The Dam Busters (video game)

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The Dam Busters
The Dam Busters splash screen

Developer(s) Sydney Development
Publisher(s) U.S. Gold
Accolade (USA)
Coleco Industries (ColecoVision)
Designer(s) J. Stewart Eastbrook
Platform(s) Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Commodore 64
NEC PC-9801
ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) 1984
Genre(s) Combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Floppy disk

The Dam Busters is a combat flight simulator set in World War II produced by U.S. Gold. The graphics are very simple by today's standards, and shows only four colours (in the DOS version). The game was released on several platforms and was one of the earliest flight simulators available on home computers.[citation needed] The Dam Busters is loosely based on the real life Operation Chastise.


You choose from three different night missions, each of which is increasingly difficult. In all three, your goal is to successfully bomb a dam. On the practice run, you can approach and bomb the dam without any other obstacles. The two other missions feature various enemies to overcome, and you start from either the French coast or a British airfield.

During your flight, you control every aspect of the bomber from each of the seven crew positions: Pilot, Front Gunner, Tail Gunner, Bomb Aimer, Navigator, Engineer, and Squadron Leader. Leaving any of these positions unattended during an event could spell the death of the person in that position, rendering it useless during further encounters. You must evade enemies, plan your approach, and set all of the variables (speed, height, timing, etc.) to execute a successful bombing. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to deal with emergencies, such as engine fires.

While en route to the target you can expect to encounter attacks by enemy aircraft, barrage balloons, flak and enemy searchlights. Events like this will flash along the border of the screen, while indictating the key to press to take you to the station in need of assistance. For example, when flying though enemy search lights, you'll need to man the gunner's station and shoot out the lights on the ground. If left unattended, you can expect flak and enemy aircraft to start damaging your bomber.

Once you begin the final run to your target, you are presented with the custom bombing sights, as made famous by the story. When you toggle the bomb, you are shown an animation of the bomb bouncing along the lake and hitting (or not hitting) the target dam.


Computer Gaming World gave The Dam Busters two out of five points in an overview of World War II simulations, stating "this product's graphics and 'feel' make it too much of a game and not enough of a simulation".[1]

Image gallery[edit]

The Dam Busters aircraft instruments


  1. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (April 1987). "Kilobyte Was Here!". Computer Gaming World. p. 6. 

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