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Author Topic: Best and Worst Air Combat Sims Ever Played!
Member # 1100

posted 12-15-1999 07:01 AM     Profile for Leeman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
A big SALUTE to all those that responded to my poll on their favorite WWI & WWII air combat (or not) movies of all time. There sure are a lot of good ones. I'll be visisting my local video store soon!

Ok, now I'd like to know what your favorite air combat SIMS are of all time. I've tried just about everything out there but only a handful could be considered my favorites.
The envelope please:

Favorites: (in no particular order)
European Air War (obviously)

Red Baron (the original was on my hard drive for years!)

Aces of the Pacific (played it non-stop for months on end and the 1946 add on disc added a LOT of extended play to the game.)

Pacific Air War (will someone PLEASE make another Pacific Theater WWII sim??? This game was a LOT of fun.)

A10 Tank Killer (my very first air combat sim. Not very realistic but blasting tanks with that 30mm cannon was quite a bit of fun.)

Red Baron II (it's original release was a bit of a disappointment but after the 3D patches were released this became a terrific WWI sim worthy of it's predecessor.)

Aces Over Europe (improved graphics from the Aces of the Pacific game but without the same attraction. still I liked it.)

Chuck Yeager's Air Combat (fun, fun, fun. Covered aircraft from WWII to Vietnam and you could pit planes from different eras against each other.)

Battlehawks: 1942 (the first WWII air combat sim from LucasArts and Larry Holland. A fun "light" sim set in the Pacific Theater.)

Battle of Britain: Their Finest Hour (LucasArts second WWII sim. Lot's of planes, tons of missions, tons of fun.)

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (LucasArts final release of an air combat sim. Larry Holland went on to do the X-Wing series. SWOTL was a terrific "what if" WWII sim with many exotic German aircraft, some of which never saw combat. A lot of fun)

Gunship 2000: My first helicopter sim. Graphics were so-so but you got to fly 5 choppers and it was fun.

Longbow2: (an absolute must-have sim if you're into rotary blade aircraft. great graphics and realism.)

Will someone tell me why LucasArts has stopped making air combat sims? Where have you gone Larry Holland? The sim nation turns its lonely eyes to you! LOL!

F117 Nighthawk (a fun modern day survey sim released around the time of the Gulf War. Nothing was finer than blowing the crap out of Suddam's Republican Guard!)

Falcon 3.0 (my first "hardcore" sim. Fun but I found the campaign frustratingly difficult. I'd spend an hour setting up a mission only to be shot down 10 minutes into my flight. LOL! Still, I liked the game.)

US Navy Fighters: (Carrier Ops. Great graphics for it's day but an almost non-existent sense of speed)

JetfighterIII: (A survey sim that let you fly the F22, F14 and F18. Decent graphics, relaxed avionics and weapons but gave a terrific sense of speed especially on landings.)

USAF (a fun survey sim with terrific graphics, but short on realism.)

I'm sure I'll think of a few others later on.

Here's a list of sims I didn't like:
Wings of Glory and just about any sim that Electronic Arts released prior to the US Navy Fighters game. Pacific Strike was a good example of graphics over gameplay.

Flight of the Intruder: Uuuugly! Some people liked it. I didn't.

Falcon 4.0: Wouldn't it just be easier to join the air force and learn how to fly the real thing? Too hard for me. Made Falcon 3.0 feel like a kite sim by comparison.

Flying Corps: this game was on the "bubble". I think it's the only game in existence that actually looked WORSE once it was run with 3Dfx. Also had very odd keystrokes. A lot of people liked it and I played it for awhile cause it was all there was for current WWI sims but ultimately I didn't care for it.

Mostly, I have found that I like WWI and WWII sims the best. I just don't have the patience to learn the more difficult modern aircraft sims like Falcon4.0, Flanker, F15, F18 and so on. The learning curve is too steep and flying just one aircraft gets too boring for me after awhile.

How about the rest of you guys? Let's wax nostalgic!

Posts: 36 | From: Seekonk, Ma. USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1076

posted 12-15-1999 07:29 AM     Profile for JG5_Jerry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Mig Alley and Luftwaffe Commander went back to the shop for a refund quicker than you could say 'the development team should be roasted on skewers' ...
Posts: 702 | From: Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1100

posted 12-15-1999 07:36 AM     Profile for Leeman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post

I just bought Mig Alley last night and I forgot to add it to my list of WORST games! It BITES! What a HUGE disappointment. Buggy has hell. What did Rowan do, take Flying Corps and replace the wood and canvas bi-planes with Sabres and Migs?? The graphics look OLD, VERY OLD!! This game has serious issues. Maybe with a dozen patches or so it'll be a decent sim but right now returning it to my local EB is at the top of my list of things to do. Ugh! I think Sabre Ace looked better than this piece of crap!

