Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Fighter Pilot'

Rating:5 User: winston

Fighter Pilot was one of the earlier flight simulation games to appear on the Spectrum, and it was ahead of its time. Depicting the USAF's F15 "Eagle", it presents the player with several options: most of which allow the player to get to grips with the aircraft - such as Landing Practise. The game also has the option to fly in weather conditions from nil wind and perfect visibility, to conditions of turbulence and wind, as well as "flying blind" in the fog with only instruments for reference above 50 feet.

The combat game itself consists of protecting your airfields from enemy fighter/bomber aircraft. Typically, you locate the enemy using your flight computer, intercept, and then dogfight. Four difficulty levels are available, which change the characteristics of the enemy (but don't change the behaviour of your aircraft). A higher level enemy will detect your approach sooner, and will make more manuevres during dogfights. If you take sufficient damage, it's game over; you can repair damage, take on fuel, and re-stock ammunition by landing at one of the air bases.

Some interesting points about the simulation is that it simulates angle of attack - something rare in most flight simulation games until 32 bit computers were commonplace. This is most noticable when you slow the aircraft - at low speeds, to maintain level flight you must fly at a significantly nose-high attitude. It also has six degrees of freedom, one of the things that a flying game must achieve to be properly called a simulation. The six degrees of freedom and angle of attack are simulated well enough that it is actually possible to attempt "knife edge flight" - rolling the aircraft 90 degrees to the horizon, and using the rudder to keep the nose up so that the tail and fuselage sides generate enough lift for flight. It was the attention to detail that made Fighter Pilot much more than just a dogfighting game, but something that could be explored in its own right.