Review: Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator (Atari 7800)

In this review, we take to the skies in the Atari 7800 game Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator. We find out how this flight simulator game plays.

This game was released in 1989.

In this game, you take control of an F-14 Fighter. You take off on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

The game starts with your plane getting fueled up on the deck. Once the plane is full, someone signals the all clear for you to take off. From there, it is up to you how to fly.

Using a button (the other button fires a missile), you push up while holding down the button to start up your engine. You’ll take the engine up to 216%. After a moment, you’ll take flight. What to do in the split second after is beyond me. I tried pulling up all the way. I tried going steady. I tried gradually pulling up. Even tried nudging the nose down. Didn’t matter what I did, the result was always the same: I crashed barely a second into flight.

After several failed attempts of getting into stable flight, I eventually grew bored and switched off the power. If just starting the game is a massive challenge, it didn’t strike me as a game worth pursuing. I looked up YouTube videos trying to figure out what to do and didn’t find a single successful take off. Only one video showed in flight footage (but not the takeoff). Every other video I found showed the exact same thing I experienced: a crash right after takeoff. Guides are apparently non-existent. It was at that point that I just said, “Forget it” and wrapped up play.

The graphics are pretty average. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t fantastic either. The intro screen seemed to have the most eye candy.

The sound was OK. The little sound effects I heard were OK, but there really wasn’t anything for music that I heard.

Overall, this game is so difficult, it’s practically a broken game. All you can get is a crash right after take off. If you can’t get that, then you are sitting on the flight deck doing nothing. After several minutes of frustration, the inevitable of me giving up seemed like a sure thing. The graphics are average. There wasn’t really nothing for music and the sound effects were just OK. So, this is not worth a play as far as I’m concerned.

Furthest point in game: Crashed right after take off. Fired off a single shot.

General gameplay: 7/25
Replay value: 0/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 30%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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