During World War II, the United States took young men from every
walk of life and made combat pilots of them. That’s something
that this sim will do. You start out as rookie pilot, enter flight
training, develop a sharp level of combat skills, become seasoned
in challenging individual combat encounters, until you become skilled
enough to be an ace, with five enemy kills.
Microsoft’s first iteration, Combat Flight Simulator 1 (CFS-1),
stepped into air combat in Europe. Now, Microsoft introduces an
improved, and–believe it or not–a more challenging sim,
Combat Flight Simulator 2 (CFS-2), air combat in the Pacific.
This sim is designed to make you a fighter pilot. It is complemented
with inputs from Gen. Joe Foss, Congressional Medal of Honor winner
and U.S. ace, and Saburo Sakai, highest-scoring surviving Japanese
ace, who helped to shape this sim into a realistic flight experience.
You get to meet them both in the sim, via the Pilot’s Handbook
that tells each of their stories and sets the background for the
Pacific air battles that are part and parcel to this sim.
You get to fly both U.S. and Japanese aircraft in more than 120
challenging missions. These include such aircraft as the U.S. Corsair–
Pappy Boyington’s favorite, nicknamed the "Ensign Eliminator,"
or the Japanese A6M2 "Zeke" or A6M5 "Zero."
Actually, there are a total of seven different aircraft that you
can fly. The others are the P-38 Lightning, F4F-4 Wildcat, F6F-3
Hellcat, and N1K2-J George. Each has virtual cockpits and working
You can experience exciting carrier takeoffs and landings, while
relying on the LSO (Landing Signal Officer) visual signals and your
flying skills. If that doesn’t test your skills, add realistic
cloud cover, haze, rain and turbulence to this exciting sim, as
well as high-resolution terrain with outstanding detailed geographic
features developed from Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2000
Sim (soon to be covered in this magazine).
CFS-2 is no easy-ride-in-the-sky simulation. You must be always
sharp and alert while flying a mission because of the sim’s
unique artificial intelligence (AI) feature. AI is a self-motivated
program that never gives you a break, constantly creates challenging
situations and action, and seems to have a single-minded drive–to
Constant awareness, flight skills, navigational decisions, and
imminent air-to-air combat will put you in a cold sweat. If that
doesn’t keep you busy enough, add visual features such as
realistic battle damage, muzzle flashes, tracers, splashes, weather
(haze and rain), low ammunition and just enough gas for a one-pass
carrier landing. The only thing missing here is the smell of combat
(oil, smoke, gas, cordite, and–of course–raw sweat),
which is probably on someone’s future planning board.
To make the game more realistic, add a joystick, rather than rely
on the keyboard or mouse. And if you’re a real sim fan, get
one with force feedback, such as Microsoft’s. Next, someone
will recommend a sim-seat with integrated sound and engine and gun
vibration. Don’t laugh. There is one on the market.
Missions include torpedo attacks, ground-support assaults (bombing
and strafing missions) and air-to-air combat, all culminating in
the return to the carrier and a safe landing. You can modify your
missions under a feature called "flexible-mission structure"
that trigger individual player actions ("Bail-out! You’re
in flames!"). Players can take advantage of their wingman’s
AI and dog-fighting abilities, issue orders, and get feedback on
their tactical situation. Or they can just sit back and get shot
System Requirements: PC with 266 MHz or higher, Windows 95 or the
newer Windows 2000, 32 MB (W95)/64MB (W2000), 4X+ CD-ROM, Super
VGA (800x600) 16-bit color monitor, DirectX(r)7 (included on CD),
400 MB HD, mouse (joystick and/or flight yoke is recommended), API-compatible
sound card with speakers, 3-D graphics accelerator card. Multiple-player
requirements include 28.8 kbps or faster modem. To play on the MSN
Gaming Zone, following browsers are required: MS Explorer 4.0 or
later or Netscape Communicator 4.0 or later.
Among the great features of CFS-1 were the add-on third-party developers
with features, missions, and battles beyond those supplied with
the original program. I readily can envision that these add-on sims
will follow CFS-2.
For those unfamiliar with all of this, take a look at "Abacus"
add-on sims such as:
For a lot more on add-ons and other flight sims, try Full Throttle
Magazine, which by the time that you read this will have changed
its name to Flight Simulator World. It’s got all of the technology,
Web sites, sources, and much more. It’s got everything that
flight sim enthusiasts love and need. The magazine is at the same
address as above. You can e-mail them for subscription info at email@example.com,
or phone them at (800) 821-1707. This is one of the best sources
for flight sim info.
Dr. David LL. Silbergeld is a member of the Special Operations
and Low-Intensity Conflict Division of the National Defense Industrial
Association. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.