By Al Giovetti
European Air War
In 1994, Microprose released a game entitled 1942: Pacific Air War competing with Origin's Pacific Strike and Dynamix's Aces of the Pacific. It has only taken the developers of that original title the past three years to come up with the logical next move, a sequel.
Unlike Pacific Air War, called PAW affectionately by friends, European Air War, or EAW, deals only with the careers of fighter jockeys. PAW also had dive bomber and torpedo bomber pilots for gamers to fly as. EAW will make no attempt to follow the careers of bomber pilots in the WWII European theatre. Unfortunately, you will not get to fly B-17s, B-25s, and a whole list of wonderful bomb dropping equivalents.
Missions will include include fighter based ground strikes and bombings on machine gun nests, pill boxes, rail yards, bridges, trains, and tanks. One mission involves the strike on a train moving along the tracks at break-neck speeds.
PAW was a 16-bit game that allowed game players to get into furballs with as many as 16 planes. EAW is a 32-bit game engine, completely redone after the three year hiatus. The 32-bit game engine will support furballs with as many as 32 planes, which happened often in the skies over England, Germany, and France.
Missions will be generated with a mission generation program rather than the scripted missions which are more satisfying to game players. The missions will not follow the historical record of each squadron. For example, your mission will be of the same type, such as a fighter sweep, during the period in question, but it will not be exactly the same mission in terms of geography or goals. The missions will change each time you play a particular career path.
The Microprose team has attempted to give the game more replayability by using random missions rather than coming up with a large number of scripted missions as in Origin's AH-64. The missions will retain some historical detail, similar to a scripted mission, but will contain sufficient random elements to make the careers replayable without boredom.
Another element is the ability to change future events and conditions by current successes and failures. Each career will be organized into phases. The current phase successes will affect the following phase conditions. If you kill a large number of enemy aircraft in the current phase, you will see fewer enemies in the air in a subsequent phase. The overall course of the war will remain unaltered no matter how well or poorly that you do, however.
Enemy planes will be affected by an additional statistic, morale. Should they take greater than 30% damage, they will "bug out" and head for home. Wingmen and radio communications allow for greater cooperation between players and artificial intelligence based wingmen. Commands give more sophisticated control to perform simultaneous and cooperative attack formations.
You can fly up to 20 aircraft. The Allies will have P-41, P-38, British Hurricane, and Spitfire. The Germans can fly the ME9. There are another 10 non-flyable aircraft in the game, such as flights of B-17s that you can have fighter escort for. Each plane has individual, historically accurate cockpits for each flyable airplane.
The game will employ two career modes: a mini career which simulates the Battle of Brittain and the main career modem, which encompases the two years in the European theatre from April 1943 to April 1945. In the mini career you can play from the English or German side, while in the European career, you can play as American, English or German.
You will even be able to choose your fighter squadron. Different fighter squadrons will enter the war on their historically accurate dates: The 56th fighter group on April 1943 or the 357th group in January of 1944.
Multi-player FeaturesEuropean Air War will support up to eight players on a local area network or the internet.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
Please send us your comments and suggestions.