Jane's USAF: United States Air Force

 April 20, 1999 - Jane's is well known for providing some of the finest combat simulations available for the PC and they have really made a name for themselves by producing simulations that look and feel extremely realistic. Well their next upcoming foray into the flight sim market, USAF, looks to be shaping up quite well from the screenshots we've seen and, while we haven't had a chance to play it yet, what we've heard about it sure sounds good so far.

Like most flight sims, the game unfolds mission by mission. You'll start your career as a lowly newbie and you can eventually work your way up to 4 Star General status. Campaign missions will run from the Vietnam era to slightly futuristic times, so not only will you be able to pilot some of the fastest, most technologically advanced fighters in the world, you'll also be able to take the controls of some of the older combat jets over the jungles of southeast Asia. The action in the present day scenarios takes place over the United States and will focus on combat exercises and pilot training, while the future conflict will take place in the skies over Europe. All in all there will be 62 missions, some hypothetical and some based in reality. The future campaign will even feature a semi-dynamic mission tree adding to the replayability of the campaign.

USAF will include the following flyable aircraft:

* A-10: the A-10 Warthog is a close support ground attack craft armed with a rugged 30mm cannon that shoots uranium depleted shells. The nickname "Tank Buster" is well deserved as the A-10 can rip open armored vehicles like they were made of paper mache.

* F-4E: unveiled during the late 1950s, the Phantom was the backbone of the Vietnam air campaign. Although it was retired by the US Air Force in 1996, you can still take the controls of the F-4E in the Vietnam missions in Jane's USAF.

* F-15C/E: often called the most capable production fighter in the world, the F-15 air superiority fighter hits hard and flies fast. The 'E' type added a second seat behind the pilot and is an effective air-to-ground as well as air-to-air combat jet.

* F-16: the F-16 Falcon is a multi-role fighter that combines compact size with blazing speed. The relatively inexpensive F-16 was flown in more missions than any other aircraft during the Persia Gulf War.

* F-105: also know as the "Thud" or the "Lead Sled," this single-seater saw lots of action in Vietnam playing a dual role as both a fighter and a bomber. Armed with a 20mm cannon and eight bombs, this jet is deadly in the sky as well as on the ground.

* F-117: one of the most recent additions to the USAF's arsenal, the F-117 stealth bomber takes to the high skies, avoiding radar detection while delivering its payload with the help of an advanced laser-guided system.

USAF will incorporate and entirely new simulation engine, allowing for more realistic flight models than most multi-craft flight sims. The graphics are also a heck of a lot better with improved high resolution terrain, fully 3D ~censored~, and a slew of special effects ranging from night vision to dynamic shadows to multiple explosion variations. The realistic terrain has been modeled using high resolution satellite data and will reflect true-to-life elevations and ground cover. Those of you with older systems need not fret. Jane's promises that the new engine will be greatly optimized to assure high frame rates even on lower-end computers.

One of the neatest features that Jane's promises is voice activated wingman commands, giving you a more realistic feeling game and freeing up your hands so you can focus on controlling your plane rather than hitting keys to issue commands.

Of course, what would a combat game be without multiplay support? As it stands now, up to 16 players will be able to engaged in a mock air battle over a LAN or JanesCombat.Net

System Requirement

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Processor: 1.5 GHz
Memory: 384 MB
Hard Drive: 1.6 GB Free
Video Memory: 64 MB
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 9.0b
Keyboard & Mouse
CD/DVD Rom Drive 

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