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long been associated with combat flight simulators, as a few of you will remember
Fighters Anthology, US navy fighters and longbow were in their day the best
that could be had.Flight Simulators started making a strong presence a few
years back, with sims such as flight Sim98 it was possible to fly missions
with realistic flight parameters and also learn navigation. Combat flight
simulators were fun.... Heck, who doesn't like instant action and hell bent
for leather flying, but the level of realism left much to be desired.... until
One of my
favorite Combat flight sims had to be Jane's IAF, flight parameters were adjustable
from invincible cheat to totally realistic... where I was left wanting more
was in the graphics department.... while the landscape was geographically
correct, the pixely rendering at lower altitudes tended to take away from
a preview of Jane's USAF back in the spring I was left with a mouth watering
for all the gorgeous graphics I saw. After 8 months of patient (most of the
time) waiting I wandered in to my local software store and fell to my knees
in awe, the day had arrived! For a hard core flight simmer like me... I wasn't
concerned with the sticker price... only that it be loaded on my machine that
evening! As a matter of fact in celebration of my purchase I smashed open
my piggy bank and bought a MS Sidewinder force feedback pro!
was simple, although it might be worth nothing that a full install takes no
less that 1.2 GB, so you might want to make yourself a coffee and read the
game manual while waiting for it to load. You'll need a PII class processor
to really enjoy this game although you can still play it on a 200 MHz machine.
A decent graphics accelerator of at least 4 megs, 64 megs of ram and enough
disk space (1245 Mb fir full install). I did play this game on my sisters
K6/2 450 with a 16meg savage4 card, 48 megs RAM,and graphics were silky smooth.
If you have a PIII processor you now have a sim that makes use of your SSE
This is what
sets USAF apart from all other sims.... The terrain is so realistic you can
almost reach out and touch it, as with IAF the terrain is geographically correct
plotted by satellite and integrated into the game.... there are a plethora
of graphics customizations to tailor the game to your needs or your hardware's
For you PIII
owners you will be glad to know that Jane's has integrated SSE instructions
into the game for Ultra high levels that are only available to PIII users.
There is no mention made of support for 3Dnow!, if there isn't it would be
a crying shame because 3Dnow! is a great instruction set and really boosts
the 3D performance of AMD processors.
set up is a 578 PPGA celeron (366 @ 105 FSB), soundblaster live value,128
Mb RAM, and a V770 Ultra using detonator drivers (the diamond provided drivers
have nice features but are sluggish in my opinion). 1024x768 32bit is the
screen settings I used due to the cheapish nature of my monitor, rendering
was excellent and the colors were believable. Frame rates were excellent with
the exception of frames rates dropping MASSIVELY when multiple explosions
and smoke trails are occurring on the screen at the same time. This was a
trait that Jane's WWII fighters also had, it was a bit of Jane's lineage that
I was disappointed to see carry over into this game.
If you are
the owner of a decent sound card and some nice speakers (preferably with a
Sub) you will experience a sim experience that will make you swear that you
really were in a fighter cockpit. I am a military Aviation Technician by trade
so trust me when I say that Jane's has done a very good job emulating proper
aircraft sounds and cockpit chatter. There is the trademark Hard rock music
score that tends to accompany ALL jet combat sims, but since I like hard rock
it was well placed. I did find that the default voice settings were a tad
loud for my tastes, but like the graphics the sound is very configurable and
a huge amount of keyboard commands that need to be learned if you want to
enjoy this game, the most important being radar controls and weapons system
control. If you play the training missions the instructor will talk you through
all of this.
all display different flight characteristics, which a good sim should. If
you are in a F4-E and you have a MIG-21 on your tail you better be a good
pilot and know how to use advanced air combat maneuvers (outlined in the provided
manual). Stalls, spins,blackouts,red-outs are all user selectable. If you
have a joystick with throttle and rudder control you will really enjoy flying,
I my self use a force feedback stick and the results are exciting to say the
to be following a standard pattern for assigning keyboard layout and commands,
this means that if you are a seasoned IAF pilot that you can jump right into
USAF and feel right at home, Good job Jane's! There is even support for full
duplex audio during online gaming and network furballs.... eliminating the
need for the player to release the joystick to type a message to his/her comrades
or adversaries.... once again, Good job Jane's!
first launch the game you will notice that it seems to take a good minute
or so to initialize....Before you dive into action I would recommend doing
the training missions first as the instructor will teach you how to use the
avionics and control the aircraft.... still to this day I love to play the
air to air refueling mission.... it is so much fun to take a load of fuel
from a KC135 and then peel off with a few rolls. Once you have the training
done and you have a good feel for the flight dynamics and know your way around
the cockpit it's time to fly a real mission.
that is immediately apparent is that the AI of the opposing pilots is far
better than any combat sim I have played to date, you are at the mercy of
BVR (beyond visual range) ordinance and enemy pilots who tend to hunt in packs.
I've learned that chaff and flares don't do you any good unless you combine
them with high-G turns and jinking.... boys and girls this IS realistic. The
addition of a force feedback joystick only adds to the fun, you can feel the
recoil from your missiles.... when you light the afterburners, on takeoff
and landing.... and Oh yes, when you take a missile shot... you think you
just hit the slow end of a freight train!
and landings tend to be just as hazardous as combat! which makes everything
more fun. Fighter pilots make movies... bomber pilots make history! If this
is your credo then why not load up a F-4 Phantom II with MK84 GP iron bombs
and go do some high speed low level bombing.... watch out for those Sam's.
You can fly aircraft from the F-105 Thunderchief (THUD) to the ultra quick
F22 Raptor. Be warned that this sim is addictive and habit forming, I have
taken 2 days longer than I wanted to writing this article because I kept getting
sidetracked into a "little" flying.
so many things I like about this game that it is hard for me to say anything
negative.... I suppose I could mention that the force feedback on the guns
was intermittent at times, but I can overlook this as a minor glitch that
will probably be corrected in future patches. Also the dropping of frame rates
during periods of incredible on screen activity left me somewhat put out.
However if you are a die hard flight sim junkie then you drop whatever you
are doing and go get this game, in my opinion it has no equal . I give it
a big Thumb up.
Official Jane's USAF Site :