Firstly, Attack on Pearl Harbour
incorporates numerous aircraft from the WWII period with, I presume, their correct names and abilities. There are three different types of planes: the fighter (A6M1 Zero), dive bomber (D3A1 Val) and torpedo bomber (TBM Avenger).
It doesn’t take a genius to establish what each type of plane does from the description but just in case; I will elaborate.
The fighter only shoots machine guns and missiles to take down enemy planes and is lighter and zippier than the two bombers, which still fire machine guns. Of the two bombers, one drops torpedoes to take out enemy ships whilst the other takes out land emplacements.
There isn’t really that much difference between planes of the same ability, which caused the game to lack in diversity as a plane upgrade gives a tiny, if any, advantage in the skies.
Similarly, the objectives also lacked diversity with each mission being either a full blown dogfight, blowing something to smithereens or moving through some checkpoints subsequently followed by a dogfight. There is a definite repetitive feel about this game, which becomes increasingly tedious if you decide to play it for more than an hour.
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However, and this is a large however, I don’t believe this detracts from the game too seriously. It’s important to remember that this is in fact an arcade game and therefore to expect anything more diverse than what it offers would just detract from what the game is trying to achieve.
There are very simplistic controls that centre solely on the mouse to aim and steer, with ‘Q’ to look behind you and ‘W and S’ to speed up and slow down for a period of time. This quick learning curve accompanied with the simplistic objectives, which is essentially to kill everything you see, makes the game a rather snappy and enjoyable experience.
In keeping with the arcade nature of the game, the mission lengths are brief and plentiful. There’s a total of 40 missions, wherein the tides of war can turn incredibly quickly. It only takes a few planes attacking from behind to spray a couple of bullets into your rear and your perfect mission has become a desperate attempt to escape the battlefield, failing the mission but saving your plane or ‘bailing out’ from the options menu and retrying from the beginning.
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This also links with the difficulty settings that you choose at the beginning of the campaign with an option of casual, normal or kamikaze. I found normal to be quite a struggle at times but because of the nature of the gameplay, a mission that appeared almost impossible on the first and second attempt was incredibly easy on the third thanks to a few lucky takedowns.
This is, in essence, what this game is all about; half an hour blasts of hectic shooting, swerving, dodging and diving that is completely enthralling. However, if you don’t even have enough time to play out a whole mission or you decide you just want a quick 10 minute break; then there is the dogfight option. Dogfights are custom games which allow you to select a plane, mission parameters and location before indulging in a quick battle against numerous enemies.