iF-22 is the game that almost wasn't. I'm sure you either followed or at least heard about the battle that Interactive Magic had with NovaLogic and Lockheed-Martin concerning ownership of the trademarks associated with the plane and it's name. If you haven't, let's just say it was short but ugly. Fortunately, I-Magic was allowed to publish the game with only a slight name change; the original name was to be 'iF-22 Raptor'. All ugliness aside, the final result has produced an excellent game, it would have been a true loss if the game had never been produced.
What we have here is a combat flight sim that concentrates on one plane, and models that plane exceedingly well. You have two theaters of operation to choose from, Bosnia and the Ukraine. Graphics for the terrain are produced using I-Magic's proprietary Demon-1 technology. The landscape surfaces are modeled in 3D, then overlayed with terrain detail taken from real satellite maps. The result is simply spectacular.
While the terrain graphics can get a little blocky at an extremely close range, the iF-22 is generally a high flying plane, so you will hardly notice the pixellation. On a side note, I-Magic's next sim of this type will model the iA-10, which IS a low-flying craft. They are working on the Demon-2 technology now to combat the pixellation in a game that will certainly be more sensitive to it. 3D acceleration is supported via Direct3D to support the widest array of hardware. The accelerated graphics are absolutely amazing. Even unaccelerated graphics alone beat out anything else in the genre to date.
Sounds in the game are accurately rendered, there's even some good music playing in the background. The standard radio responses get a little repetitive, you're always hearing the same 'splash one', or 'I hit him, but he's not down'. In typical I-Magic style, iF-22 may be configured in so many different ways that anyone can can enjoy the game and still find it challenging. There are difficulty settings for enemy ability, flight model, invulnerabilities, limited or unlimited fuel/ammo, number of wingmen, and more. Cockpit art is not only beautiful, but all the buttons and switches actually work. Instead of using keyboard commands, you can use your mouse to look around, change settings and flip switches. Very nice touch.
One of the most interesting features of the game is the way it creates missions and campaigns. When you decide to fly a mission, the game generates a number of them at that time. Play all or some of them, then generate new ones. There is no fixed number of missions in the game. Since missions may be created at any time, you will literally never run out of them. Campaign mode works the same way. Start a campaign, and the game generates one. Finish it, then generate another. There is no limit to the number of campaigns possible. So in effect you have a game that has an unlimited amount of gameplay.
All in all, this is an extremely solid game with an excellent flight model, great graphics, and unlimited gameplay. And since I can't imagine getting sick of it anytime soon... you get the picture. Multiplayer is supported via IPX, direct connection, modem, and Internet using Kali. Multiplayer games include dogfighting, capture the flag, and cooperative play. Players on the same side in cooperative may play leader or wingman.
Bottom Line: Excellent graphics, flight model, and gameplay. Terrain taken from real satellite maps looks terrific. Demon-1 technology looks great even unaccelerated. Accelerated graphics are spectacular. Unlimited missions and campaigns make for unending replayability.
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