JetFighter III Classic
Windows - 1999
Description of JetFighter III Classic
Before I get any further into the review, I'd like to make a few things clear. I've never flown an F-22 or any plane, like the vast majority of folks who will read this review. But then again, I've never been a battle hardened space marine, or saved the universe from destruction, so why should this matter? Well, it shouldn't. Except that one of the key points of a flight sim is it's so called 'realism'. Just listen to the Jetfighter 3 press release... 'Realistic flight dynamics capture that true feeling of flight with modelling computations that include adjustable speed ratios at various altitudes'.
Eh? '.. true feeling of flight' ? What a load of cobblers. The only way you're going to get the 'true feeling of flight' is in a real plane, or at the very least one of those nightmarishly expensive military set-ups, complete with hydraulic piston thingies. Jetfighter 3 is a game, and I intend to review it as such. If after the review, you feel I haven't correctly judged JF 3 on its flight dynamics, handling, and such-like, then please don't email me about it. So there.
Anyway, on with the review. JF3 takes place a couple of years into the future; a drug-related conflict has arisen in Columbia (surprise surprise), and the U.S. has decided it's time to intervene. The use of nuclear weapons is out of the question, and it'd lead to quite a short game. So instead, they send in a carrier full of heavily armed jets to do the job. You play a pilot on the carrier, and you take on a number of missions as you fight for truth, justice, the clipper chip and mom's apple pie. And even if your character bites the bullet, he or she is mysteriously resurrected to continue the fight. It's a hell of a thing to have on your military record.. 'Killed In Action 5.12.98. Resurrected 6.12.98'. Hurrah for the undead airforce!
The missions themselves are the usual 'fly to waypoint one, blow up this target, move on to waypoint two, blow up this target', or 'defend the carrier' stuff. You're not alone in your aerial endeavours; you'll usually have wingmen to help you out. Although they're sometimes their own worst enemy; I've twice been informed that one of my wingmen has crashed mid-mission, without the enemy scoring a hit on them. How did they get into the airforce? By marriage? Just give them bi-planes, that's what I say, and leave the decent planes for the decent pilots.
Before you actually embark on a mission, there's all sorts of preparatory stuff you can do. You can visit various parts of the carrier, check your email, visit the library, and even change the art on the tail of your plane. You do this by using a rudimentary paint package within JF3, which while enabling you to create your own tail art, doesn't allow you to import graphics from elsewhere, which is a shame. Try as I could, I was unable to get a pic of the GDR bear on my plane. You also can arm your plane, although you can only choose from different weapons configurations. You can't pick and choose each individual weapon. Once you've pick and armed your plane (there are two, the F-22 and F-18), it's off into the wide blue yonder. Or dark black yonder, if you're flying a night mission. Remember, at night, everyone can hear you crash. Of course, you can always eject, but there's no guarantee you won't end up as shark food. Or why not try getting close to the ground, flipping the plane over, and ejecting. Very nasty indeed. But fear not, Uncle Sam's re-animation corps will come to the rescue again.
You usually start on the runway, or on a carrier; taking off's not to hard, just turn on the afterburner, disengage the brakes, pull back on the stick, and you're up and away. Landing is considerably harder, but you don't have to worry about that for a while. And there's an auto-land option if you can't hack it. But once you're in the air, you're free as a bird; free to buzz office buildings, and get a guided missile up the exhaust port from that Mig that you'd forgotten all about.
And while you can quite happily fly around for a while, you'll have to get down to business eventually. A variety of cockpit equipment allows you to pinpoint your target; if you're still quite a distance away from your target, you can use the time acceleration option to get there a little quicker, something that is present in most flight sims to date. JF3 also features head movement, blackout, and red-out. The latter two terms refer to what happens when you try to do something that the human body wasn't meant to withstand, such as turning at high-speed. I could go into great detail about the various targeting systems and so on, if I was so inclined, but if you do decide to buy JF3 you'll be able to find out about them for yourself. If, like me, reading the manual is the last thing on your mind when you buy a game, you'll need to break the habit to play JF3. It is a very complicated game. But don't worry, you can always bin it later if you have to.