Posts: 36 | From: Seekonk, Ma. USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 160

posted 12-15-1999 08:39 AM     Profile for JG26Jabo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
1. EAW
2. Fighter Duel (oldie but goodie)
3. WW2 Fighters (Jane`s)

Just got F4 AWESOME SIM!!! for jets

Posts: 141 | From: Greers Ferry, Ar. USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
JG26(P) von Vampr
Member # 1198

posted 12-15-1999 09:05 AM     Profile for JG26(P) von Vampr   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
S! Herr Jabo ,
Fighter Duel ?? AHHHCCKKK!!I still have it , but always hated it . Mig Alley was about as good (sold it to a unsuspecting ex-friend ) . I love E.A.W. , Falcon 4.0 is cool , and (pulls bullet proof vest on )Janes WWII Fighters . Also had alot of fun with Aces over Europe/Pacific , but they just don't compare to EAW .

von Vampr

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Posts: 33 | From: | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 572

posted 12-15-1999 09:18 AM     Profile for Majesty5   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I'd say most of those were right on. Also in no particular order:

Their Finest Hour - My first computer video game. This was to me what "Asteroids" in my Atari 7800 was when I was 7.

Just about every Dynamix sim that came out. I loved AOTP, Red Baron got me totally engrossed in WW1, A-10 was pretty cool, and I liked AOE a whole lot when I could get it to run at a decent speed. That game was vaporware for like, two years, too... Not like now, the way you can track a game's progress via the Internet.

SWOTL and Gunship 2000 are also definitely worthy of mention. I loved Gunship and the expansion packs, and while I never had any real success with SWOTL, it was very cool.

F-117, Microprose's F-15 Strike Eagle III, and Falcon 3.0 also graced my HD at one time or another. Falcon 3 ran like crap though... When I put in the MiG-29 add-on, I kept getting crashes. F-117 rocked, if anything, for the scope. I know of no other sim where you could fly hundreds of miles across all different theaters and not get constantly shot at. And I loved how the HUD showed where radar sources were. My favorite thing to do was re-live parts of "Red Storm Rising" in the game.

Worst sims? Falcon 4.0 is the devil's bargain; you get great visuals, but you need real AF training to fly the thing properly. :P I also tried the demo of Israeli Air Fighters or whatever, and thank god I didn't buy it. And heck, I couldn't even get Flying Corps to run. How is it that a 1996/97-vintage sim gives me all of 0.5 frames per second on a P2/300? It's like Delta Force 2 in the sky... I like MiG Alley a whole lot though.

Posts: 789 | From: Dallas, TX, USA | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 822

posted 12-15-1999 03:59 PM     Profile for Sander   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I've been using a Mac for years, (I will start using a PC for games, I've already bought EAW, WII Figthers, F4, EF2000, F22 ADF, Mig Alley, haven't played any of them yet!), and that had a game called Hellcats over the Pacific. It was brilliant, and when I got the expansion disk Mission over Leyte Gulf I was totally in heaven. I still play that game now and then. My best sim ever.
Worst sim: Falcon MC (mac version of Falcon 3), god that was horrible, terrible graphics, boring gameplay. Was competing head-on with the first version of Graphsim's F/A-18 Hornet Korea (which is actually the 4th in the series, 2nd on the PC), which was SO much better.

[This message has been edited by Sander (edited 12-15-1999).]

Posts: 25 | From: Maastricht, Netherlands | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 39

posted 12-15-1999 07:09 PM     Profile for VonBroam   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I first started flying in 1993, and my first sim was f-22 retaliator, it made a big impression. It was several years before I had my own computer and my first sim was Janes ATF. Just a little dating.

Favorite sims:
Janes ATF (not very realistic but lots of fun to play) Aces over Europe(my first prop sim) Then I got a new computer and messed with LB2 and it quickly became a favorite (hey its technicaly prop sim) Janes f-15 came and it was cool thaen came EAW and it has taken over my simming.

Worst sims
Fighter Wing, there was no liking this sim, no flight model, horrible graphics and no fun to play. Second worst sim Falcon4 prepatch, I honestly think that it contirbuted to the failure of one of my hard drives.

