Game Over Online ~ JetFighter

GameOver Game Reviews - JetFighter (c) Global Star Software, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher JetFighter (c) Global Star Software
System Requirements Palm OS
Overall Rating 72%
Date Published Wednesday, January 9th, 2002 at 10:03 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Jetfighter was originally a franchise established in PC gaming. It bears a similar resemblance to NovaLogic's Comanche series, only its focus is on fighter jets rather than helicopters. Both emerged as arcade flight sims and catered to the popular crowd. This was back in the days when flight sims meant more than Microsoft's latest Flight Simulator. Back then, flight sims were either ultra-realistic or arcade-like. There was never any median and titles from the former camp would not cater to those looking for some quick thrills. Things changed in the flight sim genre though. As more and more people flocked to the instant gratification of first-person shooters and real-time strategy games, reading a three hundred-page manual before even touching the game became unfashionable. The hardcore flight sims began slowly incorporating features to downplay the heavy-handed realism, finally letting the casual player jump in without memorizing fifty keystrokes or owning full mock-up gear of an F-16.

With that said, this left franchises like Jetfighter in a bit of a tight spot. Moreover, the last Jetfighter title that came out for the PC was fairly underwhelming. Jetfighter for Palm continues the Jetfighter tradition. It is a pure arcade flight sim. This time, you are placed in an F-15 fighter jet but of course, like all arcade shooters, the differences between aircraft are very little. On the PC, Jetfighter at least tried to maintain a loose tie to the flight sim genre. Things characteristic of flight sims include HUDs, cockpit layouts, etc. Jetfighter for Palm has these although it is understandable they do not have the latest in toggleable flight controls. You simply get an indicator for how much fuel you have left and when you should think about bailing out of your ride.

One of the things that flight sims used to differentiate themselves from an arcade shooter was the incorporation of certain waypoints. Your mission took you to certain hotspots in which you were instructed to bomb, dogfight, etc. An arcade shooter was one where you are almost stationary and hordes of enemies come to swarm you. This Palm rendition of Jetfighter is a curious mix of the two. You certainly get the 360 degree flying but it is all for naught because your targets are on collision courses with you. All manners of jets, fuel barrels and supplies chart the same flight plan. Those thinking you will be able to pull off moves in intense dogfights will be disappointed. This is an arcade game and there is no doubt about it.

Even in the first level, there are enough enemy copters and jets charging at you that I was reminded of the classic Beachhead. Here, the gameplay is about as sophisticated as that. It's rather a pity because Jetfighter has some colorful visuals, for a Palm title. The 360 degree freedom is completely wasted simply because there are so many bogies on your radar that you don't need to swerve or travel to find one. The controls are responsive against the frenetic action. You can opt to fire missiles or guns. The difference being the former makes a kill quicker. However, I thought it would have been beneficial to add weapons loadouts and choice of aircraft.

This title works amongst most modern Palm PDAs. It requires a minimum of Palm OS 3.5, which should be everything from the Palm IIIc onwards. The colour version weighs in at one megabyte and is definitely the superior looking version of the two. The monochrome version takes up slightly less space.

A few years ago, I saw an Elite clone for the Palm OS. It was an interesting title in itself because it allowed for some one on one dogfights albeit, it certainly was not as sophisticated as modern flight sim fans are accustomed to now. The one major drawback of that initial release was the inability to move in a 360-degree manner. If it were to take on the Jetfighter engine, I'm sure it would have a good chance at a hit game. I found myself dismayed at the fact that I got the whole genre for Jetfighter incorrect. But buyers who will look at the box art, website and screenshots will think they are getting a 2D flight sim. As an arcade shooter, it is not too innovative even though it has the technical fundamentals to excel more. Its monotony rings up memories of Beachhead 2000 and that surely isn't a good association. If Jetfighter's longevity on the PC is any indication, here's hoping that the many sequels of Jetfighter for Palm will be opportunities for improvement.

[06/10] Addictiveness
[12/20] Gameplay
[12/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[08/10] Program Size
[02/05] Sound
[03/05] Discreetness
[14/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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