reviews\ Nov 20, 2000 at 7:00 pm

JetFighter IV: Fortress America - PC - Review

The year is 2012. The United States is the pre-eminent power in the world. But there are other countries that are envious, or at the very least, jealous. Russia, China and North Korea want to take America to task. They conspire in secrecy. Then, when the world is in flux, the three nations begin war games and at the heart is a new super carrier launched by China. It holds the latest Russian jets.

Suddenly the world is at war, and the U.S. is the target.

Welcome to Jetfighter IV Fortress America, the latest war game installment by Mission Studios and Talonsoft. This is a flight sim featuring terrific graphics and superlative combat sequences.

This game is very thoughtfully set up. In order to advance to the campaign menus, you must complete the training course. That is to insure that you have the knowledge and flight capabilities to compete in the high aerial combat scenarios that lie ahead. Of course, you can always relegate yourself to the free flight menu, random control efforts over sea and land, but the action doesn’t intensify until you are capable of passing the maneuverability tests at Fallon and advance to the hard-core West Coast action.

This program will allow you to enable up to seven cheats – including unlimited ammo, fuel, invulnerability and the like. The quick start menu offers four choices, including random scenarios, single combat, the mission generator and free flight.

But once you have managed to control and prove your worth, the game gets very interesting. And don’t forget that you will be flying some very high-tech aircraft – from the F-14 Tomcat to the F/a-18 Hornet and the F-22 Raptor.

This program is high on ordinance, quick bypass action and graphic elements. The two-disk installation allows you to differentiate between the simple program, and a high resolution program that may suck up more disk space, but will yield graphics that are fun to look at. Buzzing the Golden Gate bridge is a joy, unless you have a Russian fighter closing on you.

The controls do have a learning curve, as do most jet fighter sims. And the action is not in your face, but rather the target spotted, launch the missiles and wait. There was a sense of joy in combat flight sims that allowed you to get into a real dogfight, but jets of today merely fly at cyber-sonic speeds, lock a far-away target and let the salvo loose. This is no different.

Controls of this program are touchy, quick to react, and you can transition from a nosedive into the deep blue sea to climbing into the clouds in a breath. That is wonderful, especially if trying to avoid missiles coming you way. You can launch counter measures, such as chaff and flares, talk to wingmen, fire a burst from your cannon and even jam the enemy radar.

This program has an incredible options package, and the flight controls are so varied, you might actually begin to believe you are in the cockpit of that fighter.

Sound-wise, this program features a sharp audio track. The pre-mission instruction is crisp, as are the actual in-mission sounds. Overall though, this program adds little to the genre.

Jetfighter IV Fortress America is about assault and battery on your home turf. So what are you going to do about it? Learn to fly the planes and then guide the American forces in a retaking of country, or at the least, a defense of your home land. This strikes a solid note in the idealism of Americans.

With 360-degree panoramic viewing, more than 40 missions, a mission generator, Jetfighter IV brings the action into your lap. The camera angles are terrific, the action intense, and the combat just goes on and on.

This program is rated for Everyone, but does contain animated violence and mild language. Jetfighter IV does support multiplayer gaming.

If there is a big problem in this program, it comes down to the uninstall feature. When loading the program, I encountered a message error stating that the uninstall feature did not successfully install. That means that once the program was installed, it could not come off. Even the reinstall feature failed to correct this message. Disk two, which contains the high resolution graphical elements, both went on the computer and uninstalled without a problem. However, the original program has a fatal flaw in the uninstall program. If you do install it, it may not come off the hard drive.


Install: Medium. This is a two-disk install. The first is the basic game. The second is the high resolution graphics. The first is a quick no-nonsense installation. The second takes some time, but is worth the effort.

Gameplay: 8. This is a flight sim and plays seamlessly from the start of a scenario to its conclusion.

Graphics: 8.5. Install the high res graphics and you are in for a treat. Play it at the lower end of the spectrum and the game does play well, but not as strongly as the other option.

Sound: 7. Typical for this genre.

Difficulty: 8.5 As with any flight sim, there is a learning curve. Master it and you will still be in for a wonderful ride. True, this is a jet fighter sim, and most of the action is well away from your plane, but this program couples intuitive thought with reflexive action in a taut game.

Concept: 7. Most flight sims are predicated on the 'us versus them' scenario, and this is no different. What does set this program apart is the high res graphics.

Overall: 7. Jetfighter IV has some hurdles to conquer, but does score well in the graphical department. This, in many respects, is the typical flight combat sim, replete with a learning curve as you try to master the plane’s controls, but still full of the anticipation and joy that any solid sim of this genre has to offer. The lack of an uninstall feature is a major detriment to this program. 


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