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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Philips Media
Fighter Duel definitely is the most realistic World War II air combat simulator available. The game will put you in the cockpit of one of 13 classic fighter jets used from 1938 till 1944, each precisely designed according to its accurate historical appearance. A special feature of the game lets your view these 3-D WWII aircraft models from any angle, where you can make a choice which of the most powerful jets to fly. Beautiful, smooth frame rate will enable you to experience every one of 8 tactical situations like a real-time combat footage where you play... no, where you FIGHT as a pilot. From now on your existence is air dogfight, over and over again, with ultimate fighting machines under your full control, and an aerial battlefield full of skillful enemies all around you.

The Review:
This action-filled fighting sim was created with the idea to maintain maximum graphics quality by taking full advantage of both fast and slow systems. Ideally and most impressively the game runs in high-res 640x480 256-color SVGA mode. That's where you can fully appreciate highly-detailed, texture-mapped graphics of your and enemy aircraft, carrier and land-based airstrips, land and open sea. Moreover, players can obtain the best frame rate by changing settings either to High or Low resolution. You can also select Auto, in which case the program will de-res (lower the resolution) of some objects and parts of game environment in order to maintain the most smooth frame rate. A 16-bit sound card, for example SoundBlaster 16, would make best use of superb sound effects in the heat of the battle.

The fighter jet controls are somewhat difficult to master at first, as there is quite a number of keyboard commands to learn in order to outperform the enemies. Yet a ton of realism features (including Combat Damage and Enemy Skill Level settings for starters) are optional in the game, so you can set and save the "rules of war" that you are most comfortable with. A panel with 10 gauges provides you with all necessary data during the flights. Nine views inside a photo-realistic cockpit make jet operation completely realistic - the one thing simulator fans strive for. Finally, there are 10 truly fascinating arcade external views for you to choose from (looking up from 40; looking down from 40/500/1000 feet, etc.) to observe the combat.

"Dogfight is dogfight, so what's the fuss about this one?", I thought, while turning on some meaningless features and browsing through menu screens before starting my first battle. I imagined I could beat them, shoot down all 8 computer-controlled intelligent enemies and bathe in glory... but was violently shot down and beautifully crashed after an uncontrolled spin. Such is the brutal reality of war. Such is every "fighter duel" for those, who don't live in the combat. How could I possibly consider all natural laws like wing loading, thrust, weight, drag, stalling, and. . .even blackouts (!) in what is a pure action war mission? Well it IS pure action, and it is due to all these details and real problems that every real pilot has to consider on a real flight.

Yet this, as well as well-simulated take-offs and landings on huge carriers and dangerously short airstrips, is only the "technical" part of an overall experience Fighter Duel offers. For those seeking destruction and split-second deaths there is enemy bullets homing on your fuselage, mid-air collisions (suicidal's dream) and fatal crashes due to minor mistakes like losing balance in the overcast layer (you can edit those too). And don't forget to calculate lead angles so you can enjoy the ballistic streams of your bullets as they find their 1942 Grumman Hellcats, 1939 Messerschmitt, and another dozen fearsome targets!

Pros: Great graphics, sophisticated aircraft detail, great WWII air combat action and game replayability.

Cons: Substantial XMS/EMS memory requirements.

--Andrew Morozov