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Fighter Duel

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs


GAME DEVELOPER:Jaeger Software


Copyright 1996, Jaeger Software

Strategy Plus says it all about this fun dogfighting underdog: “Fighter Duel is an excellent first person stand alone and modem play PC world War II dogfighting simulator. It runs liquid smoothly (except very close to the ground) in gorgeous SVGA on its designated minimum machine (a 486/33). It models seven World War II fighters and variants, equaling 13 total, including the Mustang, Corsair, Spitfire, Zero and German fighters. Finally, Battle of Britain airplanes are modeled after a long six year wait. In my opinion, as a pilot who has flown the TF51D Mustang and Spitfire in real life aerobatics, Fighter Duel has the most accurate feel on the market.

Of all the planes I have personally flown, “heavy iron” (World War II warbirds) have a unique heavy, slow motion, soaring feeling in vertical maneuvers combined with solid, sensitive controls in the horizontal plane. Nothing yet accurately touches this feel except Fighter Duel. It has a “full force” flight model with torque, inertia, stability differences, correctly-modeled 90 degree oscillating spins (a first), negative g engine cut out (another first), stall buffeting, etc.

A large, photo-realistic fully working World War II instrument panel dominates the atmosphere in front of you (a first). It quivers when you fire your superb sounding guns, has engine instrument needles, and others, that correctly jump and bounce, a working needle and ball, the first truly correct WW2 artificial horizon, and a unique engine sound which envelops you in “heavy iron” atmosphere.

The stand-alone options are reminiscent of Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat (without the missions), to let you explore the capabilities of your historic mounts. You can choose to fight up to eight different computer opponents from eight different starting scenarios. You can choose altitudes, fuel levels, cloud options and the level of artificial intelligence. An arcade mode (“quick flight”) is easy to get into with a quick click of a button and is loads of fun.

The modem play works well and without problems. Sequential screens lead you logically from one option to another as you set up your computer and prepare to duel. You need at least a 9600 baud modem to play modem. Different start options allow user setup choices or random starting positions… what a blast!

There are a few minor drawbacks to this excellent program. Fighter Duel contains only one Mustang instrument panel without framing or gunsight (a gunsight reticle exists, however). Some players might be bothered by this, but the sole instrument panel is so realistic that having only one is not so bad (though more in the future would be appreciated). Distance of enemy fighters is, however, hard to judge. The addition of set missions, careers and controllable wingmen would add more playability. The ground graphics are limited, with only sea and islands, and slow up when you get near the ground. Flight simulator grognards will notice that fighters do not get slow in roll at high speeds, as they should. Correct low speed handling characteristics are virtually ignored as well.

Do these problems kill Fighter Duel? Hardly. It is just too exciting as it stands. It’s the perfect modem game, in many ways – little overhead and great action.” If youre in the mood for a quick duel with computer opponents or a friend, Fighter Duel is a good choice.

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