#215 – F-117A Stealth Fighter

Flight sims and the NES are a dangerous mix.
“The real stealth fighter experience” as long as you have no idea what it’s like to experience a real stealth fighter.
Follow the red arrow to boredom.




GENRE: Flight sim

RELEASE DATE: December 1992

The majority of people on the planet will never be able to ride in a lightning-fast, high-powered military jet, hence why semi-realistic flight simulations like F-117A Stealth Fighter are made. In theory, games like this should accurately recreate the sense of speed and exhilaration one would feel in said craft, along with adding top-secret government missions that involve blowing things up in foreign countries. Well, in F117A, you do have top-secret missions and you supposedly fly a stealth fighter, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t feel like you’re riding in the Wright brothers plane. Your craft, and the game as a whole, is slow and almost unplayable. Each mission has you blowing up different structures or opposing airplanes that aren’t stealth fighters, which is all well and good if it didn’t take ten years to reach your destination. I’m not opposed to games taking their time, but at least give me something nice to look at or listen to. The graphics have a certain Atari glaze to them, inexcusable for a NES game released in 1992. Your stealth fighter makes blatting noises that obnoxiously complement the already irritating muzak. While no NES owner should desire a flight simulator for their NES given the system’s limitations, the developer MicroProse should have put more effort into F-117A.

Earlier in my quest, I reviewed a game called Battle Tank, a tank game with objectives similar to F-117A. Instead of a plane, Battle Tank places you in a tank and commands you to go blow up structures across arid wastelands. Sounds boring, but a certain serenity comes from driving one’s tank and taking in the barren deserts. Like F117A, there were hardly any enemies to worry about, but enemies weren’t the point. You were one with your tank and the landscape. This is what F-117A should have achieved and didn’t. The game is a disgrace to the fighter that bears its name.


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2 replies on “#215 – F-117A Stealth Fighter”

I’m amazed to discover there was an NES port for this. I had it on my PC back in the day and LOVED it, but I have no idea how it could have worked on the NES (If your review is any indication; not very well!) The biggest reason I say this is you literally needed almost the entire keyboard to play the game, each key did something different and the game came with a cardboard “overlay” to place over your keyboard with labels for what each key did.

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