F-15 City War


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 4

Sound: 2

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2

Sega did a wonderful thing when they released "Afterburner" into the arcades. Succeeding in creating a smooth scaling environment (not to mention an incredible cabinet), the game wowed just about anyone who passed by. The copies would of course be made, but the NES was not the place to do it nor was American Video Entertainment the company to produce it.

"F-15 City War" is a shameless, terrible excuse for a shooter, one that nearly sent the genre back ten years. Taking control of some futuristic fighter plane (most certainly not a F-15 like the title would lead consumers to believe), players are dropped into a war zone. Replete with tanks, helicopters, and similar looking buildings, you must defend what looks like the Earth from whatever this invading force is trying to do.

Split between two separate viewpoints, "F-15" tries to be original. The initial behind-the-plane viewpoint scrolls by with such a sub-standard framerate, any sense of speed is gone. You can literally see the buildings refresh from one frame to the next (stage 3 doesn't even offer a skyline). Hit detection is also lax in this mode of play making it impossible to hit everything thrown at you no matter how good you are. All the bosses (which shoot bullets in the exact same patterns and only vary in looks) are fought in this view.

Looking down on the action in view #2, the plane suddenly loses any speed it had in the previous stage. Dodging bullets only becomes difficult because of the sudden limitation. Ground targets, which can be shot with either missiles or lasers in the 3rd-person perspective, suddenly require themselves to be eliminated only with the slower moving rockets. This is the only view that offers up any power-ups, and these only come in the form of 1-ups from the rare red helicopters.

Every single stage of this game goes on for far too long, challenging not only the players gaming skill, but their stamina as well. Long stretches occur where there is absolutely nothing on the screen other than the same cheap looking ocean and the fighter jet itself. Helicopters, which attack in droves, never actually shoot at the player, but simply employ a cheap weaving pattern that any four-year old could avoid. Enemy jets, which only appear in the 3rd-person, can't even collide with the player and they don't shoot either. The logic employed to create this game is baffling.

Other than the choppy scaling, the game doesn't do much to push the hardware. The player controlled F-15 is a large and poorly animated sprite in the vertical view and a sleek (though again poorly animated) fighter when shown from behind. Enemies vary from stage to stage (which makes little sense; are we fighting alien robots or an opposing army?) but the standard tank and helicopter always manage to make an appearance. Music and sound effects remain annoying throughout each stage, with only one music track and unbearable laser shot.

This is easily one of the dullest, uninventive, and relentlessly boring shooters to actually make it to completion. Besides the admirable attempt to try the tough viewpoint (at least on the NES), this is a game that offers up nothing that can't be found better elsewhere. A few AVE titles were certainly playable, but "F-15" is easily one of the worst. This is one for the collector only.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:49 AM