Title           JetPilot
Game Type       Flight sim
Publisher       Vulcan
Players         1
Compatibility   OCS
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Dante Mendes De Patta (

Well, JetPilot is by far the most complex, hard and realistic flight sim for
the Amiga. Actually, it claims to have a flight model so accurate that
it's within 10% or less of the real thing, and it's true. And why can I
say this? Because I've played almost all flight sims, in several
platforms, since 1984 (starting with F15 Strike Eagle on Apple II) to
nowadays (DiD's F22, Janes F15 and Falcon 4 on PC), and few flight sims
are comparable to JetPilot in the flight model issue. So, I can say that
JetPilot's realism and attention to detail is well above other Amiga
titles, putting it on a similar league together with newer PC flight sims
(in realism and flight modeling, not in graphics).

For example, it is the only Amiga flight sim that enables the player to
go into a flat spin, the engine can "flame out" at high angle of attack
(due to insufficient flux in the air intakes), or you can pull too many
G's and break the airframe limit, if you pull back too hard at take off,
your tail can drag on the tarmac... notice that any of these detailed
features in the simulation are enough to scare the casual player.  And
now, I must say: this game is NOT for the casual player, it has NOT an
"easy flight" option, so, it is a really hard game, just made for the
hard-core flight sim audience.

This hard-core flight sim audience will also like the 2 airplanes found in
Jet Pilot: the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the English Electric Lightning,
great and classic jet fighters from the early '60s. The F-104 Starfighter
was a fast american fighter, one of the first jets in service to fly over
Mach 2 speeds, but its short wings makes it hard to fly in low speed turns
(i.e. you can spin out of control sometimes). The English Electric
Lightning has similar specs, and has entered service around the same time
(early '60s too), but the curiously shaped wings of the Lightning makes it
a good flyer, with good overall handling.  The flight sim managed to
include a really detailed radar system for each aircraft, with
azimute/elevation controls. The cockpits are also really detailed and
complex, with all features you'll find in a real airplane, and the
"virtual cockpit" or "padlock view" works very nicely, you can look over
your shoulder and see the fuel tanks and missiles hanging below the wings.
The sense of speed and height is also very good, is almost possible to fly
without looking too much at your dials, because there's a good sense of
distance in the graphics.

The graphics are not impressive by today standards, obviously, and in the
end of 1996 (when JetPilot was released), perhaps people were expecting at
least some Gourad-shading and some other nice graphical features, 'cos at
that time, some flight sims on the PC were showing awesome full
texture-mapped graphics (EF2000...). But JetPilot is, graphically, not
very different from other Amiga flight sims, with just 16 or 32 color
graphics, plain polygons and a flat terrain. The 3D objects are well done,
with the airplanes showing marks on the wings, and the missiles and fuel
tanks hanging below their wings and fuselage, but, as I've said before,
it's not much different from the graphics in Tornado for example, just a
bit more detailed.

But, if you have a fast AGA Amiga, you can play JetPilot in 640x512
resolution. With this resolution, JetPilot looks very nice, resembling the
PC flight sim Su27 Flanker (this one is dubbed to have the most realistic
flight model in a flight sim...Su27 players, read this: JetPilot is as
good as Su27 in flight model, and it is way harder! ;-)

About the speed issue, I've tried it on two machines: A1200/'030-50MHz
32Mb RAM, and A1200/'060-50MHz 16Mb RAM. On the '030, I can only play it
at acceptable speed when setting the detail to Medium, and in 320x256
resolution; it plays at about 8-12 fps on this setup. Surprisingly, on the
'060 it runs very well, with around 20 fps in 320x256 resolution, and
around 12 fps in 640x512, and still very playable! I can say
"surprisingly" 'cos I've tried Amiga TFX in these two machines, and the
overall speed was a total disappointment, TFX is sluggish in any CPU.  On
the other hand, JetPilot can be played on an '030, but it really takes
advantage of a '060 accelerator.

Another good point is the control method and the in-game flight manual.
The control is either with analoge joystick or on the mouse, both worked
well, the mouse is a bit hard to get used to, but after some practice you
can fly it on the mouse as well. Many controls on the cockpit panel can be
"clicked" and activated by the mouse pointer, another nice feature, only
seen in newer PC flight sims.

About the game's sounds, the engine sound and the afterburner sound is
good and realistic, you can hear the "sonic boom" at Mach 1 speed, and
after this, you hear nothing more (in external views) because you're
faster than sound! The ground control radio voice is done by the internal
"speech" of the Amiga, with quite interesting results, considering the
limitations of this speech system, but sometimes the voice is a bit

I've managed to complete almost all training missions (required to fly any
of the combat missions), and it's very, very difficult and challenging.
For example, after a successful interception, I had to land back at my
base with 'zero visibility', guided by control tower, it was a moment of
absolute tension, because the minor mistake could cost the entire mission.
Yes, if you fight bravely to shoot down the enemy fighters, and, when
landing, you touch too hard on the runaway, it is ALL OVER, your mission
is FAILED, and you have to do it all again!  This game doesn't forgive the
minor mistake, just like in real life.

The worst, and most frustrating consequence of your failure, is that only
a black screen appears with the words "Crashed" or "Gear collapsed" or
something like that... no crash sequence, no texture mapped crater on the
ground, no sound effects, just the black screen...This lack of effects and
"gameplay features" to keep the player hooked is the major complaint I have
with Jet Pilot. When you hit the enemy airplane with your missiles, just
a couple of pixels flying away from the impact are used to represent the
"explosion" fancy sound effects wingman saying "good kill!"
or something else, as I was used with the PC flight sims...All this could
add a lot to Jet Pilot's atmosphere, but sadly, it's lacking.

Ok, there is the fact that Jet Pilot is a game made to run reasonably well
on any Amiga ranging from an A600/2Megs to an A4000/060, so, I will
forgive the lack of effects and the "black screen".

Ok, let's see the good and bad parts in Jet Pilot:

-Most realistic ever on the Amiga, physics and flight modeling are superb
-Nice cockpits, 360 degree rotation of the pilot's head, detailed radar
 systems and ATC
-Perfect controls and plane handling
-Detailed 3D airplane objects, lots of ground objects
-The 3D engine gives a good sense of speed and height sometimes.
-The engine sound effect is great
-Good AI of the enemy airplanes

-Too hard, too frustrating, can't be played by anyone else than hard-core
flight sim players
-Flat terrain, lack of mountains, lack of texture-mapping or gourad-shading
-Lack of AGA-256 colours and/or Graphic Card Support
-Lack of visual effects/explosions/missile smoke trails etc.etc.

Lastly, all I want to see in the Amiga is a flight sim with the depth and
realism of JetPilot, but with a more advanced 3D engine to match today's
Amiga hardware, specially graphic cards and PPC accelerators. Developers
will say: "but flight sims aren't so popular, we won't have big profit on
it"... Rubbish! Just release a good texture-mapped flight sim with PPC
and graphic card support and gameplay options to satisfy both casual
players and hard-core players. Developers and publishers, remember: good
games sells well, doesn't matter about the game type.

The bottom line: Jetpilot is the most realist flight sim on Amiga, worth a
try just to see the complexity and depth of the simulation. Fans of the
flight sim 'Tornado' will love it.

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