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Old 06-16-2003, 03:47 PM   #170
Icarus4578
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
Keep pouring on the nostalgia

Pilotwings - SNES - Rating 8
I consider Pilotwings a Nintendo classic among the likes of their lesser-known but nonetheless true classics: Urban Champion, Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land, etc. However, what Pilotwings has over those others in my opinion is simple - it's a better game. The SNES was just pure magic when it was released and, indeed, what system released pre-Dreamcast didn't have some magical feeling emitting from somewhere which left an indelible set of memories within? The first time with NES, SMS, SNES, Genesis, TG16, SS, PS, etc. They each had personality to them. Pilotwings was a game with that magic feeling which only happens once during your first experience with something which feels different, special, and in fact foreign. Something about Pilotwings felt unfamiliar and did what it did with confidence. It becomes a part of your life by attaching itself in your memories.
Ahhh, as you can clearly tell I'm very fond of things with a nostalgic property to them. It is a remarkable thing. For those of you who haven't played Pilotwings before, I don't know if it will do the same thing for you as it did for me. It's a very simplistic game but at the time it was new and (for me) a revelation.
So what is Pilotwings about? Taking flying lessons of sorts. You have to take to the skies in a plane, hang glider, rocket pack, and even skydiving lessons. The idea is to achieve a high enough passing score to move on to different instructors which progressively give you harder tasks to accomplish. There's that familiar Nintendo combination at work again; simple, fun gameplay which proceeds to get more and more challenging. You get better grades by doing things like flying through rings in the sky, making parachute landings perfectly on moving platforms, etc. To this day, I've yet to tire of it. And oh sure, if you're feeling self-destructive you could choose to NOT open the parachute and freefall all the way down. But this is Nintendo, not some other company like Midway, so don't expect to see any blood or nothing (which is good in this case). To sum it up, it's a semi-cartoony simulator that doesn't take itself too seriously. Oh, and I shouldn't forget mention that you get passwords after you complete all the missions from each instructor.
Graphic-wise, this is a very early SNES game which was made not only to be fun but to show off the then-revolutionary SNES graphic zooming, scailing, rotating, etc. Don't worry that it doesn't use 500,000 polygons on-screen at once. This game proves you don't need X amount of polygons to create a good 3D world. In fact, wouldn't it be nice if somebody took advantage of this neglected formula nowadays and tried to do something with sprites instead of tons of polygons on everything? They could even mix 2D with 3D, but I guess it's not important (who is actually gonna try that nowadays?). Nobody is interested in indelible virtues or creativity anymore.... :annoyed:

Face it ~ we, the true gamers, are being neglected left and right.

The controls are simple but can become frustrating later on when you're trying to do something very difficult. The controls on the rocket pack and hang glider in particular take some serious mastering, but since I'm a veteran (or is it just because I'm familiar with the game?) it didn't take me long to get back into the hang of things.
Aurally Pilotwings delivers with soft, soothing bossa nova-esque lounge music and calm and generally quiet pieces while in the heat of things. It's a change from all the noise in today's software, and it works with splendid results. The sound effects are all SNES quality; you know the deal. They too get the job done.
You may wonder why I didn't give it a 9 given all its positive qualities. Simply put, it's not quite long enough for me to put it alongside a game like Axelay in ratings. It's a very pleasing game but there should have been a little more of it. Nevertheless this is quality classic gaming among the finest. I'm very happy that Nintendo didn't just make some stupid game based solely on the effects of the then new SNES. There's something enjoyable here.

I'll return.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-22-2004 at 11:22 AM.
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