Dogfight 1942 Review
Game: Dogfight 1942
Developer: City Interactive
Publisher: City Interactive
Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Are aeroplanes making a comeback? With the recent release of Damage Inc. and now Dogfight 1942, perhaps the long forgotten genre of flying planes, simulation or arcade, is destined to pervade our games consoles once more, no longer will they be consigned to the hardcore sim players, with their monstrous peripherals. Or maybe not, but Dogfight 1942 sure is a fun arcade flight-sim in short bursts.
If nothing else, City Interactive have certainly managed to show their skills off as a developer, because Dogfight 1942 sure looks pretty. The voice acting stays on the correct side of hammy, staying true to the less politically correct times of yore, but when you actually get in the cockpit and start flying around one of the many customizable aeroplanes and start shooting the Japanese, you realise there’s a bit more going on in this simple download title than you’d expect.
What story there is, seems to involve both attacking and defending against the Japanese fighter planes, bombers and other variations of nasty enemies. Combat is fun, but fast and furious and if you’re not used to the genre then it’s a bit of a steep learning curve. You can lock-on to enemy fighters with a simple tap of the left bumper, which then allows you to track them by holding the B button. It’s not all that easy to take them out whilst holding the button down to keep the tracking action-cam in play, so most of the time it’s easier to just hand back, tag the enemy and shoot them from a reasonable distance with either your guns or missiles.
Just ahead of where the enemy is going there will be a second marker, which is where you need to actually fire at if you want to take them down. Some of the time they go down very quickly, other times they take a little too long; it’s a bit of a lottery. You can control your squad at times too. Again though, it felt a bit random as to how well they actually attacked your foes (when given that specific order) and even on normal difficulty most of the time it was just quicker to take the enemy out yourself. You can also instruct your wingmen to protect you, follow you or just go gung-ho and attack as they see fit.
Sometimes, when you shoot an enemy plane out of the sky you’ll get to see a killcam, which is exactly as you’d imagine. It’s a really odd decision to include a killcam into a flight simulator, arcade or not, but nonetheless, the action is slowed to see the enemy plane splinter and break as you remove it from the battlefield.
There are both arcade and simulation methods to control your plane, with simulation meaning that the plane will turn and roll independently; more control, sure, but also more difficult to tame. Arcade mode takes away the precision control, but allows for a far more entertaining experience to newcomers, or people who haven’t played a flight sim in a long time. If you so fancy, you can even remove the HUD completely to give you a truly hardcore experience, too.
Two acts make up the single player campaign of Dogfight 1942, they are as varied as the genre allows, with the challenge coming from playing the missions again on higher difficulties (those enemy planes are brutal too). Local co-op also makes a very welcome appearance here, allowing you and a friend to attack the campaign together.
Multiplayer is made up of two modes: Dogfights and Survival. Dogfights are basically deathmatch, but with a slight twist. Based on a choice of five maps (Dover, London, France, Midway, Iwo Jima), you are tasked with taking down enemy planes whilst your opponent does the same. You are – of course – vulnerable to gunfire and will lose valuable time if you are shot out of the air by stray bullets. It’s fun, but it’s hard to see it lasting for too long, aside from serious flight enthusiasts. Survival Mode on the other hand, seems to be the multiplayer option of choice these days. You can team up with a friend or fly solo, the goal being to see how long you can survive against wave after wave of enemies.
VERDICT: Having some form of both online and offline co-op is a really nice touch, and City Interactive should be commended for doing so, but sadly it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend such a niche title to everyone. There’s enough to keep you busy, with difficulty options making the Dogfight 1942 fairly accessable to almost anyone, should they wish to take the leap.
It’s not perfect, but it’s got a lot of heart and can be fun at times, with Xbox LIVE offering the choice to play a trial version of the game, there’s no reason not to at least give it a go. Dogfight 1942 won’t revitalise the genre, but it’s a reasonably fun example of an arcade flight simulator, with a bit of a limited wingspan.