"Identical Houses, Lawns, Dinnerware, and F-16's (Oh That 50's Charm!)"
This game is for all of you who like your hamburgers medium. Not medium rare, not medium well, not rare, and certainty not well done. This is for all of you average Joe's out there. All of you who like the looks of our Nation's deadly flying machines but don't have the patience nor the inclination to fly one, or even to attempt to play a hyper-realistic simulation of one.
This for all of you who like the sleek, sexy, fuselage… but hate the long, aloof manuals that usually accompany them. F-16 MultiRole Fighter from NovaLogic is the latest fruit of the partnership between NovaLogic and aircraft maker Lockheed Martin. Ironically, the pairing of those two companies was supposedly done in order for flight sims with daddy's stamp of approval to be released for the critical masses. Instead (Here is the irony: Get ready) the union has produced many an unrealistic, albeit enjoyable, game. Not really any simulations, just games, good ones.
Appropriate games for average Joe and Jill "Cleaver" and their little patriotic boy and girl scout kids.
Before mentioning anything else about this game, the graphics must get their due credit. F-16 MF is a gorgeous game. The texture maps on all of the planes are very highly detailed, the terrain is attractive and exaggerated in height so that its more fun to fly low on your ingress to target. Your own plane is a sight to see. I have not ever seen planes looking this good in a sim before. The texture mapping is damned near photorealistic.
The planes also feature little touches like the ability to see yourself through the canopy of the cockpit. Best off all, the inside of the F-16 features the most amazing 3-D virtual cockpit ever seen in a flight sim. It actually looks better than some 2-D cockpits in sims like Jane's F-15. F-16 MF even reflects the control panels on the canopy. In addition, the game runs at a very high framerate despite its beauty, seriously embarrassing CPU hogging sims like the aforementioned F-15, or Longbow 2. A 3DFX is close to a requirement for this one though.
Once you pick your mouth up off of the floor you might also begin to notice the gameplay present in F-16 MF. Its fun. Most other sims usually elicit a somewhat more complex, err… different reaction. In F-16 its just… fun. The gameplay feels very reminiscent of Mission Studios Jetfighter 3 or FullBurn, without the narrative depth. Slightly aracadish, accessible, in general a fun little firefight. Aw heck, this game is really rehash of F-22 Lighting 2, Novalogic's first polygonal 3D sim.
The planes don't move completely unrealistically and generally have a moderately believable feel to them. The difference between MiG-29 and more complex sims is simple:. You can jump in to this game, familiarize yourself with a few controls, and kick afterburner within a few minutes, unlike more complex simulations which require hours of study and an advanced degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
Most avionics systems are controlled automatically. The plane automatically creates a shoot list for you that may be cycled through, you actually never have to use you radar for targeting or identification, its all done for you. Hell, your wheels even automatically retract after you take off. The designers of this game realized that they were making an arcadish "simulation" and designed missions that, assuming you succeed, would make you a triple ace after 20 minutes of game time.
It really is not hard to kill your enemies; missiles usually work unusually well (the reverse of which being that they are very hard to evade yourself), and getting kills with the cannon is almost laughably to easy once you get in range. The lack of realism really shows through in landings and takeoffs. You have a very, very easy time placing your F-16 back on terra firma. A lot of this is due to the fact that you can take off and maintain flight at velocities usually associated with falling like a brick.
But, whether or not this is a realistic or believable simulation of what it is actually like to fly an F-16, it is still his an enjoyable romp through them wild white clouds and the dainty blue sky.
Speaking of clouds; F-16 MF features the thickest cloud level in recorded computer history, a trait inherited from F-22 Lightning II, F-16's predecessor. Actually, the engine featured in F-16 MF and MiG 29 Fulcrum (It's sister game, released simultaneously) is simply an updated version of the F-22 L2 engine.
Sound is good. There ain't nothing spectacular in the audio department but there is nothing wrong there either. Much like the rest of the game the sound satisfies but doesn't warrant a letter home to your dead hamsters and other assorted pets.
The one really superb feature of the game is the included NovaWorld internet gaming service. Using NovaWorld, internet multiplayer was smooth as silk even using an older 28.8 modem. It was painless to set up and get into as well.
So, in the overall estimation there isn't to much to scream in pain about, and certainly nothing to moan in pleasure about. The game simply elicits a pleasant grin. Basically it all comes down to this: F-16 MF is a good game for anyone who has never played a flight sim before but fancies themselves zipping along at mach 2.5 launching Sidewinders and preserving democracy. On the proverbial other hand, if you are a flight sim freak, you'd do better to look elsewhere for you hyper-realistic aerodynamic fix. F-16 Multirole is a solid game with great graphics, perfect for the Average Joe.