Written by  :  blefuscu (462)
Written on  :  Oct 28, 2001
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Dogfight over San Francisco

The Good

Jetfighter brings an interesting scenario that is not explored too often in simulations -- the invasion of the U.S. More importantly, this allows missions around San Francisco, where Velocity went to some lengths to detail the landmarks. The graphics were simple, but flying around the red Golden Gate Bridge, the grey Oakland Bridge, and various buildings such as the simple pyramid representing the Transamerica tower were exciting at the time. Countless hours were spent in just free flight around the bay area at various times of the day.

Carrier operations were handled pretty well. Landing on them certainly required more skill than the land-based runways, but it was not over difficult. In fact, landing and flying in general was easy because the planes flew very precisely, almost unrealistically so. Still, some points of realism, such as stalls, were modeled to the extent that the technology of the time allowed.

The Bad

One big disappointment with the graphics was the color of ground -- everywhere in California, it was brown. Having a single color represent ground is fine, but a shade of green would have been more applicable.

Also, even though you can fly the F-14 Tomcat and field the AIM54 Phoenix missile, it did not seem to properly model the Phoenix. That missile should have an effective range of 50-100 miles, yet it was no where near that in the game performance.

Missions were definitely unrealistic and was the typical you-vs-the-world. I recall one difficult scenario where first you needed to intercept some cruise missiles, then shoot down a bunch of MiGs.

Ground attack options were also somewhat poor. Only dumb iron bombs were available, and even then, there were no aiming mechanisms such as the continuously-computed impact point in the HUD. I recall reading the manual and wondering how, 40 years after World War II, bombing techniques remained the same. It was disappointing given that Falcon, a game released a year earlier, had modeled some of the modern ground attack munitions like the Maverick missiles.

The Bottom Line

The number criticisms might overshadow the fact that Jetfighter is indeed a good game overall. Its depiction of carrier operations were unmatched for a few more years, and combat missions ranging from dogfights to hauling mud, were definitely fun. Jetfighter's graphics engine was fairly advanced for its time as well.