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Set during the Second World War and more specifically during the intense Battle of Britain this game is a strategy game with focus on the air forces of the time, specifically the RAF and the Luftwaffe, although it has the ability for you to take over French air battles as well.
The game is of a top down view for both the overall tactical side and when your aircraft encounter the enemy. From the maps perspective, the main scenario is the Battle of Britain over Keith Parks 11 Group, and although the map itself isn't really detailed - only a few airfields and a few targets, the ability to pick and chose which attacking force you want to intercept. Like in real life, the strength of the enemy force is inaccurate until you get close, then it may be that you have been bounced by a raid of enemy fighters instead of attacking bombers.
The great thing about this game is that your pilots actually gain experience and can earn medals and other distinctions such as a fighter ACE, over five kills. Other qualities such as being an excellent shot, or an excellent pilot contribute greatly to the outcome of the battle itself, as good pilots can out turn opponents whilst good shots do more damage per shot.
The main part of the game is the actual battles themselves. Each aircraft is quite simple in graphics but you can tell each aircraft for what it is. The main antagonists at the time are in the game, Spitfire, Hurricane, ME109 etc.
The actual game play is much like chess, each aircraft, depending on its speed, height, pilot capability, plane capability etc, will have a limit of how far they can move each turn. Increasing the speed of the plane will mean the next round it can move further, but this will limit its turning ability. The overall aim is to get close to an enemy aircraft to have a pop at it. Beam attacks generally do less damage than stern attacks, so if you can get behind, do so because each burst will do more damage. Damage to aircraft takes the form of percentages so ata glance you can see what has been absorbed. Green means slight damage. Yellow is mediocre, so a gun can be destroyed or the pilot injured. Red means if it is hit again it will go down. Pilots can bale out at any point of the battle to fight another day, but there is no guarantee the chute will open, so your pilot could be lost anyway. Be warned though, if the plane starts smoking, either white for the engine coolant, or black for a fire, the enemy will not relent and it is nigh on impossible to escape unless you manage to shoot down the assailant.
Overall the game is outstanding, although a little outdated now with the likes of Battle of Britain Wings of Victory (see my separate review), but still holds its place on my computer for those 30 minutes in between TV programmes where I don't have anything else to do apart from Defend the UK or try to wipe out the RAF  Enjoy