Ace of Aces (video game)
|Ace of Aces|
|Developer(s)||Artech Digital Entertainment|
|Publisher(s)||Accolade, U.S. Gold, Tiertex|
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
Ace of Aces is a combat flight simulator developed by Artech Digital Entertainment in 1986 for many platforms, including the ZX Spectrum, MS-DOS, Atari 7800 and Commodore 64. The game takes place during World War II in which the player flies a RAF Mosquito long range fighter-bomber equipped with rockets, bombs and a cannon. Missions include destroying German fighter planes, bombers, V-1 flying bombs, U-boats, and trains. Ace of Aces received mixed reviews but as of 1987, it was the second best-selling Commodore 64 game published by Accolade.
Upon launching the game a menu screen with options to either practice or partake in a proper mission is shown. If the player decides to do the practice mode, they can choose whether to do dog fight training or a U-Boat or train bombing. When playing the practice mode, the enemies are less aggressive. There are five different view options — the cockpit, both left and right wings, the navigational map and the bomb bay — which can be accessed by using the keyboard or by double-tapping the fire button and moving the joystick to the desired direction. When in missions, the player controls a twin-engined balsa RAF Mosquito which is already airborne, mitigating the necessity of takeoff. When starting a mission, the player chooses what supplies they wish to bring, but the more the player brings the lower the maximum speed of the plane. At the end of missions, landing is not required and points are awarded according to how many enemies are shot down, along with the amount of unused fuel, bombs, and missiles. When missions are completed, the player can choose to combine two or more of the other missions to produce a mashup.
Ace of Aces was developed by Artech Digital Entertainment and was released in 1986 and was published by three different corporations; Accolade, U.S. Gold and Tiertex Design Studios. It was released for the Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, MSX, MS-DOS, Sega Master System and the ZX Spectrum. The price varied depending on which console the game was for, but was typically around the £8.99 range. It went on to become one of the best-selling Commodore 64 video games published by Accolade.
The overall reception of Ace of Aces varied between each platform. The Commodore 64 version received positive acclaim with an overall rating of 73/100 on its MobyGames page; the other releases weren't regarded as highly. Besides the Commodore 64 and Master System releases, there were little reviews for the game and a complete lack of reviews for the Microsoft MSX release. The ZX Spectrum version was met with reviews disliking the complexity of changing controls and how it may be distracting during a dogfight. In issue 38 of Your Sinclair, reviewers Ben Stone, Paul Sumner and Mike Dunn criticised the difficulty of the game and how the game only contains enough gameplay for a few days. When playing on the Atari 7800, one reviewer found themselves spending too much time trying to find the correct view when flying. He noted that patient people may enjoy the game after mastering the controls but others will find it boring. ANALOG Computing preferred Ace of Aces to Infiltrator as an Atari 8-bit flight simulator.
In a 1987 Compute! article, Ace of Aces was noted as Accolade's second best selling Commodore 64 game. The Commodore 64 version received mostly positive ratings and accumulated a MobyGames rating of 73 based on critic reviews. Compute!, along with other reviewers, praised the graphics and sound in Ace of Aces. 1991 and 1993 Computer Gaming World surveys of strategy and war games gave it one and a half stars out of five, calling it "somewhat ahistorical". In issue 20 of Zzap!64, the reviewer said it was the best factual war simulation they had played. They compared it to Dambusters and said the playability in this was better. Desert Fox was also used as a comparison, which was referred to as "sometimes unbelievable". An article by the Computer and Video Games magazine published in 1986 said that it was another well-made and well-presented game by Accolade and continued to say that the action-packed gameplay would be able to keep "even the most critical computer pilot busy for some time to come". All four criteria were highly rated, with graphics getting a 10, along with sound, value and playability all getting an 8.
SEGA Master System
The SEGA Master System release of Ace of Aces received a 43/100 rating on MobyGames. The graphics, along with sound and other features which were highly praised in the Commodore 64 version weren't so highly acclaimed in the Master System version. Chad Reinhardt for Defunct Games mentioned that Ace of Aces starts with potential but the poor controls and lack of ability to interact with the plane makes it forgettable. Reinhardt criticised how different the practise mode was from the main game and continued by adding how little help it actually helps when attempting missions. He gave the game a D+ overall. Other reviewers commented that there was no feeling of excitement when playing the SEGA version. In a review on Kultboy, it was given a rating of 20% and said the reasoning behind the low review was because the plane, which is meant to be a fighter plane, flies like a tanker. Comparatively the score for graphics the game was given was high, with 68%. Sega Pro gave the game a rating of 56 and praised the graphics when they were static but continued on to say they were impractical in-game.
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