Released in 1994, Jetstrike CD32 is a side scrolling shooter developed by Shadow Software. If you're looking for a fast-paced shoot 'em up with all the weapons and aircraft options of a simulation title, then this classic may just be the one for you.
Jetstrike CD32's accessible controls allow players to delve right into its arcade style game play. If you've never played a game in the genre before, there are ten Training modules you can use to hone your skills: Landing, Bombing, Rescue, Spy Drop, Sea Attack, Recon, Night, Fog, Attack and Dogfight. Once you're confident enough for an actual mission, you'll likely be hard pressed to put the game down.
During the course of the game, you will be thrust into different kinds of battle situations while you fly one of almost 200 stunt and combat planes available. To add to the realism, each aircraft has its own set of sound effects which keep it distinct from the rest of the lean, mean flying machines. Shoot a Gatling gun, for instance, and you'll hear some rattling from the A-10 Warthog.
As this title is all about jet warfare, you can expect a fair share of dogfights, however, it is equally important to be strategic when it comes to dishing out ground attacks. Knowing the terrain and getting the most out of each air strike will determine the course of each mission. In case you get tired of the violent, explosive combat, you can always head to the Aerolympics section of the game wherein you can thread through teeny tiny tunnels with lightning fast jets.
2. NightHawk F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0
If you liked F-19 Stealth Fighter released by MicroProse, then the Cold War flight simulator Night Hawk: F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0 should be a treat. The sequel includes even more settings, such as Operation Desert Storm and Cuba. Technically speaking, 2.0 is the updated version of F-19 Stealth Fighter which includes the official name of the aircraft, an accurate exterior shape and some additional specs.
If you haven't gotten the chance to play the original, you'll be surprised how realistic this flight sim is, at least, when compared to titles released at that time. As the name implies, your goal is to reach your targets without being detected, fulfill your current mission objective (either destroy or spy on a target) and return to your base. There are two missions per level, namely, primary and secondary, as well as two planes to choose from.
3. F-19 Stealth Fighter
Released in 1990 for the Amiga, F-19 Stealth Fighter is a 16-bit update to the 8-bit hit Project Stealth Fighter. In this title, you step onto the shoes of a fighter pilot who is tasked with various missions over four different locations (Central Europe, the Persian Gulf, Libya and the North Cape. These missions are set during the Cold War and you go up against Warsaw Pact Libyan, Iranian and Soviet troops. You can choose among three difficulty settings, with "Cold War" mode being so challenging that even getting detected potentially leading to a full scale retaliation.
If you're after realism, this is a contender. Expect an array of authentic armaments, convincing radar detection and AI behavior so believable that they are able to adjust to the situation like troops on edge do. Adding to the list of impressive features are a number of different endings which range from making the headlines, being the cause of a neutral aircraft's destruction or getting rescued by one of your allies. Pilot casualties are permanent too, which only makes the title even more immersive.
Published by Rasputin Software, Jetstrike is a 2D side scrolling shooter reminiscent of Wings of Fury. In this arcade-style title, you are tasked to stop the persistent SPUDD forces using your aircraft, a skilled mechanic named Harry and the field officer which relays your assigned missions. That's pretty much all that comprises the elite task force so you'll need to act swiftly and whittle down the baddies while they're still small enough to control. All this is secret, which is why you will need to "borrow" a plane from the local air force base for your debut.
With some careful planning, you'll be able to cut enemy supply lines, destroy valuable factories and basically thwart their plans for world domination. Do note that if you end up wrecking too many expensive planes, your bosses will not be able to cover your tracks. This results in you being sent back to Basic Training. Or, if you're looking for a little break from your stealth missions, you can always put your flying skills to the test in the Aerolympics.
This game debuted back in 1988 and is based on subLOGIC's hit flight simulator IBM Jet which was released three years earlier. Jet allowed players to choose from either an F-18 Hornet for missions launched from sea through a warship or an F-16 Fighting Falcon for regular land missions. For those who are in need of a bit of practice, there's a free flight mode which will help hone your flying and stunt-based aerial acrobatics. The game also allows players to go up against Soviet MiG pilots in dogfights, launch air strikes and even watch a demo to learn a thing or two. In the game's combat modes, you will get to select the types of bombs or missiles you want to load on your aircraft.
Not everyone gets to fly a plane but at least Jet comes close to the real deal by including indicators that an actual jet fighter is expected to have. You've got an altimeter, gear status, frame loading, fuel level, altitude and a radar to help guide your flight. If in case you have no need for all these, you can always opt to toggle some on or off.
Both the F-18 Hornet and the F-16 Fighting Falcon are powerful aircrafts. Even if you've never flown a virtual aircraft in your life, you'll likely find it easy to adjust to the controls as you have several options. You can go for either the numeric keypad or a joystick to control the steering while other keys are dedicated to weapons, landing gear and indicators. If you're still having a hard time being on top of things, you have choices when it comes to camera angles too. View things from your cockpit for that added sense of realism or go for an angle from the control tower to be able to keep an eye on everything at once. As an icing on the cake, there is a multiplayer mode which allows two players to participate in dogfights or even play co-op with a friend.
Regardless of how you earn your kills, the Amiga's lineup of jet games and simulations is undoubtedly some of the most hardcore in the world leaving popular franchises of a more arcade nature - namely After Burner in the dust whilst rivalling new modern day games such as DCS. Sure, they're a little backwards in terms of performance and hardware, but a gritty fight is still a gritty fight -no matter where you experience it. Amiga's jet games will get you on the edge of your seat and keep you there, which is a great way to experience these games.