Chuck Yeager is a real man among men in the often very glamorous world of aviation. Last issue we previewed the game and revealed the man behind the 'bone-dome' (helmet to us land-bound pilots), this issue the Spectrum gets its taste of breaking the sound barrier.
There's far more to Chuck Yeager's AFT than test flying the latest jet aircraft in the odd loop or roll session. Chuck Yeager had to practically fly every new type of plane around, and the simulation allows you to do just that in 14 aircraft types, including the 'Glamorous Glennis' X-1.
Chuck's quite willing to let you loose in anything from a Sopwith Camel to the ultra-fast SR-71 Blackbird reconnaisance plane - just make sure you're strapped in and don't pull that lever marked 'Eject'. A great pity the graphics of each type of plane are limited to all of two types of representation, an F-16 and a bi-plane graphic!
The key to all this flight business lies in the five options (one on the 48K) accessible from the main menu. A nice leisurely Introductory Flight is recommended for novices who don't know their flaps from their altimeter (does anybody?).
If, however, you want to team everything about flying and pretend to qualify for your licence, use the Flight Instruction mode. Here Chuck offers words of wisdom about basic, advanced and aerobatic moves (and he should know!), allowing you either to fly or observe the plane as it spins, rolls and yaws around - an SR-71 or the XPG-12 Samurai looping the loot are not impossible, but not recommended unless you've a qualified instructor like Chuck with p you. He'll probably disown you if you do loop a Blackbird!
For 128K owners, the Formation Flying and Aeroplane Racking options really put a pilot's newly learned skills to the test. Keeping from hitting the ground is the least of your worries when the computer-controlled aircraft starts dodging between buildings and performing barrel rolls, Immelmann twins and Cuban eights loops at the same time. Aeroplane racing is much the same, except you try to out-race Chuck around five twisting aerial courses. The choice of a P-51 or F-18 being yours for the attempt.
Although AFT may lack variety in plane and cockpit graphics, the realism behind it is most authentic, with each plane hawing its own unique flight performance levels and flying in its own individual way. The solid 3-D performs very well, the graphics moving smoothly with a fast pace to match.
Half the fun of the game is in learning how each plane operates, although it could get a mite repetitive given time. The instruction mode, formation flying option and aeroplane racing option serve as bonuses on top of what is a highly competent flight simulator. Pity there's no combat in the game.
Fast, solid 3-D graphics and loads of options make for an engrossing simulation.