Lukas' F-16 Fighting Falcon Review
Title and game over screens look promising enough
You honestly have to think what game developers are smoking when they think up games like this. Flight simulators would've had a great birth, but with games like Top Gun (NES) and this, the birth was a rotten one. While Top Gun was the bad mother who smoked too much pot prior to birth and doesn't spank her kids if they did something wrong, F-16 Fighting Falcon is the abusive dad that beats his kids silly because he's always drunk and doesn't care, and is in fact the sort of dad who always gets in crap with coppers and child protection services because the kid isn't safe with him. I'd hate to be his son...
In fact, this game haunted my childhood, shouldn't that be enough? Nope. We all have to take a trip back to the past and relive it in some form, and sure, why not look back at this? Oh, I don't know...it sucks, maybe? I hated it as a 2 year old and I freaking hate it as a 16 year old...
So anyway, what does F-16 Fighting Falcon do wrong? Well, just about everything! I mean when you load up the game, it looks fine. The graphics look decent (good for an 8-bit game), the plane looks badass and you're thinking that it'll be a smooth ride from here. Yeah, well, it gets very bad as soon as you press st...button 1. Would you dare press it? Well, to play the game, you have to, so *gulp* let's do it!
As soon as you start playing, the cool looking visuals turn into...WIREFRAME!? K, what the hell? WIRE! Wow, this looks really bad...I personally cannot accept wireframe graphics (outside of the Wireframe Soldiers from Super Smash Brothers Melee). They always seem to look tacky! And man, these are probably the second worst I've seen (the less we talk about the sort on the Virtual Boy, the better). I mean...white dots? Hell, everything looks like a dot, except the enemy planes have some lines on the side and the weak bullets are yellow lines. Wow. And the backgrounds? Solid color. DULL solid color. Weak. Wow, I think Pong looks better than this, and Pong is just a few lines and a dot.
The soundtrack...what soundtrack? Oh, the title song. Well, it sounds alright, and there's a bit of a tune when you enter a level that sounds alright too (both...pretty catchy), but then there's no music. What the hell? Give me my music! This lack of music is drowned out by Atari 2600 quality blips and blops trying to represent what it's like in a jet, as well as cruddy sounding shots. I thought the SMS had a better sound system than the NES, but if this game proves that it has quality worst than the Atari 2600...Not cool, seriously...
Oh, gotta love this - at times, the alarm sounds when a missile is heading your way. That's right, it's all 'burr...burr' when you're about to blow up! Would've been cool, but it ends up sounding annoying as all hell, and (I'm going to say this again) the SMS IS SUPPOSED TO BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE ATARI 2600, NOT WORSE! But that's NOTHING compared to what this game has in store for you in terms of controls and gameplay...
To begin with, the aim is to destroy the enemy plane. Should be simple enough, seeing as the only thing that should be in the way is...well, the plane. But you're not just fighting the enemy plane... It's a fight against the plane and some of the worst controls known to mankind.
In the actual game, to fight, you have to shoot with either missiles or a gatling gun. Simple enough. Problem is that the gatling gun does absolutely no damage and the missiles always miss! Even if you have lock on at point blank range, it misses completely! It's a real pain in the ass trying to destroy all the enemies when everything doesn't work at all, and it's a bigger pain when they destroy you with THEIR missiles that ALWAYS seem to HIT YOU! ARGH!
Moving around is another pain completely! In many flight simulators, left means you turn left and right means you turn right, not spin in that direction! I guess turning is non-existent in this game, unless it's diagonally! Down or up and left lets you turn left, and down or up and right lets you turn right. Okay, I can live with that, but dammit, these are stiffer than a prosthetic leg! You have to engrave the buttons to the bottom of the controller just to do something. And with these sorts of visuals, you can't afford to have controls these bad.
And sometimes, you're thrown into a situation where everything goes red except the bloody white dots and you have to get out the plane before you die...what the hell am I meant to do to do that!? I'm mashing all the buttons and every button combination the controller can do, but it just says red and does nothing for a while until GAME OVER! Jesus Christ...
There are 10 levels to play through, though they're all the same as level 1. You can select which level you want to play before actually playing the game, but it doesn't really matter because they're all the same. Oh, sure, there's another enemy plane...yawn...repetition.
Oh, and I like this a lot. The bottom half of the screen! Yay! Love how the radar doesn't help for crap because the enemies always seem to be at random places and the controls bugger it all up anyway! Love how everything on the bottom left doesn't mean anything (except how many missiles or bullets you have left)! I really love the fact that 2 of the 4 bars don't mean jack crap! Just decoration! Best thing about the game! /facepalm
Uh, speaking of 2 of the 4 bars in the game that doesn't mean much, there's another thing to point out - you need 2 controllers to use them. The second controller helps with either missiles or ejecting (oh, so THAT'S what I should do when everything goes red...get to the second controller). Nah, screw that, you should be using ONE controller! Top Gun did, and it's not as bad as this! Why should there be a need for a second controller!? Co-op gameplay? Bugger it!
As for what they actually are, one warns you of impending doom - I mean incoming missiles (yep...the alarm wasn't enough, we need a flashing bar too), one for ejecting, one for ECM and...FUL, which I think is health or something (I'm not 100% sure and the game sure as hell doesn't tell you).
But really, what was going through the mind of the creators? Better yet, what were they on? I understand that there were limitations in 1984, but...you know, 1984, not 1972 when Pong was created or 1977 when the Atari 2600 was created. What an load of crud... But don't take my long word for it, the short word will do just fine:
Nothing appealing whatsoever. It tries to play like a flight simulator but plays more like a revolving bunch of white dots. It's also very, very repetitive - you do the same stuff over and over again. I think I'm about to vomit.
Gotta love these controls. They're beyond delayed and even more frustrating to handle during combat. In fact, they're the sort that only work when they want to. Screw them!
Eh, well, the title screen and game over screen look nice, but everything else is bloody dots and lines...kind of like...Pong, except Pong looks better. Inconsistency FTL.
More inconsistency! The title screen and game over screen musics sound alright and kind of catchy, but in-game, it sounds like you're getting ear-*bleep* by the creators (who will remain nameless).
If you actually have the patience to play through all 10 levels, then... Oh, screw it, it doesn't last long before the feeling of anger, hate and boredom consume you...it's that bad. As I said, every level is the same as the first, so you're playing through the "game" 10 or so times, but some have color changes (whoop-de-doo).
Is this supposed to be fun? Fiddling with the controls until something happens in this slow as hell flight sim, is that your idea of fun? Have fun then...
F-16 Fighting Falcon is a horrible game and whatever the creators were smoking, don't smoke it or you'll end up like this game...confusing, stiff and ugly, basically an incoherent mess. Don't play it, don't rent it, don't try it, don't even look at it.
0.3/5.0. What a waste.