Strike Fighters: Project 1 - PC - Preview
There is a distant sound akin to a thrum. You’ve just unleashed a barrage of bullets, but this isn’t an aerial dogfight of the classic prop-plane kind. Nope, your target is a jet fighter and is flying much too fast to take down with simple guns. But there is a solution. Select and fire a sidewinder missile. That will light up the old tailpipe – that is, if it can hit the target.
You see, back in the early days of jet fighters, those missiles that are used so effectively now, weren’t all that accurate.
Strike Fighters: Project One is a flight sim from Strategy First and Third Wire Productions. This is a game that looks terrific, has a lot of the elements of classic flight simulations and attempts to recall the earlier era of fighter jets.
The game has been created by the lead designer of such classic programs as European Air War and Longbow 2, and features the F-4 Phantom II. Other attributes of this program include an advanced terrain engine using both fractal and digital elevation mapping, fully scalable difficulty options, and a wide array of classic aircraft such as the Martin B-57 Canberra, MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-21, the F-100 Super Sabre, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, Su-7 and Tu-22.
The press release for this program states that “the core of the game is traditional combat flight-simulation – the player takes command of a thundering jet fighter and engages in aerial dogfight with enemy fighters while seeking and destroying ground targets. The game is set in the 1960s – when aviation technology was still primitive, but advancing at a rapid pace. Some missiles and guided weapons are available later in the game, but true to history, they remain somewhat unreliable and inaccurate.”
The game has several ways to play – not only is there the instant action mode, but a single player and campaign modes and multiplayer. Because this was a preview and advanced look, no manual accompanied the game and there wasn’t an in-game tutorial. The only option was to jump into the cockpit and have a go. While the game is default configured for a joystick, you can use the keyboard or a gamepad for basic controls. However, this is a tough game to control. The plane will break left or right, or roll with barely a whisper of a suggestion. Crashing into the ground produces a spectacular explosive effect.
The options menu seemed a little light, but then this was a beta preview, far from the final master.
Graphically the game is superb. You get a full three-dimensional feel by being able to look 360-degrees from your cockpit vantage point. Ground elements look wonderful and the aerial combat is intense. The game’s sound does a terrific job of supporting the graphical elements.
Strike Fighters is an immersive combat flight sim. The older prop-plane dogfights are a bit slower, and some may find them more enjoyable, but Strike Fighters harkens back to a classic period, when pilots were coming off those days of close aerial combat, and when missiles weren’t taking out targets from miles away. This game has all the markings of a solid, entertaining and challenging flight combat sim.
This product is slated for release in the summer.