Not much in Lethal Skies will surprise you if you've ever played a console-flight game before. You dogfight braindead bogies, dump ordinance on ground-based baddies, unlock zippy real-world jets, yada, yada, yada. You even get the mandatory fly-through-a-zig-zagging-canyon levels. The whole package is about as exciting as a flight attendant's safety demonstration. You do go up against some nifty enemies: lumbering spider robots, rolling fortresses, mega-choppers bristling with turrets--the kind of stuff you'd expect to see in an old-school 2D shooter. Trouble is, the weapons in this game just don't do the job. Air-to-ground missiles take way too long to lock on, and most of them lack big-bang oomph. Even worse, the game is super-strict when it comes to scoring hits on the various bits of the big enemies. You spend most missions lining up attack run after attack run, trying to, say, blow one radar dish off a communications tower. It's telling that one of the most lethal dangers in Lethal Skies is running out of fuel. The funky control doesn't help. I found myself constantly fiddling with the throttle, and my jet often seemed on the verge of stalling out of the sky. That's the last thing I wanted to worry about while making my umpteenth run on the left tread of a rolling fortress. At least the game looks OK, although it lacks the crisp terrain of Ace Combat 4--the PS2 title you should play instead of this jet jalopy.
When firing up LS, the first thing that comes to mind is the Hollywood-cheese flyboy movie Top Gun. And if that weren't enough, get a load of all the bull that comes with it. Some major flaws are the navigational and targeting features. All those pretty dials? Worthless, including the little map. The overhead map's better, but you have to pause in and out constantly. Dogfights can be OK, especially with an F-16 that fires five-in-one missiles. But having to rely on a single schizo arrow that can't decide if it's pointing to air or surface targets leads to tiresome tries after tries. In the end, as arcadey as LS is, destroying targets is way too difficult to stay fun.
This scrappy competitor for Ace Combat 4 aims high yet barely manages to keep from crashing. Missions are numerous, creative and diverse. I can totally hang with zooming between skyscrapers in a flooded Manhattan and blasting colossal airships over icy glaciers. Too bad I have trouble dealing with the plain-jane graphics, repetitive voice samples and overly touchy controls. The sensitive setup sufficed for my flying and shooting needs, but when the game forced me to refuel in midair, disaster struck. It took 15 tries and all of my patience to line up for the tricky maneuver, and by then I was too cranky to enjoy the futuristic airborne thrills.
Download Lethal Skies
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP