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Airborne Ranger

DOS - 1988

Also released on: Amiga - Amstrad CPC - Atari ST - Commodore 64

Alt name Airborne Ranger: The Action-Simulation
Year 1988
Platform DOS
Released in United Kingdom, United States
Genre Action, Simulation
Theme Shooter
Publisher MicroProse Ltd., MicroProse Software, Inc.
Developer MicroProse Software, Inc.
Perspective Top-Down
Dosbox support Fully supported on 0.70
4.54 / 5 - 57 votes

Download extras files
Manual available

Description of Airborne Ranger

Read Full Description

Arguably the first ever tactical simulation of modern warfare, Airborne Ranger was billed as "action simulation," and it flawlessly fulfills that audacious claim. For the first time, success in a military-themed game requires stealth and careful planning in addition to quick reflexes. Game description and review at MobyGames says it all about this ground-breaking classic:

"You're an airborne ranger working for the United States. You are dropped into different missions with different objectives. Some missions require you to retrieve a package in a given amount of time, and another requires you to rescue POWs. Carnage aplenty, as you can use different means to kill different foes. A "stealth" shooter, where emphasis is on avoiding enemy detection (even if it's just 2D sprites), Airborne Ranger is very different from your typical game. Distract enemies by using timed explosives or rockets, manage your supplies carefully to last through the entire map.

The "career" is very nicely done, as the missions tie together. If one of your rangers were captured (ran out of ammo and surrounded), another ranger may get a POW rescue mission which can recover that ranger! Airborne Ranger is the earliest tactical shooter, long before Rainbow Six reinvented the genre in 3D. As a ranger, your job is to infiltrate enemy territory in parachute, glide to a landing without alerting enemies, then sneak through the many defenses (pill boxes, patrols, concertina wires, etc.), killing the enemy if necessary, accomplish your mission (which could be steal documents, demolition, take pictures of new enemy jet, capture, rescue POW, and more), and be extracted.

The graphics are rather plain 2D, as this game is long before the advent of 3D graphics. Yet the action holds up quite well, as you tensely wait for the enemy patrol to walk by before you continue on your way, staying out of site, only use your weapons when absolutely necessary. You have your trusty Ka-bar knife, CAR-15, demolition charges, and even LAW rockets. You also have first aid kits to heal wounds. While not quite "one shot and you're dead", you can only take three hits, which means death CAN come swiftly when they do. As you sneak through the enemy territory you may run into some supplies dropped by earlier flights, which adds to the fun factor, as you had to choose where to drop those supplies. The game is a lot of fun then, and it's still a lot of fun now, and nothing has really came close (except Rainbow Six, but in a different way)."

One of our Hall of Belated Fame inductees, without a doubt. A must-have for anyone with even a remote interest in realistic military simulations.

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

MadMike 2024-03-24 0 point DOS version

Thank you for this. I used to play this in my teenager years. It was underappreciated and I am getting back into it. Hard at first but then I remembered what I used to do. Slow run and fast run (and change direction) just as they were thinking about shooting at me haha. Was there ever a way to quit this game? I don't remember it being possible.

MarkAmiga500 2021-12-09 0 point Commodore 64 version

its me or i remember a key to check the map ?
what is that damn key ? Lol

Nicko 2020-09-13 0 point DOS version

What are the keys for the weapons? Arrow keys work...but not sure how to switch to different items.

Mr Vampire 2019-02-03 0 point Commodore 64 version

This was a great game. Probably one of the first true stealth games that allowed real (if basic) strategy. Played this till three in the morning on many a night.

daydreamdirty 2018-03-14 3 points

If it helps, here's a link to the original manual for the game. Pretty cool.
A link to the manual.

These are the most important info you need for swapping weapons and items.
[4-5] What buttons can I use to navigate my ranger?

Arrow keys: Move
Keypad arrow keys: Move
Keypad 1,3,7,9 keys: Move diagonally
ENTER: Shoot
Keypad 5: Shoot
Space: Changes standing-crawling mode
1: Calls the aircraft earlier (decrease time to 10 seconds). Beware of this key, especially
when you're playing with veteran ranger! If you accidently push it too early, it can
ruin your whole career!
F1: ToggleM-16 machine gun
F2: Toggle hand grenade
F3: Toggle RPG-7 missile
F4: Toggle bayonet
5: Toggle time bomb for 5 seconds
6: Toggle time bomb for 10 seconds
7: Toggle time bomb for 15 seconds
F9: Displays strategic map of area
F10: Sprint mode. The drawing of your weapon, and the background replaces its colours,
when active. The sprint wears off sooner if you carry large amounts of ammo (see the
"WEIGHT" when you press F9).
Pause: Pauses the game. Hit SPACE to continue.
Backspace: Use a Medkit (cures one critical wound)
V: Sound on-off
-: Decreases the game speed (for fast computers!) Press it only ONCE, because the second
press will slow down the game so much, you won't be able to get to the rendezvous place
in time (it doesn't slows the time down).

daydreamdirty 2018-03-01 1 point DOS version

Wow, I'm glad this game still exists and just like CMONKEY I remember playing this as this was a game that my parents got my brother. Mine at the time was some old sci fi flying game while megaman 3 was for my oldest brother.

Rasmus SWE. 2018-02-13 1 point Amiga version

The best game on C64, and the only game that I played for many years. This game was above everything else.

GOGAREDICKS 2016-11-23 1 point

Don't need to say much about this legend. A quality classic through and through, one of those games that redefined the benchmark for top games of its era.

Fred 2016-11-15 1 point Commodore 64 version

I still play this game. Better than any other out there and this is 2016. I use the VICE Emulator

Byib 2016-04-17 -1 point DOS version

Yes, it's my favourite pc game. So much fun!

nz_beefcake 2015-03-01 1 point DOS version

My favourite C64 game

Stix 2014-05-09 -1 point DOS version

Loved this game.

Knökenknecht 2014-02-19 1 point DOS version

Played this marvelous title very long time on a C64. When I picked this up today with an emulator, I can't handle this anymore with a pc-keyboard.

CMonkey 2014-01-23 3 points DOS version

I remember playing this game so many times. I remember getting up at 3 in the morning, deliberately to play this game. I was playing this game without the manual as well, and with English as my second language, this has become a challenge (but not at this game).
Just shows the design was thought out well, simple enough for a person without manual to play.
This was when anything made by Microprose were gold.

pixel 2012-05-29 1 point DOS version

this game rocks

1998 2012-04-01 1 point DOS version

best game of my "baby" timy

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Game Extras and Resources

Some of these file may not be included in the game stores. For Airborne Ranger, we have the following files:

ManualField Manual English version 5 MB (DOS)

Other Releases

Airborne Ranger was also released on the following systems:


Amstrad CPC

Atari ST

Commodore 64

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