Combat Flight simulation is a great game, and made even better with all the fans and computer programming experts making all kinds of add-ons and revamping aircraft for the games that it has all kinds of replay value. Now from Just Flight, a flight simulation company along with other types of sim games, comes The Dam Busters. The Dam Busters is a recreation of many of the World War II Royal Air Force Command’s 617 Squadrons actual bombing missions in Europe.
The simulation game starts out with a list of the flight’s and bomb runs that actually occurred from early 1942 to the end of the war. The raids were mostly on dam’s but they used the same tactics on many others types of targets. The tactics were an unconventional low level bombing run at 60 feet with search lights on the plane so the bombardier could see the target. They used a variety of bombs, one which was a large ball in a solid metal shell that would skip across the water after they dropped it and hopefully hit the dam square on it’s up river side.
The game is several of these dam busting missions along with other missions that the 617th Royal Air Force Commands missions. The games specs are about the same as the Combat Flight Simulation 2’s requirements, as the Microsoft game is a prerequisite to playing the Dam Busters. You can also use the Microsoft Flight Sim 2000 or 2002 as the game this is played with. The game is an add-on so cannot be played by itself, it requires on of those three games to play.
Microsoft Combat Flight Simulation 2
Microsoft Flight Simulation 2000
Microsoft Flight Simulation 2002
Processor: ï¿½Pentium II 300 MHZ or AMD Athlon Equivalent
Memory: ï¿½64 MB RAM
Disk Space: 235 MB for CFS 2, 128 MB for FS 2000 or 2002
Windows 98/2000/ME or above
Processor: Pentium III 450 MHZ or Faster
Memory: 128 MB RAM
3D Graphics Card with 16 MB RAM
The Dam Busters installs easily with Auto install shield, but you need to choose which game you are installing it onto. It runs well on a good system, but the action slows if you get a lower processor and of course will not look as good with less than a decent video card. All of the flight sim games require some kind of graphics memory and the better the RAM on the graphics card the better the game will look, and of course the better processor the better the frame rate. I have tried this on a laptop and it works pretty well, 1500 GHZ AMD Athlon processor with on board graphics and 512 MB RAM. The game does work without a joystick but I could not see trying to fly combat like that. A little scale comes up on the side that shows the elevator rudder and aileron settings but they do not snap to center, this would mean you would have to constantly adjust the controls as you flew and would have to do this while trying to fly and fight at the same time, it’s easier to use a joy stick. I could not see getting any kind of flight sim game and not using at least some kind of joy stick or pad controller with a small joy stick on it.
The game has about 15 missions in the campaign mode, but you get the instant combat, free flight, training and the other types of game play with the editor. The campaigns are pretty fun but a little difficult to learn how to fly. The dam busting part of the missions require you to fly pretty low and skip a large bomb across the water at the dam. You need to fly straight and level at a certain height and speed in order for the bomb to do it’s thing and hit the dam. If it does not work you need to do the mission over as you only have one bomb per flight. This means in realistic mode without unlimited ammunition on your have to start over, but if you use the built in cheat of unlimited ammo you can do the run again and try to nail the dam a second or third time. It is even fun to not use the bombers and try to blow the dam with some of the other aircraft like the P-38 Lightning, they can carry large bombs and it will blow the dams.
To use the bombers of the mission they have added a bombardier control to the game, you fly straight and level and then switch to the bombardier seat and you are looking through a square at the front of the plane like a real bombardier would be. You need to drop the bomb when the object like the dam or factory is on the cross hairs that appear as you approach your target. While your doing this the plane is still in your control so you can maneuver the plane and yo have to keep this in mind as you can also maneuver the plane out of line for the target. It is pretty fun but kind of hard to do. I found it just as easy to not use the bombardier view and practice with dropping the bombs like a regular bomb run and figure out when was the best time to drop it. It does take practice but you can get pretty good with it. You can use the extra window and have it set on chase plane view and view your plane from the front, you do this to see the stuff you just passed over and you can tell without going around or banking to see if you hit your target.
I find that you get to feel when you should drop the bombs when doing your runs at whatever height and speed after you have played the game, just like when you are dog fighting and you get to feel when you should shoot for leading and following your targets. It gets to be a feel like the real pilots got when they had been fighting for awhile and survived, the natural feel of being an Ace. That is fun and the game adds just another level of fun to the Combat Flight Simulation 2 game or the other two flight sim games from Microsoft.
In making the add-on they tried and succeeded in recreating the actual missions that the England’s Royal Air Command flew during the war, and made it fun to boot. The game is kind of hard but that makes it all the more fun, they took a lot of effort and time to give you an enjoyable game and also paid a tribute to the brave men who flew those daring missions. You get to learn something about the men and flights as you read the manual and play the game, like how the Bomber Command suffered the most casualties during the war on their self sacrificing missions. The dam busting missions are the namesake of the game but would have been too small a campaign to make it worth while so they used the whole commands history during a part of the war to build the campaign. You have missions of the dam strikes as well as bombing factories, battleships, railways and power stations.
The game takes place throughout a year long time period so you have some missions that take place during the winter, and settings when you start the game have to be adjusted to take this into account for realistic ground effects. The graphics are set while the game is starting so you need to tell the game when you first start to play whether you will be playing summer or winter raids. The game will still play for either time of year but the graphics on the ground may not show up as realistic, just blurred or not looking quite right. You can still see your targets and other planes just fine though, it just messes with the ground. There are some very fun and historic bombing runs like the sinking of the Tirpitz, the bombing of the V1 sites and Brest U-Boat pens. Just Flight has done an excellent job of making these missions of historic significance come to life.
You can make your own missions and have fun playing with that part. It takes some time to learn how to use the editor but it is pretty simple and you can make your own missions with a little time and practice. The hardest part of creating your own missions is getting the different parts of the mission to be kind of realistic. The other aircraft that are attacking you need to be set up to fight against you and you need to have various settings for them so they behave like a real plane would attacking you or defending their own homeland. This is all done with the settings in the editor like the settings for the object such as if it follows way points or a route or is just free flying. This will adjust how and where the plane flies and if it follow you after an engagement or fly away when you get so far away from it. Many of the other characteristics of the planes and other enemies in the game are controllable and you can adjust things to make them behave how you want in the game. You can also use the existing missions of the game and edit them how you like, but I would recommend you rename them something else so the original missions of the game can be played without having to reload the game. If you save a mission that was the original one and do not rename it something else the original mission will be altered.
The Dam Busters is a fun and realistic game from Just Flight, just one of many of their and other Combat and Flight Simulation add-ons. The game is great with lots of fun and you will never get bored replaying, it has a lot of variety and the missions never play the same with the added way the enemies attack you. It takes some practice to get the hang of this just like any flight simulation, it is realistic though.