VonBroam out
Semper Fidelis

Posts: 327 | From: Beaufort, South Carolina | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1063

posted 12-15-1999 07:25 PM     Profile for SPANKY   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Posts: 68 | From: parksville b.c. canada | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1019

posted 12-15-1999 10:19 PM     Profile for PHilA   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I have only been on the computer scene since late 97 and that may explain some of my favorites.

Favorite sims (in order of most time wasted):
--Jane's WWII
--RedBaron 2/3d (some great expansion like EAW)
--Silent Hunter
--X-wing Alliance
--1942:PAW Gold (still on the system!)
--Tie Fighter
--Wings of Glory (I liked the hokey story, thought the graphics were better than Red Baron and enjoyed the variety of the missions and aircraft. However, I could only get the game to run with music only--like a silent movie--so maybe the real sounds and voices would change my mind.)
--X-Wing (who doesn't want to run the death star trench?)

Not so favorite sims (in order of preference):
-SDOE (just where are these miracle downloads? I can never access the links)
--Nations (better atmosphere and missions that SDOE but more bugs)
--Luftwaffe Commander (I thought it was kinda fun and liked the Spanish Civil War campaign. My biggest problems were the damage models, the wierd "target finding compass" and the speedy and deadly brewster buffalos--as if!. However, It may also have the dubious distinction of being the only sim that allows you to shoot pilots in their parachutes (a burst will collapse the canopy).
--CFS + Abacus add-ons (great sound, damage effects and terrain, but the rest is bland)
--Flying Corps: Many rave, but I never could get it to run well. Also, I hated the view layouts, and the machine gun effects and damage models.
--Airwarrior II/III: maybe a great multiplayer game, but single player gaming is less than compelling.
--Fighting Steel: Why did they bother if there was to be no land?
--Sierra ACES series: many of you may think this is heresy, but I don't get why Red Baron or AOP was so good. I installed them all from the ACES collection but thought that Aces of the Deep--the sub sim--was the best and have uninstalled the rest. Maybe its because I am "working backward" and started out with more sophisticated stuff. I will say this though, AOP is the only pacific sim to model the wake island and philipine campaigns of 1941/42 so I give it that. However, I think 1942:PAW was much more dynamic in scope with the carriers, the carrier battle mode feature, and the well modeled dive and torpedo bombers.

In all, to me sims are like sex and pizza--even when its bad, it's still kinda good.

[This message has been edited by PHilA (edited 12-15-1999).]

Posts: 96 | From: | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Jamie Richards
Member # 1405

posted 12-15-1999 11:47 PM     Profile for Jamie Richards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Does anyone remember Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Simulator (NOT Combat Simulator)? I still have the ancient thing, and I can still play it on my 10 MHz 286 which I still have up and running (for some reason).

There's something about it that still interests me...maybe it's the simplicity of the pink landscape dotted with pyramids and cubes! maybe it's the fun in ripping the SR-71's wings off!

Even to this day, I think the game's flight models feel alright. Well, not really, but they were good at the time.

I even think it's still better than Jane's WWII Fighters...feels like a console game! I played the demo, and after a few minutes, I almost expected some "power-up" or "extra-life" to appear in the sky! The sky was so empty (lacking in planes) and the landscape looked un-earthly. And dogfighting to music!?! Real pilots fly with the radio off! Then, just when I thought I had seen it all, I intentionally pointed my P47 straight down and rammed into the ground...and...I just sorta bounced, a wing plinking off here, a rudder there, then rolled around. Like, I hit the ground at 700 km/h. man!! What gives!? I'd be little more than shrapnel! But NOOOOOH, the plane rolls around on the ground to the accompaniment of some wierd stereo-symphonic scraping noises. Some people may think that's cool, but for the rest of us, there's EAW.

How's that for a rant?

Jamie Richards

Posts: 588 | From: Toronto, Ontario, CANADA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1062

posted 12-16-1999 12:22 AM     Profile for RossC   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post

-The original Gunship, on my C64. I thought it was very, very cool.

-Dam Busters on my Coleco. Never destroyed a dam (did anyone???), but flying across Europe on the way there manning all the positions in the Lanc (pilot, navigator, flight engineer, tailgunner, AND bomb-aimer/nosegunner - no mid-upper pos. on the Dam Raids planes, no wireless op in the game) was a trip. The animated commercial was neat, too.

