Chuck Yeager's Air Combat
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Saturday, 13 August 2005
Chuck Yeager himself worked as an advisor when this game was developed back in 1991. How did the game do, was it an instant hit, is it still playable? Read on to find out.

Combat flight simulators have littered us in recent years, but the scenario wasn’t much different during the last years of the 80s and beginning of the 90s. Productions like LHX: Attack Chopper (which Brent Iverson developed who also developed Yeager), SU-25 and F-29 Retaliator stormed the market. Most of them had 256 colors VGA graphics, just like Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat.

But Yeager’s Air Combat really stood out from the crowd. Sure it was sponsored by a celebrity, but the fact that Iverson actually used Yeager as an advisor made all the difference. The planes are even with today’s standards behaving very realistic.

The core of the game is dog fighting and they are unbelievable realistic, fun, addictive and sometimes hard. There are three campaigns that you can participate in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Each campaign comes with a number of different planes such as the P-51 Mustang, the Sabre and the Phantom.

Sure the modeling of the planes leaves much to be desired. However it’s not as bad as in many other games from this time. There are some details, such as different colors and also markings.

The missions in the campaigns are mostly about dog fighting, however the timeline of the campaigns doesn’t work as in present flight simulators. You can select a number of missions on each campaign without having to complete a mission to gain new. So you can start with the absolute hardest mission if that’s what you want.

As all missions are against the computer AI it can sometimes feel a bit predictable. If you play the game for a couple of games you almost know what the computer will do before it acts, at least if you choose the easier difficulty levels. On the other hand when playing on the hard level you really have to think and take it easy.

When things start to go down the drain Yeager himself will pop up and tell you what to do. It’s a nice feature and adds some personality to the game, even though his tips are pretty meaningless.

Chuck is also integrated in the menu system of the game where he tells you what to do. Before and after each mission he presents numbers and statistics and closes with a famous quote, for example ”It’s the man not the machine” (actually a pretty good quote).

This game would have been better if there was a built in multiplayer mode. However it’s not vital for the game itself. A more important part that could have been improved is the campaign missions. Sometimes it would have been nice if there were some unexpected events during the campaigns to add some excitement.

A very nice feature is that you can create missions of your own. You simply go through a wizard selecting the plan you want, the opposition, the setting and so on. It’s a nice uncomplicated way of getting some action fast.

Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat is quite a special game, since it’s hard to explain the feelings you get when playing it. You can almost feel like you are there, in the air combat, smell the petrol, feel the fear and speed and the excitement when you manage to hit your opponent. All of those experiences makes the game addictive and one of the best flight simulators out there, even today.

Related: USAF, YS Flight Sim System 2000
Developer: Electronic Arts (Brent Iverson)
Related Website: Migman, Official Site of Chuck Yeager
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Cost of Full Game: N/A
Year of Release: 1991

8088 Processor or higher.
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card

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