Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat is a 1991 computer aircraft simulation game produced by Electronic Arts. Chuck Yeager’s name appears since he was a technical consultant in the game and his digitized voice is featured in the game, giving encouragement and praises before and after missions.
The game is characterized for its good balance of an action laden gameplay which focuses on classical dog fights and a simple but still realistic flight model which justifies calling Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat a simulation. Unlike in many other flight simulation games of its day, altitude and aircraft characteristics have a big influence on the behaviour of the game’s simulated aircraft. Realism has been sacrificed to some degree to enhance gameplay however: E.g. a real fighter plane expends all of its ammunition after a few short bursts, while in Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat the rate of fire has been reduced considerably, making dog fights longer.
To assist a newcomer to the game several help features can be activated, such as unlimited ammunition or easier aiming. A virtual Chuck Yeager can be activated, who gives advice.
Probably the best thing I loved about this game is the number of airplanes you can choose from and the variety of strategies needed in flying each:
P-51D Mustang – Workhorse fighter of WWII
F-86E Sabre – First US Jet Fighter
F-4E Phantom II – Vietnam-era Fighter plane with no Machine Guns
Fw.190A-8 – Feared German Fighter plane
MiG-15 ‘Fagot’ – The F86′s nemesis in Korea
MiG-21MF ‘Fishbed’ – Long-lived Soviet Fighter plane developed in the 50′s that’s still very much in service today. It’s the most widely produced supersonice fighter jet at over 10,000 delivered.
Graphics and gameplay would be terribly disappointing based on today’s standards, but this game had one of the more accurate flight mechanics for a simulator when it was released. Worth a try for those interested in history of flight simulators.