F/A 18F Super Hornet is a flight combat simulator similar to the Top Gun game for the original NES. In this game, you pilot an F/A-18 Hornet, which is the same type of plane that the Navy's famed Blue Hornets fly. You go on various combat missions to shoot down enemy planes, sink naval targets, and so on.
I've always loved combat flight simulators that didnt get too wrapped up in the details. I've played some that were so difficult you practically had to be a real fighter pilot just to get anywhere. This game has a nice balance of features but without much of a learning curve, meaning you can jump right in and start playing.
I was most impressed with the HUD in this game. It offers a lot of detail packed into the small GBA screen. You can monitor your altitude, speed, ammo, and more. The game controls are very nicely done and offer lots of options. For example, you hit the Select button to bring up your radar, then press A to cycle through the different targets or mission waypoints. In the main flight window, you fire with the A button and use the B button in combination with the directional pad to adjust weapons and thrust. The B-combos take a few minutes to learn, but you get used to it. The L and R buttons display a rear view of the plane, as if looking over the pilot's shoulder. I was very impressed with the overall level of detail put into this game. It could have been a cheap flying simulator but the added radar and extra viewing options really enhance the game.
The graphics are really great with this game. When you fire a heat-seeking missile, you can watch the small radar screen and it will show the missile strike the enemy aircraft and blow it up. Some missiles also have nosecams built in so that you can watch as the missile flies toward the target. Little details like this are really impressive. When the planes blow up from missile hits, there are several different animations shown, so that you don't have to watch the same thing over and over.
The sound is put to great use in this title. With each level of thrust, the engine makes a different pitch sound, so you can tell how fast you are going just by listening to it. The missiles and guns all make great sounds and when an enemy plane has radar lock on you, the loud beeping warning sound will rattle your nerves.
This is not a very easy game, but it is not too frustratingly difficult, either. The hardest parts can be landing the plane sometimes, but the manual offers some pretty detailed instructions on how to do this. After practice, you'll get the hang of it. When in flight, the enemy planes are pretty small until you get right up on them, so you might have to make more than one pass to be able to take them out with your machine guns.
F/A 18F Super Hornet looks and sounds great, and it is a fun game. It is loaded with action and there is no gore. Definitely give this one a try.
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