Previously announce as Combat Wings, Dogfight 1942 was recently released to the Xbox Marketplace, Playstation Network, and Steam by City Interactive. This high flying air combat game lets you fly planes through World War II across dog fight combat, bombing missions, and even rescue missions on both the eastern and western front. Race through the skies and either take out your enemy in the air, on the ground, or in the waters. There’s nowhere for them to hide.
Dogfight 1942 clocks in at just under 2 gigs and has a lot of options to spend time in. The single player campaign alone clocks in at about 3 to 4 hours. The game starts with a cinematic cut scene to display the attention to detail spent on the planes, and pushes a simple but quick story. The campaign is broken into 3 sections; Single, Co-op and Quick Play.
In Single mode there are about 17 missions broken up over 2 acts. Although the campaign is on the short side the truth is the game just cuts out the repetitive levels that most AAA titles throw in to pad out their games. You start out on the simple dog fight missions, and eventually work your way up to undercover flying missions. Some rescue missions require landing the plane and then taking off again. There are also over 40 planes to choose from and you can lose a good amount of time customizing the artwork on your plane.
The artwork was pretty top notch. Of course the details were primarily spent on the planes, but flying over London looked pretty rich with detail. The later missions concentrate on the Japanese fleet and their islands and the details also looked solid. Nighttime missions looked pretty nice when the full moon shined over the waters. Voice acting was also well acted and prominent in every mission. Conversations between pilots not only help with pointers to the missions, but also throw in some back story to the pilots as well as some simple banter.
Gameplay was simple and straight forward. Left stick was for maneuvering, while your right stick was for throttle. Shooting your primarily gun was assigned to right trigger while bombs and missiles were assigned to your right shoulder button. Push down your R3 button for an extra boost, but if you ride the boost too long the plane will sputter out. To call for support, protection, or for comrades to focus on one target, use your digital pad. Landing a plane on either a runway or aircraft carrier was a little tricky, but exciting and achievable, unlike NES’s Top Gun. Set your controls to arcade and just jump into the fun, or switch to simulation and perfect the art of the dogfight.
Although it was disappointing that there is no online multiplayer, there were actually a lot of options for local players. In the campaign modes, you can play together in either the Co-op mode or Quick Play. In the Co-op mode, you can have a friend join in to play the campaign story. Co-op mode only has 13 missions, unlike Single mode’s 17. In Quick Play, you can play against your friend and either go head to head, or see who can take down more planes in some good old fashion dog fights. It is also broken up into Dogfights and Survival with 5 maps each.
Quick Play was set up for multiplayer mode which I found odd considering the only form of multiplayer is when you add a local friend. It felt as if this was initially built for online multiplayer and then scrapped at the last second, which is too bad. Although you really just fly around shooting anything that moves, the simplicity in gameplay again makes it fun. Just jump in, take down as many planes as possible and score the most points for your team to win.
My only issues with this game came down to the stability in gameplay. The game froze way too often on me. It would only freeze for a second at a time, but it always seemed to be at the worst possible moments. In one bombing mission, I flew low to the ground for better visibility of the target. As I got close the game froze. When it unfroze I blew into the ground and crashed. In a few missions I unfroze into a mountainside. In one, I unfroze into an enemy battleship. The battleships were tricky though. In a couple of bombing missions I’d end up crashing on the thin cables across the top of the battleships. There was an achievement to unlock if you fly under all bridges in London, but with auto correct on, you’ll end up fighting the controls to keep from crashing. Add in a freeze and it’s darn near impossible to achieve.
Dogfight 1942 doesn’t break any new ground in the flying dog fight games. Instead it goes the opposite direction and simplifies the genre without pandering. It strips out the complex gameplay and focuses on its strong points, mainly the dog fighting. To keep from being stale, a few rescue and bombing missions are thrown in. Although there isn’t any online multiplayer, there are a lot of options to enjoy this game with a friend. There is also a DLC already that adds more missions through a Russia campaign. For the price, Dogfight 1942 is a pretty good deal for the amount of content and quality.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Great graphics, good story, and simple controls
Short campaign, occasional frame freezes