Thursday, May 05, 2011

No Go For Hellcats Across the Pacific

Yesterday I tried to install Hellcats - Across the Pacific on my computer, and failed miserably. Let me explain.

It all started with a trip to Best Buy to spend a gift certificate. While shopping I saw a copy of Microsoft's Flight Simulator. Oh boy did the memories starting coming back. I used to hook my computer up to a projector, grab my joystick, plug into my stereo system and fly the skies. What fun! I liked to set up longer flights and trying flying only by instruments.

However, I now own a Mac and this game is only for Windows. So I started doing some online research to see if there were any Mac compatible flight simulator games. The clearest winner was X-Plane. It's just like MFS, but goes across all platforms. They even have an iPhone and iPad app. I'll definitely be getting the iPhone app once I upgrade my phone. The iPad app looks insanely awesome too.

While doing my research I also came across a comment about Hellcats. Again the memories came rushing back to me. I remember spending HOURS DAYS flying in that game. Oh my, it was so much fun. It was so simple, yet nailed the gameplay aspect of it. I also remember never really being able to land consistently, and I hoped this would be my chance to figure it out.

More research revealed I could download Hellcats for free - and it worked without a joystick. Awesome. But wait, I saw another link to an emulator. Oh boy. I knew I was in for an adventure. I've been successful with emulators before, so I was hopeful. I have the patience to read multiple tutorials and experiment with configurations to make it work. My most resent foray was getting Day Of The Tentacle and Full Throttle working on my laptop.

Basically, the game only worked on older versions of Mac OS (7-9). Luckily, the download site linked to a comprehensive guide for installing the emulator. I decided to experiment first on my old PC laptop, and if that worked consider doing it again on my Mac.

I had to download a bunch of files, save them in various places, and change a bunch of settings at each step. After an hour of messing around, I successfully had Mac OS 9 running my on laptop PC. Kind of cool in its own right. Then the moment of truth to see if I could get Hellcats running.

First I had to figure out how to unzip a .SIT file. Not easy apparently. It took downloading two programs, from THE SAME COMPANY, before I successfully unzipped it. Even then, I wasn't sure if it really worked because the program files looked really small. OK. OK. The game came out in 1991 -  all files from then look really small I bet (remember 1.44 MB floppies?).

Unfortunately, this is where all my tutorials fell short. They all kind of assumed it would just play... It didn't. Further trouble was that OS 9 wasn't the best at describing the reason for the error. I did a little more research to find little to no advice.

So, after investing two hours of my life into playing a game that probably isn't as good as I remember, I gave up. I uninstalled the emulators and went for a walk to contemplate the meaning of my life. :(


  1. Julia Rose Sevin9:19 PM

    I'm bummed about this. My Christmas gift to my brother is a flash drive with an emulator and a bunch of early Mac games (Carmen Sandiego, Maelstrom, the CORRECT Oregon Trail, etc.) Hellcats was going to be the crowning glory since my brother got his military obsession from it & went on to a military career. But yeah. Haven't found anything that works, even a little. :(

  2. That sounds like an awesome Christmas gift! I wouldn't give up an on emulator just yet. Though, your best bet might be to find an old Mac and load the games directly on it. Good luck!