Hellcats has to be the best flight simulator for the Mac today. It combines 256-color, 3-D, shaded graphics with extremely fast, smooth scrolling and military-simulator-quality avionics and creates a fast-paced arcade game.
There are eight missions to fly, ranging from bombing an enemy runway to protecting an Allied carrier from Japanese attack. Your plane is the F6F Hellcat, equipped with machine guns and a pair of bombs. Each target you obliterate gives you points towards promotions through the ranks, but be forewarned: dying in the game is like dying in real life. Your character is gone, and you start again with a new recruit.
The game is best played with a joystick but works fine with a mouse. There are a few bugs, most noticeably a blind search party; bail out near your base, and chances are the rescue party will still pass you by. A program exists called "Hellcats Rescue" (available via anonymous FTP from sumex) that exhumes dead pilots, leaving their scores intact. This is useful when Hellcats pulls a fast one on you.
Missions at Leyte Gulf , the sequel to the smoothest flight simulator on the Mac adds more goodies. In addition to eight more missions, it features rockets (though not completely historically accurate, they are fun), moving targets (ships, trucks, tanks), and smarter fighters. Gameplay seems even faster on my IIci than the original Hellcats. Note that this is only a missions disk – you still need the original program.
Available in stores and mail order houses.
Company: Graphic Simulations
Price: Hellcats: $38 mail order
Missions: $22 mail order
Repeat Playability: 5