I have always been a big fan of Pilotwings on the Snes/Super Famicom. Its no simulator, correct but it is one hell of a game!
Let’s first concentrate on the Snes version as it’s the most commonly known version. Graphics, for the time are amazing. This game was released in 1990 so it was before we got to see things like the super FX chip (Starwing/Starfox 1993 and Stunt Race FX 1994) and a long time before we got to see the awesome rendering of the Donkey Kong country (1994) games on the system so they are very cartoony but the game has to deal with moving Mode 7 (2D images painted to look 3D) landscapes and it juggles the tasks pretty well with no slowdown and limited popup which, considering the console, is no mean feat!
The gameplay is immediate, satisfying and addicting (it needs to be as this game gets real tricky real fast) and the sound is of the usual standard we have become used to with the Snes. The basic premise is that with every level you need to collect your licenses (bronze, silver and gold) and you continue through the game every level adding either a new flying machine (like biplanes, hangliders, jet packs) or a different map. Every different level brings with it, not only a new set of challenges but a new instructor each with there own different quirks and idiosyncrasies.
As I mentioned before this game is tricky and I have never once been able to complete it (no next gen molly coddling here!) but it does use a password system so you can get back to where you were… and you will… time and time again. The N64 version however…. Is great! Same exact thing as before, great graphics for the capability of the machine, sound is the same sort of… well its elevator music but trust me it fits so well, gameplay as good as before with a few exceptions, namely: the difficulty issue has been addressed, Its still no walk in the park but its far more accommodating. The trainers are a little less stereotypical but still as eccentric and hilarious as ever and you can choose which levels you want to tackle (so long as it’s within your current licence).
The only downside and this is no fault of the game itself is the ever present awful control pad. It begs to be played with a better controller I have the Arcade shark but when reviewing I like to play it as Nintendo intended and unfortunately that’s with the new standard of terrible (or “innovative” as a lot of non hardcore gamers call it) Nintendo controls.
PeacHy – Sicnes retro game reviews
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