This is a flight simulator with a difference. Whereas most simulate flying a large cumbersome passenger or fighter plane, this simulation puts you in a sophisticated jet stunt-plane. And instead of viewing the horizon from the cockpit, Acrojet shows your plane and the immediate surrounding area, as if seen from a second aircraft following you.
Your cockpit dials - displayed on the bottom third of the screen - show altitude, airspeed, degree of flaps, fuel, compass, landing gear and brakes. Also on screen is the Event Course Display, which shows your position on the airfield, the path of flight and the objects placed around the airfield for certain stunts.
Pylons are just poles sticking out of the ground, and ribbons are two poles joined by a ribbon - makes sense, doesn't it?
Stunts range from easy like the Pylon Race, where you fly around all four pylons before flying back across the landing strip, to very difficult like the Cuban Eight, where you must fly under ribbons, do half-loops and half-rolls. Believe me, it's difficult.
There are ten different stunts, which you can do one at a time, or as a pentathlon or decathlon. Amazingly, the game is not limited by these ten events; you can design and judge your own.
You first name the event and enter what you determine to be the difficulty factor. You can also choose which of the nine available courses you wish to use. Then you attempt to fly the event, and judge yourself on how well you feel you did it. If you decide the event should be timed, the computer will deal with the timing and judge you accordingly.
There are nine throttle settings and a throttle-off switch. I've flown the Pylon Race at full throttle, but was battling to keep the plane at the same height. And you may be glad to hear the joystick behaves like a real plane: you pull back on it to climb.
There are other gauges, which you shouldn't need to read, such as the EGT, or Exhaust Gas Temperature. The EGT indicates in degrees Celcius, the temperature of the jet exhaust. This becomes critical over 700 and will damage the engine.
Weather conditions can also be displayed in the cockpit: forward visibility and the height above you of the nearest cloud form.
The single-sheet manual that comes with the game is comprehensive and yet simple to follow. It describes the 10 events and explains all the cockpit dials, and also gives hints on safe flying and easy methods for certain manoeuvres.
On different machines, I have played about seven flight simulators, and this is the best I've seen yet. Movements are fast and the plane responds well to your actions. It really is an exhilarating feeling to stall the engine at 1000 feet (tried to pause it!) and feel the drops of sweat ooze from your forehead as you battle to pull up before a fatal meeting with the plush airfield.
Unfortunately, the crash is rather pathetic and lacks any sort of realism. Still, a small criticism of an otherwise excellent game. I've played this game for hours and hours and still find it tremendously addictive.
If you're going to buy a flight simulator, buy this one. Although you never get to see the world, you do get to see exactly what you're made of, man or mouse.
I don't usually like flight simulators because you spend hours getting to know the controls and then all you can do is fly around in the wild blue yonder. However Acrojet does have plenty going for it - a good view from behind the plane, easy controls, variety in the stunts, and a constant challenge. Nothing to shoot at but plenty to do.
Visibility unlimited: all clear for takeoff into the wild green yonder.
Complete a double ribbon-cut and try a roll.
P. Realistic and fast scenery drawing.
N. Unimpressive crash.
N. The only sound is engine noise and a crash.
Grab Factor 85%
P. Very addictive and playable.
N. Flight sims aren't easy to get into.
Staying Power 93%
P. Ten preset stunts.
P. Lots of variety in stunts.
P. Comprehensive instructions