U.S. Navy Fighters
The development team that brought you Chuck Yeager's Air Combat are working on a carrier-based flight simulator which has more bells and whistles on it than anything you've ever seen in the genre. U.S. Navy Fighters is the first title in EA's new Air Combat series of high-end pc cd-rom flight simulations. The storyline places you as a Navy pilot on board the aircraft carrier Eisenhower. Radical nationalist forces have seen off Boris Yeltsin and are now attempting to take control of Russian areas in neighbouring republics. The United States, in keeping with their policy of minding everybody's business but their own, agree to protect Ukraine, and the Eisenhower is sent off to the Black Sea. It's up to you then, to repel the Russian Invasion using all the aircraft in your carrier wing and bring law and order to this unruly lot. Campaign is played out over 50 missions, with mission-types varying from combat air patrols, escort missions, anti-ship and ant-tank strikes, close air support, suppression of enemy defenses, and more besides. In addition to this, there are another 50 missions to get through in Single Mission mode.
Breaking the sound barrier
The game was developed exclusively for CD, and the developers have taken full advantage of the massive data storage capacity of the platform to bring flight sim fans the closest thing they've ever had to an aerial multimedia experience. U.S. Navy Fighters uses eight-track digital sound effects to recreate sonic booms, crackling fire, ricocheting canon shells, and lots of other fun-filled battle sounds. The game also uses digitised speech extensively to enhance the atmosphere and add to the realism. Players will hear radio transmissions from shouting wingmen, radar intercept officers, and awac's aircraft who will update the pilot as the battle situation changes, calling out the range and bearing of enemy aircraft and incoming missiles.
The graphics, as you can see for very yourselves from the screen shots, are absolutely stunning. All the aircraft, ships and vehicles, are fully texture mapped. Bitmapped and digitised animations are also fully utilized to create a variety of special effects. These effects include animated catapult officers directing aircraft on the carrier deck, multiple explosion effects digitised from actual video, and ejection parachute sequences. Game environment graphics include features such as texture-mapped water, sky, coastlines, roads, bridges, trees and cities. Realism is further increased with the inclusion of atmospheric hazing, time of day and weather effects.
One incredibly smart feature in US. Navy Fighters, and an absolute first for flight simulations, is the ability to spot enemy planes and missiles in your rear view mirrors. Apart from being useful for taking a quick check on where the bandits are. it also has the added attraction of looking really neat.
There's also a Track View which simulates the pilot's head rotation. In other words, your view shifts around the cockpit allowing you to keep sight of the enemy target. You still stay in control of the plane while this is going on. giving you a chance to get the enemy target back in your sights. Other features include "pop-up" windows of all the cockpit displays, flight envelopes, and target views.
The choice of aircraft in US. Navy Fighter includes the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, and the proposed naval version of the F-22 Lightning. Players will also have a chance to fly the classic Su-27 Flanker, which is the Russian Navy's powerful fourth-generation fighter-bomber.
Gratuitous violence galore
As far as the actual gameplay is concerned this game will probably appeal more to action fans than players who are looking for ultra realism, as was the case with the original Chuck Yeager game. Electronic Arts' Product Manager, Simon Etchells, says that the development team took a good, close look at the other flight simulations on the market to see which appealed most to the average armchair pilot. They reached the conclusion that people wanted superb, fast graphics and lots of enemy planes to blow to pieces. Simon also modestly opined that the graphics in U.S. Navy Fighters are superior to most modern flight sims, and that's including EA's own visual extravaganza, Strike Commander.
In terms of game style, the general feel is very similar (again) to the original Chuck Yeager game. In fact, U.S. Navy Fighters is unofficially a sequel to the original game. The main differences between the two, apart from the obvious cosmetic improvements, are the inclusion of a campaign option (a feature which was sadly missing from the original game) and a new mission designer. Players are now able to edit the single missions at a simple level, selecting the amount of planes etc., or they can choose to play at a complex level, where they can determine weather conditions, waypoints and so on.
It's obvious that the development team have paid meticulous attention to detail for every feature of this game. The graphics look amazing, the sound effects are superb, and there's enormous variety in the mission types. US. Navy Fighters could be the game that inspires the major software houses to produce cd-rom only flight sims. EA will be paving the way with each release of the Air Combat series. We can only hope that this game lives up to expectations. If it does, we'll proberbly be witnessing an entirely new generation of flight sims. U.S. Navy Fighters will be released on pc cd-rom only at the end of October.
Download U.S. Navy Fighters
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP