Jetfighter V: Homeland Protector
As was the case for most of the series, JetFighter V: Homeland Protector is a simplistic, newbie-friendly, and mostly unsuccessful attempt by Denmark-based InterActive Vision to inject some fun back into aerial dogfighting. Reducing the learning curve for first-time simmers is one thing, but Jetfighter 5 has been so completely emasculated by its lack of realism, challenge, and gameplay depth that even rookie aviators will cry foul.
As with the earlier Mission Studios games, Jetfighter 5â€™s campaign numbering 32 missions is set on the West Coast, where a North Koreaâ€“aligned terrorist organization has managed to import a hot and nasty shooting war onto American soil. All of the hockey story is narrated through painfully amateurish radio chatter and briefing screens. But few of the gameâ€™s hard-scripted missions last more than five minutes, and after the first half-dozen it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish one from another.
You begin every sortie in the air. After destroying a set number of enemy MiGs and/or tanks (and easily spoofing their missiles with some timely counter-measures), a â€œMission Successfulâ€ message pops up and youâ€™re on to the next one. Get it wrong and youâ€™ll have to do it all over again. But itâ€™s not hard to get it right, even if you’ve never played a modern jet game.
Three Lockheed Martin fighters are featured â€” the F-16 Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter â€” but youâ€™ll really be hard-pressed to tell them apart. Each has the turning performance of a DC-3, and the stealth characteristics and advanced avionics of the F-22 and F-35 are inexplicably ignored. All three planes come with a magic 360-degree radar screen that can locate air or ground threats from all directions.
It gets worse. The difficulty level isnâ€™t adjustable, you canâ€™t interact with your wingmen in any way, and the enemy pilots are the most absurdly predictable drones that youâ€™re ever likely to encounter in a combat flight sim. Furthermore, enemy tanks are routinely placed in nice, tidy rows for you to tear into with your AGM-65 missiles â€” the only significant danger here is that youâ€™ll run out of ammo before your mission objectives are complete. Thereâ€™s also no career-tracking of any kind, so donâ€™t expect to see any medals or promotions.
Also supplementing the lackluster single-player game is a no-frills Mission Builder utility and a LAN-only 16-person multiplayer component. But people who enjoy lightweight aerial combat are better off replaying older flight games like Novalogic’s F-22 Lighting 3.
System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB Video, Win98
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