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FA-18E Super Hornet

by D. Eric Marlow, "Snacko" January 11th, 2000


  With the recent spate of product cancellations and companies removing themselves from the simulation market, I've been quite concerned for the genre that I've come to love so much. As more companies look to the bottom line, it becomes easy to see how military simulations suffer by comparison when judged against the return on investment potential for the likes of Quake, Half-Life, and Star Craft.

Consequently I look to each new simulation release with anticipation in hopes of finding a product that re-invigorates the market and allows publishers to look at the genre in a new light. Unfortunately, Super Hornet (UK Release) by Digital Integration does nothing to advance the genre - in fact, I can feel the simulation market retreating faster than if it were the Iraqi Republican Guard withdrawing through Basra.

Out of the Box Experience

Those of you reading my previous material should realize by now that my bent is to look at a new simulation from a variety of viewpoints. While it's easier to take my hard-core ethos into a low-level eyeball pass of any new sim, a more balanced view is arrived at when non-core gamers are also considered. Furthermore, one must consider where the developer/publisher positioned the sim in the marketplace. To this end, I look to the marketing literature and the product box for details.

  • "As Used by the US Navy.."
  • "F/A 18E Super Hornet is the world's most advanced and exciting combat sim created!"
  • "State-of-the art 3D engine"
  • "Highly accurate flight model and 'real-deal' avionics"
  • "Two vast and authentic, target-rich war-zones."

Judging from the box text, it looks like they are being quite aggressive with their targeted marketing of the product. Comments like these don't leave a lot of room to position a product widely; it should be pretty clear that they are going after the hard-core crowd, or at least a crowd that appreciates high fidelity. It is the intent of this review to measure Super Hornet against these criteria.

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Super Hornet CAT

Introduction Video

I tend not to comment too much on this item, as the philosophy of including any introduction sequence is varied across the board. Some software titles like to include cut-scenes, while other go for a video collage effect. With some introduction videos approaching the majority of the production cost just for the video alone, you can see why some titles have elected not to include an introduction video at all.

DI should be given kudos for their attempt at creating a introduction video that sets the overall tone of the simulation, but DI should have saved its money, based on the end-result. The problem is not so much with the story line premise, the action, or the editing - the setback lies in the script, acting, and included military inaccuracies.

The human video sequences are so poorly acted as to remove any sense of believability from the story. The casting seems more out of place than John Rocker on a New York subway. The script was such as to make me chuckle, since I know that no military officers would have reacted and behaved in such a way.

While I enjoy introduction sequences and tend to watch the good ones again and again, there is nothing preventing me from using my ESCAPE key to bypass this one from now on.

Go to Part II: Manual and Training


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