Journey with us now back to the days of yesteryear, when games needed DOS 4GW, hardware configuration was manual, and the horizon only stretched as far as the fog filter. If you like to gnash your teeth over Windows 95 games, maybe you should pick up Jetfighter: Full Burn for a blast from the past that will remind you of all the things you don't miss about those thrilling old DOS days.
Mission Studios' Jetfighter series has built a strong following with its easy-to-grasp and generally technologically competent sims. Unfortunately, it's returned to the well one too many times with Full Burn, a shameless rehash of Jetfighter III that features sadly outdated technology.
Full Burn is the Wing Commander of jet sims. Mission Studios has essentially taken the Jetfighter III engine, added some modest texture smoothing via 3Dfx support (the only hardware acceleration it supports), and wrapped it all in a cinematic narrative that would have shamed Digital Pictures. The core of the game is virtually identical to Jetfighter III, with a few minor additions. The F/A-18 and F-22 are back and flying, along with the newly added Russian MiG-42. A fair combination of tutorials, instant action, and narrative campaign provide plenty of diverse and generally interesting missions. Multiplay, however, is still limited to Kali and IPX.
Full Burn has decent frame rates, but the graphics simply don't pass muster. Grafting hardware support onto an old DOS engine hasn't done much. Objects lack the definition of more recent sims, terrain is blotchy, the instruments are blocky and hard to read, and the horizon fogs out almost right in front of your nose. As a sim, it is definitely low-end on the realism scale and seems even less accurate than its predecessors. All the planes feel the same, and though stalls are modeled, few other physical elements are. (Actually, stalls seem over-modeled and inaccurate.) Enemy AI is average, and wingmen don't seem particularly aggressive or tactically sophisticated. There are no advanced mission editing or loadout options, and avionics are beyond simplified.
The point of Full Burn seems to be to create a user-friendly sim with lots of video and a "virtual" air base that you can walk around. The video, however, is grade Z cheese. Two sets are included: one for the Russian side, another for the Americans. The story centers around pilots fighting a war over Norway, and we get everything from their stilted briefings to their boring home lives. It takes six clips to do what one could have done better, and all the actors seem to be refugees from an Andy Sidaris movie. If the scenery wasn't largely virtual, they would have eaten it.
Even with all these negatives, there is still a place for Full Burn on the hard drive of gamers who want jet-fighting action without the fuss. The sim element is about at the level of a Wing Commander, with no complex instruments to learn or difficult physics to get in the way. Combined with the narrative element (weak as it is), it could appeal to gamers looking for a quick and engaging action-based fighter sim. The main reason it's not a total wash is that the missions themselves are interesting, and the gameplay is generally entertaining. It's not a very good sim, but viewed as a narrative action game it delivers some entertaining moments.