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GI Reviews

August 1996 Issue

May The Winds Be With You

  • Size: 8 Megabyte (64 Megabit)
  • Style: 1-Player Flight Simulator
  • Special Features: Multiple Perspectives, Four Hidden Agendas, Eight Playable Characters, Monstrous Worlds, Battery Save
  • Created by: Paradigm for Nintendo
  • Available: Now in Japan, Sept. 30th for Nintendo 64

So you want to be a pilot for ValuJet? Nintendo is taking applications for their new pilot training program. All you need is a few dollars and a way of getting to Japan. When you're there pick up a Nintendo 64, then a copy of PilotWings 64 and you'll be well on your way to earning your wings. Or if that's a problem, just one more month and you'll be able to buy everything you need right here in the states.

Yes, PilotWings is back, but this time it's flexing its 64-bit muscles. With a few differences, not to mention hidden Easter Eggs, immaculate graphics, wicked missions and super killer cool bonus stages, PW64 remains true to its original form of being a fast loading, cartridge playing, eye action, stomach wrenching, trip through the stratosphere.

The premise of PilotWings is flight simulation with a twist. Choose from three initial aero-vehicles and eight humanoid characters. Four separate worlds must be conquered with each vehicle. Although "conquering" a world means placing as a bronze, silver, or gold medalist with each vehicle, only successive golds will allow entrance into the bonus stages! Within the bonus stages you'll access the Birdman, Cannonball, Skydiver or Jumblehopper scenarios.

The first Island is Holiday Island, a relatively simple world laden with a few surprises. As opposed to later islands, Holiday Island consists of maneuvering a vehicle through numerous floating rings. After clearing the rings, return to the landing pad for a score. Scores are based on speed, ring accuracy and landing prowess. For a cool surprise, go to the northwest corner of the island, fly under the rock arch and find the star. This will turn you into Birdman! Press A to flap your wings, and since you're on no mission feel free to fly around for hours. Rumor has it that even if you fly continuously out into the ocean there's a few surprises in store. Try landing on the decks of ships to see what you find.

The second island is Everfrost Island and this is where the game gets good. Each stage demands more objectives of each vehicle. On this island you'll have to qualify in two challenges, on the third island three, the fourth island four. While the jet pack and Gyro initially demand the same loop-flying objectives, with the hanglider you'll have to fly towards an object and take a specific picture. Your job will be to photograph the smokestack. Sound easy? Yeah right...It's gotta be the right shot, coupled with a credible landing or it's try again. After you take the right shot you'll have to tackle a second objective. Run your hanglider off the edge of a cliff and follow just above the raging mountain river while flying through multiple rings. When you've mastered this, hop on the Gyrocopter where you'll be armed with missles, and shooting down targets. After the first rocket-pack challenge you'll have to touch on certain targets in consecutive order.

The third and fourth islands are Holiday and Little States respectively. Missions change, though the songs remain the same. Fly by the White House, cruise by whales, land in Hollywood. Along with Mario, what's impressive about this game is the computer logic. Worlds are vast, secret stuff is everywhere. Check things out, do what you want and land anywhere, except of course the swamps of Florida! Good luck young PilotWing. May the winds be with you.

Andy, The Game Hombre
"Pilotwings has always had a certain appeal that just can't be denied. It's just so incredibly fun to play. You can try to compete in events or you can cruise the skies, it just doesn't matter. While this game may not be for everybody, it certainly is a nice breath of fresh air."

Reiner, The Raging Gamer
"Absolutely stinking brilliant! That's what PilotWings 64 is! Nintendo really outdid themselves with this one. Personally, I thought the 16-bit version was great, but this one just sings; play me! Technically, the polygons and the massive environments are the most impressive spectacles in PilotWings 64. Play control is easy to pick up on, and the multiple views makes accomplishing objectives so much easier. PilotWings 64 really shows off what the N64 can do - effects, effects, effects!"

Paul, The Game Professor
"At first glance I didn't think this looked all that impressive. The characters are fairly generic and they look like a bunch of triangles. As I began to get into the game the visuals amazed me and remnants of the 16-bit game emerged. The variety of missions along with the increasing challenge will keep me playing for a good long time. Exploring each stage is almost as fun as receiving the gold wings. Obviously, anyone who has a hankerin' for some flyin' should go for the wings. A worthy game to buy with the system."

The Bottom Line: 9.25
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