Dogfight 1942 Review


Dogfight 1942 is an aerial arcade shooter set during World War II, which in spite of its name features missions that span the war beginning with the Battle of Britain in 1940. The first thing to look at in a flight game is where it falls on the sim to arcade scale - not that one is necessarily better than the other, but different gamers have different expectations from their flight games.

Dogfight 1942 sits pretty close to the arcade peg on the sim-arcade dial with simplified controls, a very forgiving flight model, infinite ammo, and plenty of flight and targeting assists. The game has "arcade" and "sim" control options, but all that "sim" does is give you control over the rudder which gives you more leeway in the maneuvers you can perform with your aircraft. The left stick acts as your plane's flight stick and the right as the throttle, with a click of the right stick used to kick in turbo speed. Stalling is not an issue in the game, so you'll find yourself using the throttle pushed forward to quickly close the distance to your targets and then pulled back to allow for tight turns while dogfighting. Take-offs and landings are essentially automatic, and the game will give your plane a nudge if you're about to plant it into the ground, whether you're trying to land or not. And while there are a number of available aircraft in the game, almost all of them handle similarly enough to each other that they're essentially interchangeable.

When in a dogfight, the left bumper will let you lock onto a target or cycle through nearby enemy aircraft. When you have a lock, a targeting indicator appears by the enemy to let you know where to point your guns in order to hit the target. Taking down an enemy is just a matter of keeping your reticule on the indicator long enough to destroy the target. The enemy AI isn't particularly skilled, and it's rather easy to get a kill once you get anywhere behind an enemy plane. Conversely, enemies aren't very good on the attack and you'll rarely, if ever, find yourself getting shot down. Since your allies seem to be incapable of scoring kills, missions consist of you wiping out the entire enemy force and setting historical ace records in every dogfight.

In addition to the seventeen missions that form the campaign, there are a couple of other modes that can be played solo or in local co-op. Surprisingly, there is no online multiplayer in the game. There is a team deathmatch mode in which two teams race to be the first to score twenty-five total kills, and a survival mode in which the goal is to see how many enemy waves you can survive before being shot down. This latter mode is where you will actually find yourself getting shot down, not because the game itself is more challenging but simply because you'll be constantly outnumbered with everyone gunning for you and you'll eventually accumulate enough damage to bring you down.

With a short campaign filled with forgettable missions, little challenge, and the lack of any true multiplayer support, Dogfight 1942 will struggle to keep your interest for very long.

Final Rating: 55%. The fun in Dogfight 1942 never really takes flight.