Written by  :  Kyle Levesque (935)
Written on  :  Jan 27, 2011
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars

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Memories of remote camera guided missiles.

The Good

  • Mission length was perfect, 7-12 minutes to complete most objectives, not including the dog-fighting.
  • Good variety of enemies for the time, several MiG models, helicopters, AA gun trucks, SAM trucks.
  • Realistic black out/red out from G-forces.
  • Good HUD options.
  • Inventory screen showed remaining missiles, as well as plane damage (seen in screen shot).
  • Good variety of missile weapons; more than just being of different damage capacity, you were given missiles with different applications:
    • Sidewinders: Heat seeking / General Purpose
    • Mavericks: TV Guided high speed (your viewpoint would change to missile and you would steer it) Air-to-Air
    • TOW2: Wire guided high yield for ground targets.
    • Rockets: Short range Air-to-Air or Air-to-Ground.
  • Realistic Chaff and Flare tactics.
  • Camera would go external to show incoming missiles, you could still manoeuvre your plane in these sequences.
  • It was 3D!!! In 1991, same year Battle Toads came out, and two years before Star Fox! Frankly, compare the screen shots and I think it is graphically superior.
  • Menu Screens were bright, used appropriate colours.
  • Targets were clearly what they were, with visual differences that could be seen at the games resolution.
  • It's been 11 years since I played this game, and I still remember the music by note. A rare form of nostalgia, or was there just the one track?
  • From the blaring "schaar" of the after-burners to the in cockpit computer urging "shoot", everything has a recognizable sound.
  • Until AC:04 I don't see a point in asking a flight simulator to have an engaging or endearing story. I will say though that you are given a character, and that the flavour text between missions is well written.

The Bad

  • The frame rate for this game, drawing on all 16bits of the Genesis' processing juice, can lag below 15fps. This did little to kill my enthusiasm for playing a 3D game back then, but in hindsight it is the worst aspect of the game-play.
  • There may have been too many missions. This seems a strange thing to complain about, but sacrificing the memory for this missions might have left room for more terrain and graphics files.
  • Again, the frame-rate makes the aliasing (jagged pixel edges) very noticeable during play.
  • The lack of elevated terrain felt a little artificial at times.
  • The theme song could drive you nuts after a while.
  • The reasoning behind the wars taking place in Korea, the US and elsewhere wasn't explored. In 1991, I need a reason to be blowing up Russian equipment.

The Bottom Line

This game was one of the first I had access to that allowed a full 3 axes of movement in a full 3D environment. The idea that a loop-de-loop was possible was just awesome. Other plane simulators (on console) at the time were vector style games were you just moved up or down. The AI of the enemies was limited, but the fact that the Genesis was capable of dog-fighting was pretty neat at the time and is still impressive in retrospect. Not many other games on the console showed this amount of 3D development, and the console had only been developed on by western companies (not in-house Sega) for two years when it came out. This game is very dated due to the fact that the concept became the norm for flight sims in the 3D age, but it deserves its place in history for doing it very well right from the start. I still have fond memories of blowing up sky-scrapers and enemies planes in unconventional ways.