WDL WarJetz is another game in the World Destruction League series that lets you pilot a souped-up, artillery-heavy vehicles and blast the crap out of anything you see on screen. In this incarnation, the vehicles are modified war jets, ranging from the heavy and powerful A-12 Raider to the fast and easily maneuverable Dragonfly helicopter. Each jet comes equipped with two weapons, and you can find power-ups to increase the damage of weapons. There are also hidden planes and areas, so the game offers some relief from boredom with easily attainable goals.
Skies the Limit
The graphics are about the same as they were in Thunder Tanks – beautifully realized vehicles with tons of detail (including rust damage and smoking engines when hit) and large open spaces to fly in. The only detail not included are human characters (we would have liked to gun down a couple of civvies just for the hell of it), but the game doesn’t focus on minute detail – it focuses on large-scale destruction, and delivers eye-popping, teeth-chattering explosions and vehicular damage that looks very real. Shrapnel comes flying at you after an explosion, you see buildings implode, and even watching planes crash and burn is cool. As for the backgrounds, they range from Australia to Thailand to San Francisco and New York, and they contain visuals unique to each city, so you’ll recognize certain landmarks before you blow them up.
The sounds also offer an earful of destruction. Each explosion rocks your TV speakers with thunderous bass, and the whine of bullets past your windshield or the spine-tingling lock-on missile tone will definitely place you front and center of the action. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t stay so stellar when it comes top the annoying announcers with their trite barbs and seemingly senseless sarcasm. You’ll also hear an occasional roar from the crowd, some standard in-game music, and the hum and sputter of your engines. Without the explosions, the game is a standard vehicle smasher – but with the explosions cranked to max, the game rocks.
The Wins Beneath Your Wings
If you didn’t have problems controlling the tanks in Thunder Tanks, you won’t have a problem controlling the planes in WarJetz. The game has a ceiling installed, so you can’t fly too high – and the numerous obstacles on the surface guarantee you won’t fly too low. The ability to turn the plane sharply is efficiently handled, so that you can turn and shoot planes behind you without taking it up the aft. There’s no need to switch between weapons since your two weapons are on different buttons, but you can switch between bombing and firing views, which takes some practice. You’ll find that the controls suit the ham-fisted way you fly – straight on and with no regrets.
What sets the game apart from being a total mish-mash of boring explosions are the different mission objectives and mini-games. You may find yourself annihilating an entire city in one level, or protecting a convoy in another, or shooting down planes for cash. There’s also the thrill of unlocking new ships – the ultimate is the Marauder II, a lumbering, bulky fighter fitted with a 150mm Flak Cannon – and tactical nuclear warheads. All that’s missing when you get this is Slim Whitman riding a shell and slapping the bomb while shouting, ”Yee ha”! Although you may tire of the game before getting the Marauder II (most of the different objectives start to seem the same after you’ve bombed a few cities) it’s still worth it to play, especially for weekend warriors looking for a weekend rental. WarJetz pours on the fuel – you’ll have to be the one to light the match.