Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Flight Unlimited

MobyRank MobyScore
DOS
86
4.0
Macintosh
...
3.2
Windows
...
3.3
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Description

Flight Unlimited is a civilian flight simulator. You can choose between an Extra 300s, a Bellanca Decathlon, a Sukhoi SU-31, a Pitts S-2B and a Grob S-103. Take part in aerobatic competitions or, if you're a beginner, learn how to fly in 34 lessons.

Flight Unlimited stresses reality: All ground textures and elevations are based on real satellite photodata, and the flight model has a heavy basis in real world physics. The manual is quite detailed, and combined with the in-flight tutorials, the user is provided with a very gradual introduction to flying.

A very comprehensive piece of work, and a defining title for Looking Glass, whose only competition at the time was Microsoft Flight Simulator (which look immediately dated compared side by side to Flight Unlimited).

Screenshots

Flight Unlimited DOS Entering a loop in the Decathlon over Sugarloaf with the smoke system activated.
Flight Unlimited DOS View out the rear of the Grob's virtual cockpit.
Flight Unlimited DOS The Sukhoi's virtual cockpit. Instrument panel is dark due to its angle to the sun.
Flight Unlimited DOS The basic cockpit view. Note the tiled & mirrored terrain.

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Ground-breaking and gorgeous, though not without its limitations. DOS SiliconClassics (843)
One of the best sims ever! DOS Henning Haraldsen (3)

The Press Says

Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Sep, 1995 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Gamezilla DOS 1996 94 out of 100 94
Joystick (French) DOS Apr, 1995 92 out of 100 92
Freak DOS Mar, 1995 92 out of 100 92
Macworld Macintosh Jan, 1997 8.5 out of 10 85
PC Player (Germany) DOS May, 1995 84 out of 100 84
macHOME Macintosh 1997 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
High Score DOS Aug, 1995 4 out of 5 80
CD Player DOS 1996 8 out of 10 80
Power Play DOS Jul, 1995 62 out of 100 62

Forums

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Trivia

Credits

Viewing the credits for the game brings up a neat tiltable "plate" where gelatinous cubes fall down one by one and bounce on it; each cube bears the face of one of the programmers. Like the game, this section is also based on real-world physics, as cubes bounce, wobble, bend, and deform as they hit the plate. The user can even tilt the plate to alter the strike, bounce, and roll of the cubes!

Error message

When a fatal error occurs, the following message is displayed above the register dump:

Someday you will ache like I ache.

Graphics

The graphics engine for Flight Unlimited was designed with the future in mind. Most graphics cards back then might have been able to hit 1024x768 if they were lucky, but the game was designed to output even higher than that. It even supported old VR helmets.

Technology

The DOS version of this game does not interact with it's 32-bit DOS extender very well; it makes the game unstable, and also makes it nearly impossible to capture screenshots from it.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • June 1996 (Issue #143) – Special Artistic Achievement Award for Physical Model
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #5 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (plane crashes with the physics model)
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #97 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
Information also contributed by Adam Baratz

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by robotriot (8637), ArtfulGamer (14) and Geoffrey Palmer (133)