I’m a big fan of military aviation. As a child in the 90’s, I used to wake up early in the morning to watch Wings on the Discovery Channel. By early, I mean to say like 0600 which is very early for a 10 year old kid on summer break from school.
I just have this huge fascination with military aviation and fighter planes in general. I remember watching wide eyed during this show. I was given many books on the matter, the most important to to me was Air Forces of The World, a big thick book published in the 80’s with then current data on the world’s existing air forces. I remember that the back of the book had a glossary that contained an aircraft silhouette guide which I studied religiously.
Time went on and my sister and I owned a then state of the art Playstation, and one of the titles that I played quasi-endlessly was Ace Combat III : Electrosphere. My love for jets and flying is so that even in arcade stores, I always looked for flight sims or combat simulators. In fact even today, if I’ll be playing a game title, it will either be a racing game or a flight / combat simulator.
Fast forward many, many years from our Playstation, the only gaming platform I have is my Cherry Mobile Flare X Android phone. One day, I was scouring for games to download when I suddenly remembered an old PC game I used to play – Strike Fighters Project One by Third Wire Productions.
Sure, many people will tell me there are a great myriad of “better” titles but what made this game stand out for me was its open architecture, with which I was able to make my own aircraft camo or designs and the era of combat jets that it presented.
See, most titles are almost always about current generation aircraft or what could be considered as modern combat aircraft. That means that nowadays, the most featured jet would probably be something in the F-22 / F-35 class. But I’m not really a fan over very modern aircraft. I mean sure, they’re cool, they push the edges of technology and design, but they’re too new, modern, complicated even appear flimsy if you ask me. On top of it, I’m not really too keen on the whole stealth designs but I should say that the F-22 / T-50 are very sexy looking aircraft.
They’re just too modern for my taste.
What I’m really into are more classic designs from the 50’s up until probably the early 80’s. The aircraft from that time period are now regarded as classics although with the aid of updates, aircraft like the F-15, F-16, MiG-29 and the such are still regarded as modern and currently still very combat capable aircraft.
So going back to Strike Fighters Project One – I was on the Playstore, and I just had to see if a ported version of that game for use on my Android phone. I didn’t find the same game but I found something that seemed similar, Strike Fighters Legends which was made by the same company.
I downloaded it and it certainly did not disappoint. Btw, I first downloaded the free version, and because I really liked the game and company, I went ahead and got the Pro version. I’ll explain about the differences later on.
Just like the original game, the game allows the player control over classic aircraft and you start with any of the services available in-game – USAF (US Air Force), USN (US Navy), USMC (US Marine Corps), AdA (Armee del Aire), Russian Air Force (VVS, PVO. AV-MF), RAF (Royal Air Force) and PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force).
The game starts you off in the year 1949 and gives you a basic fighter to start with. Unlike the original game, there is no plot nor setting. It is a straight up air combat shooter but it has some very real twists to it.
- You have to pay attention to corner speed (C on the hud) otherwise your jet will not be in the optimum combat turn speed.
- Bullets do not fly at the speed of light – you have to lead your target before you do any squeezing.
- Ammo is very limited, and you have to make your shots count.
- Missiles don’t work as well as they do in other games. You can miss by a mile with the slightest miscalculation.
The game allows you about 3 minutes or so of game time, and there is no set objective although I noticed that for the earlier time periods, the game could be over after you’d shot down 5 or 6 opponents. The AI in game are no slouches either – they turn, they climb, they run and they shoot quite well. This is especially true when more advanced missiles are available to them, and they are definitely not gentlemanly and will fire their missiles all at once.
Evading missiles is possible of course, but luck will matter when you have 3 or more missiles incoming from different directions.
I love the realism and straight up business that this game provides. I mean sure, there is no plot, but then what plane junkie needs a plot when he has an F-8 battling against MiGs with nothing but his cannon? Again, this might not be for the casual aviation enthusiast but for a classic military aviation nut, this is almost endlessly playable.
The game has pretty much all of the planes I want to fly in. Here’s a list of what appear to be my favorites thus far.
- F-86 Sabre (A/H) including the FJ-Fury variants
- F-5A Freedom Fighter
- F-5E Tiger II
- F-14 A/D Tomcat
- MiG-15 Fagot / bis
- MiG-17D Fresco
- Dassault Ouragan
- Hawker Hunter
I started out with the freeware game. It works but you have to work your way up from 1949 and use your credits to unlock the next available jet. Also, not all the jets are going to be available. That was reason enough for me to plunk Php 250 to get the Pro version. This one has the same gameplay except all jets are unlocked, and you no longer have to get skimpy with credits to get jets. Simply select the jet you want and you’re off fighting.
Graphics wise, it is simple yet effective. It isn’t too flashy like other comparable sims but whatever it has, it works. The plans are modeled adequately except the cockpit is not clear and there is no cockpit view. The ranging sight dot is a small yellow dot that is often hard find – it often shows up late so I do most of my shooting by feel though the green, fixed crosshair.
Here are some sample play-throughs of me playing the game, some are set to somewhat cheesy music with noob-level editing.
Kudos to Third Wire for this amazing game. It certainly helps me keep boredom at bay and lets me unleash my inner Maverick every now and then.
My rating on the game? ★★★★★ for everything!!!
PS. I play this game with a Shanwan Gamepad given to me as a Christmas present by my wife. The game can use tilt controls but I haven’t figured out how to fly as well I could on my pad…