-92   1:31p
 PA0      WLD       157,440 11-06-92   1:36p
 DS0      DAT         4,377 11-28-92  10:36a
 KO0      DAT         4,493 11-28-92  10:36a
 PA0      DAT         4,066 11-28-92  10:36a
 DS       GRY        17,088 10-12-92  10:03a
 PA       GRY        17,088 11-03-92   3:37p
 KO       GRY        17,088 10-29-92  10:09a
 DS       MIS        13,274 11-30-92  10:30a
 KO       MIS        11,378 11-30-92  10:30a
 PA       MIS        10,746 11-30-92  10:30a
 DS       NMY           512 11-05-92   6:03p
 KO       NMY           512 11-05-92   6:03p
 PA       NMY           512 11-05-92   6:04p
 PA       RNG        19,746 10-30-92   3:53p
 KO       RNG        11,074 11-23-92  12:16p
 DS       RNG         9,986 10-06-92   1:40p
 ISOUND   15W         6,661 12-07-92   3:30p
 NSOUND   15W           704 12-07-92   3:30p
 PSOUND   15W        26,726 12-07-92   3:30p
 RSOUND   15W        22,476 12-07-92   3:30p
 ROSTER                 752 12-07-92   3:30p
 MODEM    INI         1,131 12-07-92   3:30p
 DSMOB    3DX        62,205 01-25-93  10:20a
 F15      SCR           759 12-07-92   3:30p
 BLCF     8          11,873 12-07-92   3:30p
 BURNNOW  8           9,724 12-07-92   3:30p
 E01CFT   8          13,860 12-07-92   3:30p
 E01T     8          11,319 12-07-92   3:30p
 FOX2     8           4,774 12-07-92   3:30p
 HORHOR   8          12,636 12-07-92   3:30p
 IGEIGE   8          17,010 12-07-92   3:30p
 RE01CFT  8          17,908 12-07-92   3:30p
 RE01T    8          13,405 12-07-92   3:30p
 THTH     8           6,458 12-07-92   3:30p
 WGAMR6   8          10,935 12-07-92   3:30p
 YEAH     8           5,282 12-07-92   3:30p
 IRAQ93   TXT        12,374 03-18-93  12:41p
 TITLE2   PAN       240,486 09-17-92   2:33p
 TITLE3   PAN       177,288 09-17-92   2:33p
 TITLE4   PAN       172,285 09-17-92   2:34p
 TITLE5   PAN        35,869 09-17-92   2:34p
 TITLE6   PAN     1,452,881 09-17-92   2:35p
 CREDITS  PAN       144,584 11-16-92  11:46a
 PLAY     EXE        16,293 02-23-93   4:46p
 GENMISS  EXE        18,139 03-04-93   2:35p
 RAP      EXE        74,729 04-13-93   9:38a
 F15MON   EXE         8,027 12-07-92   3:30p
 BRIEFING EXE        41,554 12-07-92   3:30p
 SPAR_LW  3DX         2,934 10-26-92  10:37a
 DURL_LC  3DX         5,962 10-26-92  10:35a
 DURL_LW  3DX         6,316 10-26-92  10:35a
 SPAR_RC  3DX         2,564 10-26-92  10:37a
 DURL_RC  3DX         5,962 10-26-92  10:35a
 SPAR_RW  3DX         2,934 10-26-92  10:37a
 MAVR_LWF 3DX         3,646 10-26-92  10:35a
 MAVR_RWF 3DX         3,646 10-26-92  10:36a
 DURL_RW  3DX         6,316 10-26-92  10:35a
 GBU15_LW 3DX         1,768 10-26-92  10:35a
 GBU15_RW 3DX         1,768 10-26-92  10:35a
 GBU87_LC 3DX         6,318 10-26-92  10:34a
 GBU87_LW 3DX         6,972 10-26-92  10:35a
 GBU87_RC 3DX         6,318 10-26-92  10:35a
 GBU87_RW 3DX         6,972 10-26-92  10:35a
 HARM_LW  3DX         1,864 10-26-92  10:35a
 HARM_RW  3DX         1,864 10-26-92  10:35a
 HARP_LW  3DX         1,990 10-26-92  10:35a
 SPAR_LWN 3DX         1,725 08-03-92   2:13p
 ROCK_LW  3DX         6,972 10-26-92  10:36a
 ROCK_RC  3DX         6,210 10-26-92  10:36a
 ROCK_RW  3DX         6,972 10-26-92  10:36a
 SDWN_LWN 3DX         1,801 08-03-92   1:39p
 SDWN_RWN 3DX         1,801 08-03-92   1:39p
 SPAR_RWN 3DX         1,725 08-03-92   2:13p
 FUEL_LW  3DX           455 11-02-92  11:51a
 FUEL_RW  3DX           455 11-02-92  11:51a
 HARP_RW  3DX         1,990 10-26-92  10:35a
 MAVR_LWR 3DX         3,646 10-26-92  10:35a
