Title JetPilot Game Type Flight sim Publisher Vulcan Players 1 Compatibility OCS HD Installable Yes Submission Dante Mendes De Patta (firstname.lastname@example.org) Review Well, JetPilot is by far the most complex, hard and realistic flight sim for the Amiga. Actually, it claims to have a flight model so accurate that it's within 10% or less of the real thing, and it's true. And why can I say this? Because I've played almost all flight sims, in several platforms, since 1984 (starting with F15 Strike Eagle on Apple II) to nowadays (DiD's F22, Janes F15 and Falcon 4 on PC), and few flight sims are comparable to JetPilot in the flight model issue. So, I can say that JetPilot's realism and attention to detail is well above other Amiga titles, putting it on a similar league together with newer PC flight sims (in realism and flight modeling, not in graphics). For example, it is the only Amiga flight sim that enables the player to go into a flat spin, the engine can "flame out" at high angle of attack (due to insufficient flux in the air intakes), or you can pull too many G's and break the airframe limit, if you pull back too hard at take off, your tail can drag on the tarmac... notice that any of these detailed features in the simulation are enough to scare the casual player. And now, I must say: this game is NOT for the casual player, it has NOT an "easy flight" option, so, it is a really hard game, just made for the hard-core flight sim audience. This hard-core flight sim audience will also like the 2 airplanes found in Jet Pilot: the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the English Electric Lightning, great and classic jet fighters from the early '60s. The F-104 Starfighter was a fast american fighter, one of the first jets in service to fly over Mach 2 speeds, but its short wings makes it hard to fly in low speed turns (i.e. you can spin out of control sometimes). The English Electric Lightning has similar specs, and has entered service around the same time (early '60s too), but the curiously shaped wings of the Lightning makes it a good flyer, with good overall handling. The flight sim managed to include a really detailed radar system for each aircraft, with azimute/elevation controls. The cockpits are also really detailed and complex, with all features you'll find in a real airplane, and the "virtual cockpit" or "padlock view" works very nicely, you can look over your shoulder and see the fuel tanks and missiles hanging below the wings. The sense of speed and height is also very good, is almost possible to fly without looking too much at your dials, because there's a good sense of distance in the graphics. The graphics are not impressive by today standards, obviously, and in the end of 1996 (when JetPilot was released), perhaps people were expecting at least some Gourad-shading and some other nice graphical features, 'cos at that time, some flight sims on the PC were showing awesome full texture-mapped graphics (EF2000...). But JetPilot is, graphically, not very different from other Amiga flight sims, with just 16 or 32 color graphics, plain polygons and a flat terrain. The 3D objects are well done, with the airplanes showing marks on the wings, and the missiles and fuel tanks hanging below their wings and fuselage, but, as I've said before, it's not much different from the graphics in Tornado for example, just a bit more detailed. But, if you have a fast AGA Amiga, you can play JetPilot in 640x512 resolution. With this resolution, JetPilot looks very nice, resembling the PC flight sim Su27 Flanker (this one is dubbed to have the most realistic flight model in a flight sim...Su27 players, read this: JetPilot is as good as Su27 in flight model, and it is way harder! ;-) About the speed issue, I've tried it on two machines: A1200/'030-50MHz 32Mb RAM, and A1200/'060-50MHz 16Mb RAM. On the '030, I can only play it at acceptable speed when setting the detail to Medium, and in 320x256 resolution; it plays at about 8-12 fps on this setup. Surprisingly, on the '060 it runs very well, with around 20 fps in 320x256 resolution, and around 12 fps in 640x512, and still very playable! I can say "surprisingly" 'cos I've tried Amiga TFX in these two machines, and the overall speed was a total disappointment, TFX is sluggish in any CPU. On the other hand, JetPilot can be played on an '030, but it really takes advantage of a '060 accelerator. Another good point is the control method and the in-game flight manual. The control is either with analoge joystick or on the mouse, both worked well, the mouse is a bit hard to get used to, but after some practice you can fly it on the mouse as well. Many controls on the cockpit panel can be "clicked" and activated by the mouse pointer, another nice feature, only seen in newer PC flight sims. About the game's sounds, the engine sound and the afterburner sound is good and realistic, you can hear the "sonic boom" at Mach 1 speed, and after this, you hear nothing more (in external views) because you're faster than sound! The ground control radio voice is done by the internal "speech" of the Amiga, with quite interesting results, considering the limitations of this speech system, but sometimes the voice is a bit tiresome. I've managed to complete almost all training missions (required to fly any of the combat missions), and it's very, very difficult and challenging. For example, after a successful interception, I had to land back at my base with 'zero visibility', guided by control tower, it was a moment of absolute tension, because the minor mistake could cost the entire mission. Yes, if you fight bravely to shoot down the enemy fighters, and, when landing, you touch too hard on the runaway, it is ALL OVER, your mission is FAILED, and you have to do it all again! This game doesn't forgive the minor mistake, just like in real life. The worst, and most frustrating consequence of your failure, is that only a black screen appears with the words "Crashed" or "Gear collapsed" or something like that... no crash sequence, no texture mapped crater on the ground, no sound effects, just the black screen...This lack of effects and "gameplay features" to keep the player hooked is the major complaint I have with Jet Pilot. When you hit the enemy airplane with your missiles, just a couple of pixels flying away from the impact are used to represent the "explosion"...no fancy sound effects too...no wingman saying "good kill!" or something else, as I was used with the PC flight sims...All this could add a lot to Jet Pilot's atmosphere, but sadly, it's lacking. Ok, there is the fact that Jet Pilot is a game made to run reasonably well on any Amiga ranging from an A600/2Megs to an A4000/060, so, I will forgive the lack of effects and the "black screen". Ok, let's see the good and bad parts in Jet Pilot: Good: -Most realistic ever on the Amiga, physics and flight modeling are superb -Nice cockpits, 360 degree rotation of the pilot's head, detailed radar systems and ATC -Perfect controls and plane handling -Detailed 3D airplane objects, lots of ground objects -The 3D engine gives a good sense of speed and height sometimes. -The engine sound effect is great -Good AI of the enemy airplanes Bad: -Too hard, too frustrating, can't be played by anyone else than hard-core flight sim players -Flat terrain, lack of mountains, lack of texture-mapping or gourad-shading -Lack of AGA-256 colours and/or Graphic Card Support -Lack of visual effects/explosions/missile smoke trails etc.etc. Lastly, all I want to see in the Amiga is a flight sim with the depth and realism of JetPilot, but with a more advanced 3D engine to match today's Amiga hardware, specially graphic cards and PPC accelerators. Developers will say: "but flight sims aren't so popular, we won't have big profit on it"... Rubbish! Just release a good texture-mapped flight sim with PPC and graphic card support and gameplay options to satisfy both casual players and hard-core players. Developers and publishers, remember: good games sells well, doesn't matter about the game type. The bottom line: Jetpilot is the most realist flight sim on Amiga, worth a try just to see the complexity and depth of the simulation. Fans of the flight sim 'Tornado' will love it.