Aerial Combat games are a dime a dozen these days, offering players a chance to soar in the sky and take out enemy craft with a variety of weapons. While some slant more towards the simulation aspect, others go towards the ‘arcade route,’ reveling in high-flying acrobatics and Hollywood-style action. In City Interactive’s Dogfight 1942, which is definitively of the latter type, players will be able to control some of history’s most famous planes during World War II, and use them to defeat enemy forces.
In Dogfight 1942, players take on the role of Lieutenant Philip Harrison, who has just been assigned to the USN defense squadron on Midway Island. Fighting during the second World War against the combined forces of the Germans and Japanese, Harrison must prove his worth during this time of need. While the plot itself is as generic as can be and paper-thin to boot, it still has a presence during the campaign in the form of in-game cutscenes and voice-overs, which is quite nice.
The sounds and visuals in the game are pretty well done, capturing the essence of the times nicely. Airplanes engines roar and bullets clang against other aircrafts as they should, and partner’s in the air sound like they’re actually talking through old-school headsets. All the planes are nicely detailed and explode quite well (especially during the game’s awesomely dramatic Kill Cam), and although the land and cities below lack a bit of polish, they still look great and you can see the nice amount of work they put into it.
Dogfight 1942 excels in the gameplay department. An arcade flight game, the planes fly fast, maneuver awesomely, and most importantly, destroy things effortlessly. The game is fine-tailored for people who just want to have fun and not worry about the simulation part of aerial combat games.
Players take to the sky with a simple push of the analog stick, and from there it’s all about taking down baddies left and right. This is achieved by either using machine gun fire, or a variety of projectiles that serve different purposes, such as bombs, torpedoes or missiles. Each weapon in the game feels great, and players will be glad to know they are all very easy to use, as there are reticles that allow for careful aiming, and all carry infinite ammo.
By carefully aiming at an enemy craft, a little aiming reticule appears before them, allowing a player to predict the enemies path of travel so they can know where to aim their shots. It’s a pretty nice feature that simplifies things quite a bit, and not to mention keeps the game’s pace moving.
Another cool feature is what is known as Ace mode, which basically allows players to zoom in on their target, while also allowing the A.I. to control the player’s aircraft so that it follows the target automatically, allowing players to freely focus on shooting and/or bombing. This gameplay feature is excellent, as it helps a ton when enemy planes are annoyingly zigzagging all over the place, and also allows for some cool looking maneuvers, like flying past an enemy and then quickly turning to catch it from behind. It also helps each encounter feel like an action-packed movie, as the camera view presented while using Ace Mode is quite thrilling. The game isn’t called Dogfight for nothing.
Landing, usually one of the hardest tasks in flight games, is also quite easy in Dogfight 1942. All a player needs to do is slow down the plane and align it with the landing strip, and the game takes care of the rest. It’s pretty awesome that I don’t have to work so hard to land a plane, even if it’s just to finish a mission.
The main campaign is split into two acts, each with a set of missions that range from destroying other aircrafts, bombing ships and bases, protecting a key location or escorting other aircraft to a destination. Missions are short and sweet, full of action, and are most importantly, fun. There’s enough variety in stages and missions to keep stuff from ever getting boring, and as soon as you know it, you’ll be hooked. Unfortunately, the whole experience ends too quickly.
While the game comes with some multiplayer, it’s unfortunately limited to local co-op. While this isn’t bad, as I enjoy playing with friends and whatnot, I would have loved some form of online co-op or deathmatch. It could have been loads of fun.
All in all, City Interactive’s Dogfight 1942 is a great arcade aerial combat game. The gameplay is easy to get into, controls well, and is pretty fun. The only real flaw I found is that lack of online multiplayer, but other than that, City Interactive’s arcade shooter is a pretty cool game. If you love flight games and enjoy an action-packed arcade experience, Dogfight 1942 is the game for you.