 MAVR_RWR 3DX         3,646 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK84_LC  3DX         2,272 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK84_LW  3DX         1,508 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK84_RC  3DX         2,272 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK84_RW  3DX         1,508 10-26-92  10:36a
 ROCK_LC  3DX         6,210 10-26-92  10:36a
 FRONTPIT PIC         6,966 11-17-92  11:41a
 LOOKDOWN PIC        10,117 11-17-92  11:41a
 BACKFRNT PIC        14,086 11-17-92  11:41a
 BACK     PIC         8,882 11-17-92  11:41a
 BKPIT    PIC         6,874 11-17-92  11:41a
 BKSIDES  PIC         1,234 11-17-92  11:41a
 FLIR     PIC           384 11-17-92  11:41a
 PADREAR  PIC         3,642 09-21-92   8:22a
 DSPAL    PIC         5,584 11-17-92  11:41a
 KOPAL    PIC        10,079 11-17-92  11:41a
 PAPAL    PIC         7,158 11-17-92  11:41a
 COOLPAL  PIC         4,960 11-17-92  11:41a
 DSMPCLR  PIC         8,940 11-13-92   9:22a
 KOMPCLR  PIC        10,532 10-12-92   5:24p
 PAMPCLR  PIC        10,532 10-12-92   5:24p
 EXPAGE1  PIC         3,943 11-13-92   9:22a
 EXPAGE2  PIC         3,856 11-13-92   9:22a
 EXPAGE3  PIC         6,406 11-13-92   9:22a
 EXPAGE4  PIC        11,739 11-13-92   9:22a
 EXPAGE5  PIC        12,501 11-13-92   9:22a
 CLOUDS   PIC        16,797 11-13-92   9:22a
 F15      SPR         2,953 11-13-92   9:22a
 MESSAGES TXT           729 11-18-92   8:56a
 SETUP    EXE        12,557 04-08-93  10:35a
 MICRO    PAN       130,601 09-17-92   2:33p
 RAP      PCT       944,085 12-07-92   3:30p
 RAP      SPR     2,792,652 12-07-92   3:30p
 RAP      GRF        15,900 12-07-92   3:30p
 ASOUND   15W        30,025 12-07-92   3:30p
 MISSION  PIC        12,918 12-07-92   3:30p
 NEDBIOS  XLT         8,766 12-07-92   3:30p
 TITLE1   PAN        94,438 09-17-92   2:33p
 ISOUND   15G         3,253 01-27-93  11:34a
 DS       SAV       157,440 02-22-93  10:29a
 BOOTDISK EXE        24,091 03-05-93   3:05p
 DS0      FTR           288 10-29-92  10:21a
 KO0      FTR           180 10-29-92  10:21a
 PA0      FTR           342 10-29-92  10:21a
 BALANCE  CMP           281 10-28-92  11:27a
 F15AIR3  3DX        31,212 11-02-92  10:00a
 PLANE1   3DX        30,306 11-13-92   2:57p
 PLANE2   3DX        30,193 11-12-92   9:26a
 DS       3DX        55,715 11-13-92  10:58a
 DSM      3DX        29,429 11-13-92  10:58a
 DSMOBM   3DX        34,442 11-13-92  10:58a
 DSLTSF   3DX        15,534 10-12-92   3:22p
 DSMTNS   3DX        12,644 11-02-92  10:03a
 KO       3DX        55,864 11-13-92  10:59a
 KOM      3DX        34,848 11-13-92  10:59a
 KOMOB    3DX        58,497 11-13-92  10:59a
 KOMOBM   3DX        36,748 11-13-92  11:00a
 KOLTSF   3DX        20,915 10-12-92   5:20p
 KOMTNS   3DX        12,700 11-02-92  10:03a
 PA       3DX        59,820 11-13-92  11:00a
 PAM      3DX        32,223 11-13-92  11:01a
 PAMOB    3DX        58,292 11-13-92  11:00a
 PAMOBM   3DX        32,044 11-13-92  11:01a
 PALTSF   3DX        10,717 10-12-92   5:21p
 PAMTNS   3DX        12,605 10-27-92   9:17a
 MK82_LC  3DX         6,466 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK82_LW  3DX         7,140 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK82_RC  3DX         6,466 10-26-92  10:36a
 MK82_RW  3DX         7,140 10-26-92  10:36a
 SDWN_LW  3DX         3,070 10-26-92  10:36a
 SDWN_RW  3DX         3,070 10-26-92  10:37a
 SPAR_LC  3DX         2,564 10-26-92  10:37a
 README   TXT         5,706 04-15-93   9:09a
       171 file(s)      9,147,247 bytes