AH-64D Longbow is an ultra-realistic PC flight simulator of one of the world's most advanced attack helicopter, the AH-64D Longbow. Released on May 31, 1996, this simulation was developed at Origin Systems by producer Andy Hollis and director Will McBurnett. AH-64D Longbow was the second simulator released under the Jane's Combat Simulators line from Electronic Arts.
It had one of the most authentic flight models for a helicopter simulation of its time, and every aspect of the electronics systems was meticulously detailed. The weapons had realistic operational ranges and limits, and all friendly and enemy units were strictly based on their real-life counterparts. A wingman helps the player, and the player takes on Russian equipment in multiple single missions and campaigns, as well as a handful of historically-accurate missions in which it is possible to "re-live" memorable battles.
A mission disk, entitled Flash Point: Korea was released as an add-in in 1996, and a compilation pack, Longbow Gold was released in 1997. A sequel, Longbow 2 was released in late 1997. In 1998, Longbow Anthology was released, which included the whole Longbow series.
Longbow, in its various forms, sold over 1 million copies.
Longbow won many awards, including "Flight Simulation Of The Year" (1996) from PC Gamer, Computer Gaming World, and Computer Games Strategy Plus.
On modern systems
Limited success has been achieved at getting this game to run on modern PC systems by using the DOS emulator DOSBox. The biggest problem are the low framerates, and even on the lowest graphics settings, the game plays like a slideshow, rendering it nearly unplayable (on low end PCs); however on modern dual- or multi-core systems, the game plays a lot smoother, with full detail (if the parameters in the DOSBox settings file are changed appropriately).
Flash Point: Korea was released on November 30, 1996. It features a new campaign set in Korea, the addition of the co-pilot position, improved wingman commands and many bug fixes.
Longbow Gold came out in March 1997, and is a compilation pack of the AH-64D Longbow and Flash Point: Korea add-on. It is also fully patched and updated to include a Windows executable, so you are no longer limited to MS-DOS use. Also included is the 3DFX update, which converts the whole sim to use the Glide mode favoured by Voodoo 3D accelerators.
Longbow Anthology was released in 1998 and is a compilation of Jane's AH-64D Longbow, the mission disk Flash Point: Korea, and Longbow 2 in one box, with an abbreviated manual. All included sims are fully patched to their latest versions.