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SummarySimplistic flight model, ugly and unfinished.
The GoodI've got this game in a compilation pack many years ago. I remember trying it as a kid, but not having a joystick at the time, found it to be very difficult to control and it didn't run or look very good on the family computer at the time.
As far as simulators go, all the main essentials are there. Big maps, detailed cockpit with lots of buttons, instant action and a campaign to play through.
The BadHowever, the game is terrifically ugly. The developers thought it would be a cool idea to use satellite imagery for the landscapes and while that is certainly a good idea, only for the past few years has that actually been a technically viable solution. The texture resolutions available for developers to use on mainstream hardware in 1997 just weren't high enough for satellite images to look like anything more than ugly smears of colour on low resolution meshes.
Additional small details like some sort of visual feedback of what amount of throttle you are using is also missing. The wash from the jet exhaust is simply a static yellow texture. Trails from rockets look ugly, explosion effects seemed to be an after thought and the smoke effect from damaged jets is a buggy mess.
All of this could be forgiven if it was fun to fly, but the flight model seems only as good as what was available in other sims from very early in the decade of this game's release. The roll rate of the F-22 in this game is cartoonishly fast and doesn't really seem to affect the flight of the aircraft. You can spin around for minutes and it doesn't seem to change your trajectory. This was using the "Realistic" flight model.
The Bottom LineIt feels like a shell of a sim, not up to par with what other developers were releasing at the time. Ugly, buggy and just a general feeling that this game was released before the developers could finish it properly. Maybe there is something good here if you're willing to dig deep into it, but its flaws stopped me from giving it more than an hour's worth of tinkering.
You'd be much better off playing something from the Jane's series of simulators if you feel like playing a sim from this era of computing.