Strike Fighters Project 1
by Strategy First
When you think about combat flight simulations you either think about World War II or present day simulations. An era you don't often have a simulation of is the 1960s. However Strike Fighters hopes to fill an important gap in combat simulations and is based in the 1960s and features air battles, strikes, escorts, reconnaissance and much more.
So what planes are on offer here then? Well essentially the flyable aircraft consists of the F-100 Super Sabre, A-4 Skyhawk, F- 104 Starfighter and the F-4 Phantom II. The choice of aircraft was to make the game feel authentic. The manual says that the aircraft "had to be multipurpose and effective in multiple roles [and] secondly, the aircraft had to be widely exported by the US and would therefore fit well into a fictional conflict when opposed by Soviet backed regimes." The included aircraft fit the bill nicely. There is also a collection of non-flyable aircraft in the game. These are a mix of Soviet fighters such as the MiG-19 Fishbed, Su-7 Fitter, MiG-17 Fresco and friendly aircraft such as the B-57 Canberra and C-130 Hercules.
The simulation offers a choice of Instant Action, Single Mission, Campaign and a multiplayer mode. Instant Action pops you straight into the cockpit right next to an enemy location and ready for action. The Single Mission mode gives you the chance to choose the parameters for your mission such as the mission type, the weather, the aircraft you want etc. The Campaign mode features a solitary campaign that disappointingly is only a fictional one. The good news though is that the campaign is also a dynamic one so it will be different each time you play through the game. You get the chance to earn medals and promotions throughout your career in the campaign too. That said though I would have preferred at least the option to take part in a historically accurate campaign as these simulations real cry out for such authenticity.
As with all simulations you get the option to choose your control method and as always a good joystick setup is a must. One aspect of Strike Fighters that might put some people off is how many key commands there are. There has to be approximately 100 key commands. Make no mistake the learning curve for this simulation is going to be immense and will frighten all of the most dedicated. Even with a joystick you're still going to have to learn an ungodly out amount of hotkeys if you're going to do well.
Graphically the simulation looks good and I was pleased that I didn't have any framerate issues at all which when compared to Combat Flight Simulator 3, was a big improvement. The aircraft models all looked good and the cockpit detail was absolutely fine. What did look a little below average was the terrain graphics that looked a little poor when compared to other combat flight simulations. The benefit of this though could be that the lack of detail enable the framerate to remain smooth where as in other simulations, with more detailed terrain, the framerate would not have been so healthy. It would have been nice to have a more helpful planning map on though as the one that's included doesn't really allow for tactical planning in the way it should.
Where Strike Fighters will please deaf gamers is in its provision of subtitles. Take a look at the screenshots. Not only are subtitles an option in the game, they are also on by default. The text is easy to read with its placement on a dark overlay. All speech is subtitled which is very pleasing. You even get text feedback for changing to autopilot or switching to air-to-ground weapons. All briefings and instructions are given completely in text too. The simulation comes with a 64-page manual, which seems to cover the basics, and a key command card that lists the extensive list of key commands. All in all deaf virtual pilots should be very happy with the subtitling in Strike Fighters.
Strike Fighters Project 1 is a fairly good simulation. What hurts it the most is the lack of an historical campaign and the overly complex control system that uses an unbelievable amount of key commands. You'll going to need a lot of time to learn all of the commands off by heart. In the heat of a battle you just don't have time to look at the key command card to find what you're after. For those that have the patience to stick with it though, you'll find a good simulation is there for the learning.
Game Rating: 7.2/10