Okay, So This Game's Called F/A-18 Hornet, not Hair-net. A silly mistake. Nevertheless, I still reckon they've got it wrong, because a better name for the game to my way of thinking - and sticking to the insect theme - would be F/A-18 Mayfly. Why Mayfly? Simple: it takes about 24 hours to work out what's going on, and then you die on your maiden flight anyway. Yup, if you like your sims complicated, things are looking good already. Let me put it like this: guess how many different key-presses are involved? Well, I've just counted them as it happens, and the answer is 134. Blimey, eh? Knock out those keys involved solely with the simulation environment (such as the views and what have you) and you're still left with 97. Count 'em, 97! But enough of that. This is a preview rather than a review, so I'll hit you with the game structure instead.
Yes, I know, but some people want to know this stuff. Right, there are three main environments. First is Hawaii, the training ground, where you'll find yourself up against drone aircraft and the like. It's homework time, as you get to grips with the multiple radar modes and so forth. (Even the autopilot has five modes, not unlike a Tornado.) Next up is the main event, which is set over the Middle East. There are to be 36 combat missions, and you'll get medals and promotions as you progress, which probably won't come as a great surprise. (Incidentally, you can practice these missions in freeflight mode, but you won't get a score.) Then there's Arizona, which is the multiplayer arena: four humans on a network, head-to-head or in teams, with six missions. And that, in a nutshell, is that. Nothing particularly innovative, sure, but will it be any good?
It's a Mac game...
As we all know, Macs don't make the greatest gaming platforms, and so Mac flight sims have always tended to shy away from texture-mapping and that sort of malarkey. They do, however, go in for hi-definition, mega-crisp polygon detail. Port this over to a PC and you get something of a culture shock. Did you get to see A-10 Cuba, which we reviewed a few issues ago? That was a Mae game as well, and personally I loved it. Okay, so there was no real campaign structure, and yes, most of the weapons were a bastard to use, but the plane flew like a dream. You could see for a squillion miles, you got a superb sense of speed and altitude, and there were some spiffy weird bits. Tim reckons I'm talking a load of arse... but as the theme tune from Different Strokes put it: "The world don't move to the beat of just one drum.".. Horses for courses.
Still, the point I'm about to make is that while F/A-18 Hornet pulls pretty much the same strings as A-10 Cuba, it also includes all the campaign gubbins which are (unfortunately in my opinion) de rigueur in the modern PC gaming market. Oh, and there's a well thought-out training classroom on the CD too, with about an hour and a half's worth of in-depth instruction.
All in all though - and visually retro or not - F/A-18 Hornet could well be something of a corker. Oh, and even if it does turn out to be cack (which is unlikely) there'll & always be one saving grace... you get to drop a nuclear bomb. (So watch out Honalulu would be my advice. Bloody surfers.)
Download F/A-18 Hornet
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP