Nintendo‘s famous flying game, Pilotwings, first came out in Japan in 1990, then the following year was a launch title for the North American and European releases of the Super Nintendo.
Pilotwings uses scaling and rotation effects (known as ‘Mode 7’ in some circles) to give a visual representation of the ground, with regular 2D sprites making up everything else, and it works extremely well.
You’re a trainee in “The Flight Club” and your objective is to pass various flight tests, using different types of equipment, in order to gain different levels of certification. The lower levels are fairly easy, but the later levels are hard.
At first you have simple challenges, like flying through rings in a biplane, then landing it. Or skydiving through a few rings, pulling your parachute ripcord, then landing on a target for points. Complete those then it’s on to the trickier Rocket Belt (which is basically a VTOL jet pack type device which allows you to hover and fly backwards and forwards), and the hang glider.
When you’ve completed the four certification lessons the game then has a nice surprise for you… A secret mission where you must fly an attack helicopter into an enemy base to rescue the kidnapped instructors. You have to dodge anti-aircraft fire (one hit and you’re dead) but can fire back with missiles. Complete that mission and a new set of harder training missions will unlock – and another secret ‘night’ helicopter mission after that!
Pilotwings is a brilliant game and a timeless Nintendo classic on the SNES. It’s one of those games that everyone should play at least once in their lives.
More: Pilotwings on Wikipedia
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