F/A-18 Interceptor Explained

F/A-18 Interceptor
Publisher:Electronic Arts
Designer:Bob Dinnerman
Genre:Flight sim
Modes:Single player

F/A-18 Interceptor is a combat flight simulator released for the Commodore Amiga in 1988. It is widely known for its use of 3D graphics and arcade-style gameplay.

The player mainly flies the F/A-18 Hornet, but the F-16 Fighting Falcon is also available for aerobatics, free flight and the first mission.


The game is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Notable landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The Electronic Arts headquarters in San Mateo are also depicted.

The player can also take off and land from the following airfields:

Finally, when selecting a location to start a free flight, pressing the [0] key starts the player on uninhabited ground far away from the main game area. This is in fact supposed to be Edwards Air Force Base, a location that was not actually implemented in the final game.

Modes of Play


Only air-to-air weapons are available, and are limited to AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, and the M61 Vulcan gatling gun (500 rounds). Chaff and flares are available for defense against enemy missiles.


There are six missions, enemies being referred as "terrorists". The first takes place on September 1, 1994. The player must complete a successful carrier landing in order to qualify for the missions.

Visual Confirmation Mission

An unidentified aircraft has been spotted heading towards San Francisco. The goal is to take off, obtain visual confirmation, and return to base. The briefing states "Do not fire unless fired upon".

Usually the aircraft is one or two MiG-29s, but occasionally turns out to be a Boeing 707.

Emergency Defense Operation

A hostile aircraft is threatening Air Force One. The player must ensure that the President reaches San Francisco safely, shooting down the enemy MiG if necessary.

Intercept Stolen Aircraft

Two F-16s with secret ECM equipment have been stolen by defecting pilots. Two MiGs are providing air support. The player must attempt to force them to return, but if they refuse, the F-16s must be destroyed.

Search and Rescue Operation

An F/A-18 has been shot down, and the pilot has bailed out near the Farillon Islands. In order to survive he needs a rescue pod dropped from the player's aircraft (by pressing Shift+F). Two or three hostile enemy aircraft are in the area.

Intercept Incoming Cruise Missile

A cruise missile is heading towards San Francisco and must be destroyed. The difficulty here is the missile's high speed, low altitude (200 feet) and short time available until impact.

Carrier Sub Mission

Hostilities have broken out, and a submersible aircraft carrier is in the area. Multiple enemy aircraft and the carrier must all be destroyed.

This final mission has become the subject of debate among gamers because it is apparently impossible to sink the enemy carrier sub. Programmer Bob Dinnerman states that it is possible, but that the carrier does not actually blow up if it is deemed destroyed.


If your Amiga had more than 512KB RAM installed, you could hear a theme song from Dave Warhol which resembles the Top Gun Anthem from Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens. This was at the request of programmer/designer Robert "Bob" Dinnerman, who asked sound effects engineer Dave Warhol to convey the atmosphere of that particular song from the movie Top Gun.[1]

There were bugs left in the game were you could land on the water [2] or upside down on a carrier.[1]

Placed as an Easter egg, you can find the Electronic Arts Headquarters on the San Francisco map. [1]


  1. http://steiny.typepad.com/premise/2004/01/interview_with_.html Premise: Interview with F/A 18 Interceptor Author Bob Dinnerman
  2. http://amigareviews.classicgaming.gamespy.com/fa18inte.htm Amiga Reviews: F/A-18 Interceptor

External links