-"Modern Era," which is to say PC, I got the Aces collection from Sierra. Only played AOE and AOTP, preferring AOE.

-all sorts of crappy jet sims, it seems (F22 Lightning II, Jetfighter III, I'm sure others I don't remember)

-PAW Gold, which shocked me with it's realism. I'd definitely like to see a new version of that. Trying to set one of those things on a carrier was tough, and I loved being able to be a rear gunner, esp. the Avenger where you could do some damage with that .50cal. - I was very disappointed MP didn't allow that for the Me110.

(insert long period of driving sims, here, NASCAR series, GP2 and now the ultimate, Grand Prix Legends - waiting for GP3)

-Red Baron II/3D. The most disturbing sim I've played, the churchbells ringing as you fly over towns on the hun side, and the screams ("yips") of the other aircrews if they get shot. I couldn't fly as a German, I couldn't bear hearing Commonwealth guys scream. That's immersion.

-WWII Fighters. The engine sounds are absolutely brilliant. I just set autopilot and put it in flyby loop. This and visble damage modelling (and overall graphics quaity, of course) are the only areas where it beats the crap out of EAW, but it sure isn't as much fun.

-EAW, nuff said. I just love being able to have a career in WWII, best carryover from PAW. The scale of the air battles is wild, too, finished a BoB just now with wave after wave of Ju87's attacking convoys off Portsmouth. No canned missions, none that I've seen, anyway.

-Falcon4.0, complexity and true dynamic campaign, I feel imortant just flying it. A war simulation that makes DiD's TAW look silly. Very neat.


Posts: 394 | From: Williams Lake, BC, Canada | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1100

posted 12-16-1999 05:58 AM     Profile for Leeman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post

I had forgotten all about Fighter Wing!! The thing I remember about that awful sim was when you flew through the clouds they actually obscured your instrument panel!! HA! How's THAT for realism!? How the heck did the clouds get IN your cockpit??

Posts: 36 | From: Seekonk, Ma. USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Papa Hotel
Member # 996

posted 12-16-1999 06:01 AM     Profile for Papa Hotel     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
White fart clouds in the cockpit from being scared to fly in a cumulus???

"If it ain't much it ain't Dutch" :)

Posts: 80 | From: Groningen, The Netherlands | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1100

posted 12-16-1999 06:10 AM     Profile for Leeman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post

There were at least two other sims that I know of that allowed you to shoot a pilot's parachute out from above him. One was Falcon 3.0 and the other was Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe.

A friend/co-worker and I had SWOTL installed on a PC at work years ago and were playing it at lunch one day. Along game the Engineering Supervisor who happened to be an A-6 pilot in Vietnam. He was getting a kick out of watching us play. My friend had just shot down a German pilot and swung around and strafed the pilot, collapsing his chute, and giggled as the pilot screamed as he fell to his death. The Engineering Supervisor was NOT pleased! He gave my friend a VERY dirty look, muttered something under his breath and stormed away!

I also remember reading a story about a pilot in WWII Europe who had witnessed a German fighter strafing parachutes from the crew of a B17. The American pilot was not pleased to say the least. He shot up the German aircraft until the pilot bailed. He then claimed that he shot the pilot up so bad as he floated down, emptying his guns, that by the time the chute hit the ground there wasn't any pilot attached to it anymore. Pretty gruesome, to say the least, if it's true.

Posts: 36 | From: Seekonk, Ma. USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 39

posted 12-16-1999 09:08 AM     Profile for VonBroam   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Yes.. it is a good thing that I did not let the Fighter Wing experience drive me away from flight sims all together. IT WAS that bad.

VonBroam out
Semper Fidelis

Posts: 327 | From: Beaufort, South Carolina | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 805

posted 12-16-1999 09:40 AM     Profile for Smeghead   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
One of the biggest laughs I ever had was playing F/A-18 Interceptor on the Amiga. Where else could you do carrier landings at 600kts, scrape the belly along the water and pull up again just before you ran out of flying speed, and *fly backwards*? Oh, yeah, and flying under the golden gate bridge and around San Francisco at ludicrous speed. What is it about bridges in flight sims - why *must* they be flown under at nutter speed?

Anyway, - F/A-18 had thrust reversers. At 5000 feet or higher, you could dump the gear, flaps and brakes to get it slowed down, then give it full welly in reverse (about -29% thrust, if I remember). The nose would drop, and the airspeed would hit zero, then creep back up in reverse. The Hornet would climb at a couple of hundred knots with the nose way down.

