Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fighters Anthology

Now that I've been home I realized that the one thing I'm missing from my computer is a good combat flight sim. At school we've got a pretty decent flight sim computer set up with a throttle quadrant and rudder pedals and that has CFS 3 loaded on, as well as Falcon 4.0. It also has Microsoft FS 2004 and FSX. Unfortunately my computer has no flight sim software at all. The last flight sim I had was a pretty old one from Janes/EA called Fighters Anthology. It was a compilation game combining USNF 97, ATF Gold, and ATF Nato Fighters. It had flyable versions of every military fighter or strike aircraft of the past 40 years, ranging from the MiG-17 and F-104 to the JSF (unfortunately modeled as the X-32...ugly as sin), even including aircraft like the B-52 or AC-130. While somewhat generic (understandable given the fact that it had flyable models of over 100 aircraft) it was still pretty cool to be able to fly F-15s, A-10s, B-52s, and Su-35s all in the same game. The game had 6 playable campaigns: Vietnam '72, where you are a carrier pilot taking part in Linebacker I; Ukraine '97 where you are a strike fighter pilot on the U.S.S. Eisenhower in the Black Sea responding to a Russian invasion of the Ukraine after a coup; Egypt '98, where you are a pilot assigned to a U.N. intervention force dealing with a civil war in Egypt between Islamic fundamentalists who have gained control of half of the military and the country's government; Kuril Islands '98, where you are a Marine Harrier pilot helping to take back the Kuril Islands from a Russian invasion; Vladivostok '05, where you are a pilot in the USAF helping to defend western Russia from a Chinese invasion, and Baltics '09 where you a member of a NATO force responding to a Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The game also had a quick mission creator where you could specify the type and numbers of friendly and enemy aircraft, the map, air defenses, and ground targets. It was quite fun to go up against several low class fighters like MiG-21s in a F-22, fly in a B-52 against an entire fleet of ships and attack them all with Harpoons, or saddle up in a Su-24 and undertake a low altitude attack against a USN CVBG.

Of course, you're probably wondering what brought up this lovely trip down memory lane. I was on YouTube the other night and found some videos of the intro sequences to this game. One is a super-cheesy air battle, while the other two have some good file footage of Naval aircraft and operations set to some pretty rockin' music. First, the cheesy air battle from FA:

Next, the intro to USNF 97, bundled with FA:

Last, the intro to the Vietnam campaign:

The campaigns had some pretty fun missions...I think my favorite campaign as a whole would be Ukraine. One memorable mission was rescuing the Il-96 flying Boris Yeltsin's ass out of the country from MiG-31s in an F-14; the only way to be successful was to go into full burner as soon as you got the rescue call and launch your AIM-54s from max range, otherwise the Foxhounds would splash the airliner before you could nail them. Another was the mission to take out a nuclear power plant north of Kiev. The only listed targets for the mission were a couple of power relays, but having several SLAM-ERs left over, I decided I'd attack the plant itself just for giggles...bad idea. Missiles impact and mission failed comes up. I had to think about it for a second until I realized I had just caused the second Chernobyl. Oops. I think my all time favorite would have to be the series of missions operating against a Russian battle group centered on a Kiev-class carrier. Over the period of missions in a Hornet you attack the various escorts, including a several Krivak frigates, some Sovremenny destroyers, eventually going after its Kirov escort, and finally destroying the carrier itself.

Another very cool mission occurred in the Vladivostok campaign where a B-2 went down in enemy territory relatively intact. You were called upon to fly to the heavily defended airbase deep in enemy territory to destroy the bomber. I was always able to penetrate the Chinese air defenses outside the perimeter of the base, but once I got to the base the short range AAA and SAMs always got me...the best I could manage was a quick strafing run to destroy the B-2 followed by an ejection right before my aircraft disintegrated.

Anyway, no real reason for posting this other than this game is what I spent a large chunk of my 11-15 year old phase doing.