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Review by: Shawn Quigley
Published: March 31, 1998
When it comes to creating the most authentic simulations on the market, Jane’s is hands down the first name that comes to mind. Their last title, Longbow 2, won numerous awards for its authenticity, along with its stellar graphics and gameplay. This time around, Andy Hollis and friends have put the finishing touches on their next release, F-15. Last year when they were showing the initial flight model of the game, it was hard to believe they would spend about another year bringing it to perfection. That first showing was incredible, and a year of waiting and wondering how the final version would play has finally come to end. Jane’s F-15 has hit the store shelves, and promises to bring flight simulation fans to a whole new world.
To set the record straight, this title is as in-depth as you can get, something that is common for a Jane’s release. With that said there are some things that inherently come along with that. This is not a title for the casual flyer. There is a mode that lets you get up in the air quickly, but it will not keep the hardcore flyer occupied for long. Jane’s F-15 is every bit as difficult to learn as the rest of the “real” combat flight simulations and really immerses the player into the actions of flying this monster plane.
The graphics in Jane’s F-15 allow gamers with a 3Dfx card to experience them at their best. The system requirements are set for a Pentium 133 with a 3Dfx card or a Pentium 166 without one. Truth be told, the 3Dfx enhanced graphics put the other graphics to shame, and there are tons of effects and features that are enabled with the help of 3D acceleration. Gamers with fast machines will experience no slowdown, but people who meet the minimum requirements will find that things tend to slow down every now and then. When you first climb into the cockpit of your F-15, you will quickly notice the detail that was put into designing the game. Every control is shown in high detail and most of the buttons and dials can be accessed with the use of your mouse. There are multiple camera angles to choose from and some of them allow you to use your mouse as your “view.” For example, one of the cockpit views allows you to “look” around with you mouse. The graphics are very fluid and look excellent, and there is no slowdown in the frame-rate while you are doing this. Looking outside your window and back behind your plane really gives the illusion of flying at Mach 2. Jane’s F-15 is also filled with the sounds of control towers and wing-men to keep you occupied while flying.
As the title of the game says, Jane’s F-15, is based on the F-15E Eagle, a two-seat dual role attack/air superiority fighter. According to specs, the plane can reach a top speed of Mach 2.5 and has a combat radius of 790 miles. The F-15 is equipped with advanced targeting and weaponry to help pinpoint ground targets with great accuracy. The on-board systems can be configured to particular circumstances, such as ground attack missions or air to air combat. These are referred to as Master Modes. There are 4 basic Master Modes in Jane’s F-15, air-to-air, ground-to-air, navigation, and instrument. Since the F-15 is a two-seater, the pilot and the WSO have access to the same functions in case someone is not able to perform them. This allows each one to perform specific tasks and make the combination of two people working together even more deadly. Jane’s F-15 is sure to give you fighter pilots the ride of your life.
After watching a great introduction movie, gamers are brought to the main screen, which consists of the basic options that you have access to in the game. These are single missions, instant action, campaign, reference, train, multiplayer, and other basic game options.
Jane’s F-15 is not short of options for the player to customize the way the game looks and plays. Everything in the game is accessed through the mouse and keyboard and there is a keyboard layout card to help you find things a little faster. In the root directory of the game are layout files that gamers can edit and modify to re-map the keyboard layout to what they want it to be. There are so many options that the file even contains views that are not currently mapped!
Since Jane’s F-15 is such a complex game, they have included two different modes of play. When installing you have the option as to what the game will default to upon loading. The casual mode is made for those who are not as serious and just want to get in the air and fly some basic missions. The casual mode also has a scaled down keyboard layout and some of the functions of the plane are rather simplified. The true art of this title lies in the expert mode. Although the expert mode is just that, for experts only, it is also the complete package. It requires you to learn and understand everything apart from actually getting in the plane yourself and flying it. What is really nice about using the two modes is that you can practice in the casual mode and start to get some familiarity of the controls and then graduate to the expert mode when you are ready.
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