You couldn't steer it, though, and I never managed to get off the ground in reverse.

For silliness factor, I also enjoyed F-19 on the Amiga. Where else could you down 30+ soviet fighters in a stealth fighter with a cannon? A five round burst was all it took...


Posts: 1143 | From: Chicago, IL - a Brit abroad | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 781

posted 12-16-1999 10:01 AM     Profile for blur   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Still on my HD:
Hall of Fame:
Flanker 1.5
Red Baron 3d
Hornet 3.0
SVGA Harrier
Biggest disappointment:
FSSDOE (its just not for me)
Just plane sucked:
AirWarrior (all versions)

Posts: 241 | From: New York City | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 666

posted 12-16-1999 10:05 AM     Profile for Tannethal     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
First Sim was Battlehawks1942 (Lucasfilm)
Their finest hours came second.

The got hands on Red Baron and kept on playing it for years, had also Chuck Yeagers AC, was fun but didn't like the flight mods.
Was a little late with upgrading to a 386,
enjoyed SWOTL and later AOTP although never managed to land on a carrier,
switched to AOE, learned how to blast away bombers with the 262 and wondered every time seeing the enemy turn on the wingtip.

The back to the pacific with PAW, managed to land on carriers and liked the Army expansion.
(was there a campaign for army pilots?)

Worst expirience:
Had B17 as low budget, and keept asking myself why the wingies flew into Germany without shooting back at attacking fighters.
Was angry bout the things left out although promised in the manual(a good one, the first english "book" I bothered to read), like nine plane formations and fighter cover.
There was always none the flak was always light and Luftwaffe always heavy.
Only enjoyed maning a gun position (up to ten kills per mission) and dropping the bombs(always the same kind) and trying to land the damaged bird.
Might it be I missed the patch that added these features?

Excurse to the tanks and subs due lack of flight sims!
And then EAW, to what this leads you know from own expirience!

Posts: 537 | From: Olbernhau Germany | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 805

posted 12-16-1999 10:10 AM     Profile for Smeghead   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
P.S. RossC - yup, I remember Dambusters, but on the Speccy, thather than a Coleco. I think I managed to hit a couple of dams, bbut yeah, I missed most of the time. Shooting out searchlights was fun, though.
Posts: 1143 | From: Chicago, IL - a Brit abroad | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1399

posted 12-16-1999 03:58 PM     Profile for Buzzard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Favourite Sims
EAW (why else would I read this forum?)
Total Air War: this is a game where the programmers understood the learning curve for us simmers. The better you get the deeper you can fly into enemy territory.
Longbow II
Gunship II
Aces of the Pacific
Chuck Yeager Air Combat (my first flight simulation)

Worst Sims
F-15 from Janes: because of this game I realized that it is easier to join the USAF then to learn to fly this sim.
Flanker: same problem as in F-15 too difficult to learn and russian was not that good.

Overall i like most the WII and helicopter sims. Maybe it's because everything happens at speeds below mach 1 so I have more time to plan my actions.

Posts: 3 | From: Leuven, Belgium | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 573

posted 12-16-1999 05:36 PM     Profile for Loco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My favourites:

1) EAW
2) SDOE (It's getting better - OPP)
3) WWII (graphics)
4) AW3 (a lot of planes, mainly in the pacific theatre)

I didn't like:

1) CFS
2) Flying Corps
3) Overlord

Posts: 11 | From: Brasil | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
The Dud
Member # 1424

posted 12-16-1999 06:30 PM     Profile for The Dud   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Wow, was I the only one out there who bought TOP GUN Fire at Will? That is my vote for the worst sim of all time...straight linear based missions, same every time, flight model from hell and worst of all if you were stupid enough to persist to the last mission, with Maverick sitting at ready 5 on the deck of the carrier when the CAP is taken out, you were then launched into a scenario where you had multiple Mig 27s and Mig 29s converging on the carrier from two directions with about 140 degrees of separation...a carrier with no AEGIS ships to defend it and which launched Sparrow (?) missiles at the bogeys (which inevitably missed)...your wingman always got taken out in the first missile salvo from the bogeys and even if you managed to bag a few bad guys you were left with odds of about 10 bogeys to your one F14 which always equalled one smoking carrier and failure!!

That game deserves a place in the Sim Hall of Infamy. How embarrassing for me no one else was stupid enough to buy it


Posts: 3 | From: | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged

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