Dan Kitchen’s Turn & Burn: No-Fly Zone is a sleeper gem on the SNES and it comes from a man with a hefty resume in gaming. From the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation 2 and beyond, Kitchen has left an impact on gaming culture. From licensed projects to independent ones, he’s seen it all.
As a result, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Kitchen utilized many of the lessons learned from the previous games on Turn & Burn. As a matter of fact, Kitchen went into the Super NES development process hungrier to make the experience more real than he had in previous games. One of the tricks he ended up implementing was allowing the player to leave the first-person view used in No-Fly Zone and in his previous games, to look around the skies for enemies that may not be in their normal view. This view was of the full-motion-video type as well, adding a level of visual appeal not seen in any aerial combat games up until the point. It ended being one of the coolest parts of the game, a bell and whistle that wasn’t at his disposal on the Game Boy or Atari 2600.
“I wanted the game to recreate as much as possible the experience of dog fighting in an F-14,” Kitchen said. “During actual combat, F-14 Drivers (a term used by the pilots) and RIOs (Radar Interface Officers) have to be able to view as much of the sky around their aircraft as they can when bogeys are close. Adding the Back-Left and Back-Right views attained this and made it possible for the player to view bogeys that were behind them (at their six o’clock position).”
That re-creation of reality was possible due to a litany of factors, not just adding features. It was about understanding the people who actually fly the jets. In a move that cemented the realism and polish behind Turn & Burn: No Fly Zone, Kitchen actually became a bit of a journalist. “During the development of Turn & Burn I had the opportunity to speak with two F-14 drivers and hear firsthand their experiences of sitting on the deck waiting for the cat to launch and the stress they felt during nighttime TGLs (touch and go landings),” Kitchen said. “One told me that early in his deployment he had his ‘night in the barrel’ where it took him three attempts to land on a rolling deck in the rain. I admire these aviators who live on the edge every day and exist for the thrill of going from 170mph at full throttle over the hardtop to 0 in less than a second.”
Being able to have missions during, day, night and twilight also added a nice bit of gameplay differential. It took what could have been a bland simulator and provided the necessary spice to complete the package. It was time-consuming, but Kitchen believes the effort was well worth it.”It took a lot of tweaking to get the colors just right so that the player could experience the change of day but still be able to easily identify the bogeys against the sky colors,” Kitchen said.
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