Hellcats Over the Pacific

aka: Hellcats Over the Pacific: World War II Flight Simulator
Moby ID: 29044
Add-on (official)

Description

Hellcats Over the Pacific is an early 1990's air combat simulator for the Macintosh platform. It features the World War II era Grumman F6F Hellcat in both land and carrier-based missions around the Solomon Islands. Combat scenarios include air-air, air-ground and air-sea missions with both guns and bombs. The player's objectives are to achieve the rank of Captain and collect awards for accomplishing the eight included missions.

Hellcats, programmed by Eric Parker of Parsoft, uses special graphics routines that only redraw parts of the screen that change from frame to frame for better performance. A landmark achievement on the Mac platform, it offers fast 3D polygonal color graphics and a detailed flight model for its day.

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Screenshots

Credits (Macintosh version)

4 People (3 developers, 1 thanks)

Written by
Sound and B/W Rendering
Manual and Documentation
Database Design
Additional Programming
Special Thanks To

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 95% (based on 1 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 1 reviews)

One of the best flight sims of its era

The Good
Hellcats is, without doubt, the most realistic simulation of flight available on any microcomputer of its era - 1991.

Most sims of the era used a table lookup system that looked at a series of inputs, bucketed them between limits, and produced an output like "turn at this rate". As the plane changed its orientation you would notice the performance of the plane would suddenly "snap". In contrast, Hellcats used continuous formulas for almost every calculation, which provided a much smoother simulation that you could just "feel" was light years ahead of anything else.

Hellcats also featured a graphics system that was equally advanced compared to the competition. Most games of the era ran at 320x240 at 16 colors or maybe VGA. Hellcats had no resolution limits, normally being played at 640 x 480, but would support any resolution your Mac could drive. It also supported up to three screens. How? Through a system of incremental drawing that dramatically reduced the load on the bus and gave the CPU much more time to work. Framerates and detail was much higher than any other sim of the era.

The spare CPU time allowed the game to have "live" objects throughout the very large game world. You could ignore the mission itself and just fly around looking for stuff, as if the game were one enormous fortune cookie. If you happened across an enemy airbase miles away, sure enough, it's guns would be there shooting at you.

The Bad
There's no real missions system. About the same time that Hellcats came out, Red Baron was showing the world the way a missions progression was supposed to work. Medals, cutscenes, etc. Hellcats, on the other hand, had eight missions with no sort of progression, and that's that. On the upside, the missions included random elements, so they had considerably more replay value than any single mission in Red Baron.

Additionally, the game didn't have any sort of structural limits to the flight system. That formula-based approach was used for all of the flight, which allowed very unrealistic manoeuvres. For instance, you could dive down until you were going 500 mph, then drop the flaps and pull up at 40 gee. This was an obvious hole in an otherwise solid physics system.

The Bottom Line
Certainly one of the best games of its era, and ranked #7 most influential game on the Mac ever. What more can be said?

Macintosh · by Maury Markowitz (266) · 2009

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  • MobyGames ID: 29044
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by SiliconClassics.

Additional contributors: jean-louis.

Game added August 5, 2007. Last modified March 31, 2024.