F-18 Hornet (Commodore 64), USA 1988
F-18 Hornet was a combat flight simulator released in 1988 by Absolute Entertainment. It was released for an odd combination of platforms, only being available on the Commodore 64 and Atari 7800 (though the ad above is specific to the Commodore 64 version). 1988 was the Atari 7800’s biggest year in terms of the number of games released and the Commodore 64 was just coming off its peak. Imagineering actually developed the game and they developed a large percentage of the games for the Atari 7800 but these were published via Absolute, Atari and Activision.
F-18 is a decent enough combat flight simulator but these aren’t the sort of games that hold up well over time. I haven’t played the Atari 7800 version so I’m not sure which is better. From the screen shots the Atari 7800 version looks a little more colorful but the Commodore 64 version seems to be higher resolution. I know that the Atari 7800 version was limited 64KB (the size of the ROM for that game) while the Commodore 64 version would have had 170KB available on the single side of a disk though it also would have had load times between missions and such that the Atari 7800 version would not have had. Given the compressed size of the images available on the internet, the Commodore 64 version seems to use about twice as much data.
I’m a bit biased so except in rare cases I’ll almost always recommend the Commodore 64 version over another 8-bit version of a game anyway. However, if you own an Atari 7800, there’s no reason not to add this cart to your collection. In either case, emulations is also easily accomplished. However, for realism more modern combat flight sims are the way to go. Old flight sims don’t have quite the same appeal (at least to me) as old arcade games for instance. If you do want to pick up one of these games, you’ll have to get an original. There are no re-releases that I am aware of.