Fasten your seatbelts, jet jockeys, a hot new flight simulator is blazing across the sky. Turn and Burn grabs you from the moment you wind up your F-14's engines to the moment you land safely back on your aircraft carrier.
Learn and Yearn
Some dictators never get the message. When a certain country ignores America's No-Fly Zone and sends top-of-the-line MiG-29s flying over the Mediterranean, the Navy jumps into action. To sweep the skies clear, you take off from your carrier in one of America's premier fighters, the F-14 Tomcat, armed with a 20mm cannon, three kinds of air-to-air missiles, and two types of electronic countermeasures (ECMs). Intense dogfights result as you blast through 16 missions against swarms of MiGs, subs, a Blackbird spy plane, an oil rig, and an island military base.
The tough missions are complicated by tricky controls. You don't have any control over your jet's rudder, which means every turn you make is a banked turn. Later in the game, when the enemy pilots are more numerous and more evasive, accurate targeting becomes a deadly problem as you careen all over the sky trying to keep a single < bogey in your sights.
- Oncoming fighters won't ram you. As they charge past you...
- ...switch to the rear view to see if the enemy circles around behind you. If he does, accelerate and try to lose him before he gets off a clean shot.
The look of the game makes you want to immediately strap yourself into the cockpit. You have a standard from-the-cockpit view that gives you a wide look at the skies and seas as the Mode 7 graphics rotate in front of you. On view within the cockpit are all your weapons systems and radar displays, plus you have a screen in the center for full-motion video replays of your kills.
Best of all, Turn and Burn provides an outside-the-cockpit view that looks backwards from the nose of the jet to display the enemies chasing your tail. There's good detail in this perspective -- your pilot turns his head to watch as enemy fighters circle around and lock onto your Tomcat. It's intriguing to switch back and forth between the forward and backward views as a MiG blasts past and then banks toward you.
- To launch, hold Up and Button B until your Thrust hits 210 percent. When the Flight Officer salutes, the Catapult engages and off you go.
- As every pilot knows, taking off is easy, but landing is tricky, especially on a moving carrier. Master the Practice Landings mode before you attempt missions. Your approach speed is crucial.
- When it's hard to see, as in foggy Mission 15, rely on your AW ACS Operational Radar Grid to find subs, missiles, fighters, and even your own carrier.
Decent sounds partially complement the exciting visuals. While you get the full sonic thrust of your engines as you take off and hit the wild blue yonder, you don't get the powerful explosions you expect when you blast an enemy from the sky. The full-motion replays, your own splashdown after a crash, and the radio are all, unfortunately, silent. The music is appropriately martial but doesn't add enough drama to the action.
Despite the average sound effects and the occasional targeting difficulty, the game has enough graphics excellence to make it an Ace. One look, and you'll want to earn your wings with Turn and Burn.