Graphically, JF3 just about makes the grade. You can soar through clouds, and missiles even leave smoke trails which slowly dissipate. Everything looks fairly convincing from the air; however, if you get close to the ground, things start to look a little odd. The scenery becomes a little blocky; that city might look okay from the air, but take a closer look, and you'll find it's little more than a collection of flat squares. Not particularly impressive. You might argue that the scenery is meant to be viewed from the air, but come on.. this is a game, and if I feel like skimming along just above the ground, then I'm going to, and I don't want to find a sea of coloured blocks down there.
The other craft, carriers and vehicles look okay, but even on a P133, you're going to have problems running in anything other than VGA mode. Mission Studios the game's creators claim that they are going to support a number of 3D accelerator cards, but nothing has been forthcoming so far. Sound wise, JF3 isn't too bad, with the usual SFX; engine noises, explosions and so on are all present. But there's not actually that much radio chatter. EF2000 uses spoken radio commentary for almost every manoeuvre and action, and I found JF3's radio silence to be a bit of a let down.
But the important thing is.. how does JF3 play? Well, it plays okay. And that's just it. JF3 has very little to distinguish it from the many other flight sims out there at the moment, and for my money , EF2000 is still more fun. If any games designers out there are listening, this is what I'd like to see in a flight sim; intelligent wingmen that I can give complex commands to, buildings that aren't just coloured patches on the ground, realistic damage, a choice of several aircraft and armaments, a management option, so I can send all my pilots to take out a small farmhouse if I feel like it, and lots of other stuff.
As it stands, JF3 is no better than the rest of the bunch, and if you feel you must own every flight sim ever, go ahead and buy it, but it's nothing special.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
AIM-9X 2023-01-08 0 point
This is a superb arcade/casual combat sim from 1996/97. There are several million square miles of terrain to explore, allowing for cross-country flights and really interesting missions. The physics and realism, while certainly arcade quality, make the sim really easy to get into while providing just enough immersion to keep it entertaining. The classic edition rolls together JF3 and the enhanced campaign CD, which adds 3dfx support. Flyable aircraft include the F-22N (there was never a naval version of the F-22, but this was 1996/97, when the F-22 program was still in the engineering/manufacturing development phase), F/A-18, and F-14. To run this on a modern machine, DOSBox is your best bet. At the end of the DOSBOx .conf file, add the lines which mount the CD image, set "core" to "dynamic," and "cycles" to "max." For the .bin/.cue image, mount the .cue as an .iso (i.e., "imgmount d c:\[image dir]\jf3.cue -t iso") and it should work. There are plenty of DOSBox tutorials on YouTube, and at the DOSBox website itself. If you are unfamiliar with MS-DOS, this is a great time to learn about it, particularly if getting into retro gaming. For running on machines of the time, stick with a Windows 98 build, and use a real 3dfx accelerator, if you can get one for a reasonable price, and mount the .bin/.cue image with Daemon Tools 3.47 (though you may need to mount the .bin file in Daemon Tools 3.47, since the CD-ROM image likely isn't a multi-mode CD). For Windows 98, use an early Pentium 4 machine with an Intel 845 chipset (i.e., a Dell OptiPlex GX260 with BIOS version A06), which will provide a liquid smooth frame rate experience in JF3. For Pentium 4 machines, use a SoundBlaster Live! audio card, and install the legacy MS-DOS support drivers with that. The sim runs great inside of a Windows 95/98 DOS window.
P D 2021-02-03 -10 points
I just foolishly downloaded from your webpage -
ZIP file -
JetFighter-III-Classic_Win_EN_ISO-Version.zip 410.1 M
Within which were the following files -
jf3p.BIN 617.6 M 12/24/1996 23:32
jf3p.cue 73 b 12/24/1996 23:32
That must be myabandonware.com's idea of a joke - a Classic Joke. HA! HA!
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