This is one addictive game I'll tell you! I first played it a few years back and installed and started playing it on Thursday and I just love it!
What makes this a winner is that you can make the game as realistic or easy a possible. If you really want to have a bit more realism in targeting, then select the simulation option, if you just want to kill, choose arcade! But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
First things first. Once installed you find that the menu and intro is very basic. A huge "Protest against software patents" message is displayed and then you get to the main menu where on one "page" you get to select the pilot and all the other in game settings. This does not impress much since the menus are very basic and reminds one of a HTML knock up.
Training is extensive and you are greased in all the aspects of piloting skills, ranging from dogfighting to air-to-ground attacks.
Once you have finished training you can head out for some missions, each one more difficult and requiring more skill than the previous. You must first fly a couple of tests to see if you have what it takes or if you need to go back and get some training wheels, and then you fight!
You have three aircraft to choose from with different ammunition. Read the mission briefing to know what to choose. As the game progresses the planes get upgraded to some kick but weapons of mass destruction (better damage points, more maneuverable, better cannons, etc.)
The graphics are nothing to get excited about, very basic, but not bad. I enjoy the game play without some fancy graphical details getting in the way. It reminds one of an arcade game really...
Game play is not bad at all and the bots are smart enough to know when to attack and how to get around to killing you. If you rely solely on your missiles you will fail miserably, so try and become a master gunner from the word go, saving the missiles only for when really needed and you will be a force to be reckoned with!
You have your basic chaff, flares, missiles, throttle and radar. What more could you need to kill some bogeys?
I could not really find a difference between arcade and simulation mode, except that the targets seemed harder to hit. Overall a fun game to play and kill some time with! I finished it on arcade mode in less than two days in on and off playing, so give it a go, you will be back to see if you can get a higher rank!