a game by Mission Studios
Just In Case You Glossed Over the intro, I'd better repeat the gist so you don't get confused. I'm slightly barking and sometimes hear voices in my head. One of these voices comes from 'Billy', just about the most obnoxious and argumentative bloke you'd be likely to meet anywhere in the world. He's a bastard and a wanker too. And he's completely negative. I hate him, especially when he makes the 'buzzing' noise which wakes me up at 4.30 in the morning. Unfortunately, he seems to want to co-write this review and there's precious little I can do to stop him (short of drilling into my temple with a Black & Decker - but that's exactly what he wants me to do, so I won't). He'll no doubt announce his entrances, so to avoid confusion I'll announce as well. I'm 'me', and he's (obviously) 'Billy', lere goes...
It's the new Jetfighter game...
Me: I played the first Jetfighter on the Amiga yonks ago, and also the sequel Jetfighter 2 on the pc. It moved like greased lightning, that one! And it was fully light-sourced too! But, you know, it still somehow looked a trifle 'flat'. Yup, even back in those days. This latest Jetfighter incarnation, however, is anything but flat!
Billy: Do what? What are you? Some kind of sodding advertising copywriter or something? Arsehole. Of course it's no. flat. This is 1997. Nothing's flat anymore. Tosser.
Me: Give me a chance, please...
Billy: No, why should I? You'll just pussy about like a half-witted ponce as usual. You'll simply stack up a bunch of good points, and then counter them with a couple of flimsy minus points at the end.
Me: Er... you don't know that for certain...
Billy: Go on then! Prove me wrong! The front end...
Me: Jetfighter 3's front end is quite nice. It's an FMV-ish aircraft carrier 'walkabout'. You can navigate through the ship in much the same way you navigated through The 7th Guest or Myst or what have you. There's the Ops room, the Briefing room, and, among others, there's even your own cabin - where you can access e-mail during the nonlinear ongoing storyline.
Billy: Jesus Christ! See? You're doing it already. You know fully well that this pre-orchestrated walkthrough business is engaging for about five minutes. It's eve candy. Why don't you say what you really thought? Go on, say it.
Me: Erm, well, it would've been quite nice if it was, um, Doomy or something, but I don't think it really, er...
Billy: Right, so you wanted to walk into your cabin and have your wingman take a swing at you for shooting him down on the previous mission. Yes or no?
Me: Errrr... well...
Billy: And you also thought it'd be nice if there was some simulated 'totty'. A strip poker game in the mess, with a lass. Did you or did you not? Tits and so on?
Me: Shut up, shut up, you're embarrassing me...
The flying bits....
Billy: Tell them about the resolution. If you don't, I will.
Me: Erm, well, Jb3 is pretty processor-hungry (for good reason) and while there are several hi-res viewing modes on offer, I was forced into the standard 320x200. But then I'm fussy about screen update speeds...
Billy: Oh yeah? And you think nobody else is? And you also failed to point out you were using a P133. And how about the badly spelt mission descriptions? This for instance: "UN Agents report a drug processing plant located in the jungle just east of Punta Gorda. It processes cocaine from raw Columbian cocoa leaves." So, 60 quid for a gram of chocolate then.
Me: (Seethe). You think you're so-o-o-o clever, don't you?
Billy: Well, I'm cleverer than you, turd brain.
Turd brain gets stroppy...
Me: Okay, I've had it! Go on, you finish the review.
Billy: I thought you'd never ask, pico-nads. Right. Flight sims have been the same for years and years and years, pretty much. And JF3 is no exception when it comes down to the mission structure - we've all seen it and played it a thousand times before. We're in 1997, after all. This having been said, however, the strength of JF3 comes not so much in its numerous campaigns and quickstart missions, but in the shape of its graphics engine and geographic-database. What you get on the CD, you see, is accurately mapped terrain detail for most of South America. Yes... accurately mapped... most of South America. Three and a half million square miles of stuff to fly upside-down over, at a height of nine feet, with virtually no pause for accessing (as long as you've installed smartdrive). And data disks are, apparently, to ensue - with an unspoken promise that the entire world will be available sooner rather than later.
Hey! How about that? Planet Earth. And - if the game designers get their act together and next time actually try to do something novel and inventive with the code at their disposal - who knows: we might be finally able to kiss goodbye to Microsoft's no guns Flight Sim series.
But what about now?
Me: Well, you made out like I was a prat, yet your snoozy pontifications still didn't manage to reach any solid conclusions. You didn't even say whether or not JF3 is worth buying.
Billy: I'll sort that out now. JF3 pisses on F-22 (reviewed a couple of months back) and that scored 90%. The padlock view is brilliant, the sams, flak and so forth are for the most part visually splendid, the enemy pilots' ai is cool, and on and on and on. Unfortunately, there's often so much shit going down around your plane that it feels like you're in one of those 'Independence Day' mega scenes, which is a problem. The game's too hard, basically, and the pacing is wrong - which could easily prevent you from getting 'involved'. Still, you can always select Free Flight, and go 'city buzzing', following the leccy pylons from one population centre to another (before soaring to 40,000 feet where you can see the curvature of the Earth). Oh, and I just forgot to mention that there's an FA/18 Hornet to fly, as well as the F-22 - and there's one of those giant anoraky on-line reference libraries, too (which contains some pretty neat photos, as it happens).
Yeah, Jetfighter 3's great as it stands (given a fair deal of deja vu), but it could be totally unbelievable eventually... I've got zillions of ideas of things they could add.
Me: Like what?
Billy: Hah! You think I'd tell you??
Me: Yes! Go on, tell me! And if you don't I really will drill into my skull and finish you off for good!
Billy: You're bluffing again.
Me: Wanna bet? Suck on this!!!
2018-11-02 Jetfighter 3 game added.