Tuskegee Fighters is one of the new breed that blends intense gaming with intense realism. Most of us "cultured and seasoned" gamers (ha ha) are bored with shooting at everything on the screen and need more reward than seeing the villain destroyed at the end.
So who were the Tuskegee Fighters, you ask? A highly-skilled group of African-American World War II fighter pilots from Alabama that set plenty of records in their day. The missions included in the game, which is an expansion to Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator are historically accurate re-creations of some of their actual missions. Most of the missions are strafing and bomber escort, but there’s plenty of dog fighting, if that’s your forte.
Included are the Stearman PT-17, North American AT-6 Texan, Curtiss P-40L Warhawk, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and North American P-51 Mustang. The planes include historically accurate paintjobs, armament, and animated control surfaces.
While maintaining the excitement and difficulty level of a good flight combat sim, Tuskegee Fighters adds the elements of real air combat: time of day, long flights to the battle arena, realistic plane damage, realistic ammo, fuel capacity, and intensely real flight dynamics. Each of the 20 missions is based on actual missions flown, including time of day, geographic details, and number of planes in the mission. The manual adds to the element of realism by including actual pictures of the Tuskegee Fighters, historical background, and the details of their mission statistics and awards.
Even the non-historic minded will appreciate the resourcefulness of the pilots that flew these missions. Unlike many combat sims, your opponent isn’t out-gunned, outnumbered, or a bad combat pilot. Integration with Microsoft’s Flight Combat Simulator gives you the ability to adjust the simulation to your preferred level of realism.
Okay, I admit it. Some times, I really wanted to have an invincible plane with unlimited ammo, but the real challenge is to fly without an unfair advantage and still make it back to the runway. That’s what the real Tuskegee Fighters did, and it’s what you will have to do to survive.
The added "radio chat," exploding structures, and scenery make for a game that will immerse you in the overall experience. I found myself leaning hard in my chair as I tried to pull that near-ground turn to keep out of the flak, all the while dodging enemy fire.
My only disappointment was that there were only 20 missions. Okay, 20 missions is a lot if you’re really out there risking your neck, but when you have a good sim, there are never enough missions.
I give Tuskegee Fighters 4 1/2 GIN gems. The 1/2 I took off was for scenery that was good, but not eye-popping. Some of us still want to fill up hundreds of megs of hard drive space so we can be the envy of all our scenery-loving friends. Overall, it’s a great add-on and a great challenge for anyone who wants a realistic combat simulation.