I must admit I am never one for playing flight simulators, they are normally too difficult to play, sporting awful graphics, bad sound effects and stupid controls. Another reason why I never play flight simulators is that they are so boring - you fly for about half an hour, do the odd loop the loop fly under a bridge and that's it! But hold on! Perhaps I should say 'I never played flight simulators until coming across Sublogic's Jet Simulator'. If you were ever lucky enough to see the demo of Radar Raiders (sadly never released) then you would have been impressed at Sublogic's mastery of the flight simulator, their ability to make it a bit different and their understanding of just what makes a good game.
Jet is a simulation of both the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-18 Hornet Jet fighters - both of these have tremendous power and agility and are, so Sublogic say, easy to fly. Unlike some other flight simulators Sublogic Jet isn't just a single game, it is many different games. Each testing one or more aspects of flying and dog-fighting against the computer. Interestingly the game also enables you to pit your wits against another player! By hooking up two Amigas you can blast the merry hell out of each other for hours on end. One great plus is that if you have the earlier Sublogic Flight Simulator II package, then you can load in scenery files from that disk and have a completely different game.
What To Fly
The first thing you will be greeted with when booting up the disk is the menu screen; there are ten options, one giving you a demonstration of the F-18 bombing ground targets.
To call Jet a mere flight simulator is a bit of an over-simplifcation though. Most flight simulators place you in the cockpit of an aircraft and leave you to the controls. With Jet, you can not only view the game from the cockpit, but you can look at your progress from many different geographical points. For example, the air traffic control tower. You can view your progress in a variety of different orientations (including a sweeping arc around the plane as it is flying), and, if you have to bail out, then you can parachute your way to relative safety whilst still looking on! It's a bit like having an out of body experience!
Now comes the hardware. You can select all sorts of different armaments ranging from the AIM-7 missile through to the AIM-9, the AGM 65's and the MK-82 bomb - a quick look up in Jane's catalogue and they're all there! So if you like messing up a few acres of land go for the MK-82's. If, however you like taking on air to air targets slap in a few AIM's and get out there.
With the AIM missiles you can do some serious damage, especially if you are adept enough at taking out a few oil containers (loosely termed as "ground targets"). Why is it that most U.S. flight simulators take place in desert situations and always involve bombing oil containers?
I mustn't leave out the other options though, such as the sea target tests (bombing ships) and the sea based free flight which is essentially just an acrobatics and landing practice game the scenery is, however, beautiful - it just goes to show that solid 3D representation can be done, though with Sublogic's standards. Jet will be hard to beat.
As already stated it is possible to load in different scenery files depicting different American states including San Francisco, Miami and Dallas. Some more scenes are being planned and the Flight simulator II scenery files can also be loaded in, so if you liked the gameplay of the Learjet or the Cessna planes, try out the scenery with a missile bristling F-18, you'll love it.
Shooting down Commies in their MIG-21's is quite demanding, this leads me to ask the question "must the game be so fast?" I mean, this is quite possibly the most demanding of all the menu options where you are put against two (or more) MIG fighters, (the customary jet used by the enemy) they were used during Suez, they were seen in use over Afghanistan and they are also used in the Chinese Armed forces. Okay so they have been superceded in some ways, but they still remain the classic fighter jet plane, and the way they fly and fight is, as far as I can see, quite accurate.
Playing with a mouse is a novel feeling, but I personally found it easier to get on with the game playing it with a joystick. The ailerons react faster on a FI6 than on the FI8 (this is why the FI6 is termed a "ballistic" fighter) therefore it can react much quicker to the demands of pulling back on the stick for fast altitude climb (if you can stomach it in real life). Of course flying computerised systems can quite easily feel like the real thing because so many modern jets (the F16 and F18 included) are flown by wire - i.e, the controls are sent by computer to the mechanism for moving ailerons, altering thrust and so on...
For taking out MIGs, I would personally recommend the AIM-9 sidewinders. They are heat seeking, they are accurate, but you will have to be close in order to set them off as they only have a 5 mile flight capacity. An M61 gun will take on the MIGs when dog-fighting (and if they bail out then you can shoot their pilots in the sky). The best course of action is to trail the enemy, constantly firing your 500 rounds and then set of a side winder to finish them off - it will track better if you are behind the MIG (there's more heat that way) and if you are real close, then you will be glad of the F16's ability to pull up and away before the MIG blows - though I'm not sure if taking out the enemy too close will take you out as well - I never get close enough to find out!
The Dogfight has a number of objects and rules, and keeping clear of the Red's classic "Atoll" air-to-air missiles is a hard job at the best of times. There are a 1000 points to be earned upon blowing up the MIG 21s and 1500 for each MIG 23 - now I know that points matter to some people, but the best way of playing this game is to avoid looking at the total, and just keep an eye on the fuel consumption and rocket to weight ratio (it affects the plane's reaction) just waste a few MIGs - if you can.
Take It For A Spin
Sublogic Jet is a violent game, there's no doubting that, and it is all the more enjoyable for it. With the inclusion of an obvious enemy its playability is improved dramatically over other flight simulators for the Amiga, including Sublogic's own Flight Simulator II.
The option of choosing different weapons systems is a little unreal. In reality you don't just choose a few choice weapons and get on with it, and if you are taking on MIGs you will not want to hold bombs. If you want to play the "middle east" scenarios, then it is a good thing to consider having a few bombs for blowing up oil bases. The MK82 requires only a basic accuracy.
The MIGs are traditionally faster than the F16 or the F18, but their relative thrusts are pretty weak by comparison, so the four planes are well matched as far as gameplay is concerned. A great deal is taken for granted so that the game is more playable in the long run.
Generally speaking Jet is one of the easier simulators to play as far as flying is concerned, you have to concentrate on your radar and weapons systems though, as the ground to air missiles and the MIGs are ruthless - as they would be in a real life situation. Jet itself is a game that will appeal to many people who are turned off by the usual flight simulators, sometimes flying can be the raison d'etre of a simulator, but the gameplay is vastly improved if you throw in a bit of violence, some destruction and a real enemy.
Add to this the possibility of loading in different scenery and I think you'll agree that Sublogic's Jet Simulator is a game that will have lasting appeal. I recommend it.
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