|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
NA September 13, 1995
JP June 30, 1995
EU October 1995
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
|Arcade system||Namco System 21 "Polygonizer"|
|CPU||2x Motorola 68000 @ 12.288 MHz,
1x Motorola M6809 @ 3.072 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63705 @ 2.048 MHz
|Sound||1x Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz,
1x C140 @ 21.39 kHz
Air Combat (エアーコンバット Eā Konbatto?), later known as Ace Combat (エースコンバット Ēsu Konbatto?) for the Japanese PlayStation versions, is a semi-realistic flight-sim action game released by Namco in Japan in 1992 (and in the United States in 1993) for their Namco System 21 "Polygonizer" arcade system, and ported to the PlayStation home video game console in 1995; similar to Ridge Racer (which was released the year after), this game was the predecessor of the PlayStation series, and all subsequent games would adopt the Ace Combat name. The game mainly involves dog fighting over three levels of play - Cadet, Captain and Ace. The game later gained an arcade-exclusive sequel, Air Combat 22, in 1995; it was named because it ran on Namco System 22 polygon hardware, and it also allowed the player to choose from three different types of aircraft at the start of the game.
A terrorist force starts an uprising (and inflicts massive damage across an unidentified country, later retconned to Skully Island which is part of the continent of Usea); efforts to defeat these terrorists through conventional means have failed and the situation turns desperate. In response, a mercenary air force is assembled to take the fight against the enemy and free the nation from the terrorist forces.
Air Combat is considered an "arcade-style" flight game due to its semi-realistic physics and the fact that many of the planes can carry up to sixty-five missiles (an impossibility in real-life aircraft). The goal of the game is to destroy enemy targets dispersed throughout the various missions and earn money to purchase additional aircraft or employ wingmen. Extra money can also be earned by destroying "non-target", optional enemies. In the arcade version, the player simulates an F-16 aircraft exclusively, but in PlayStation version, the player can choose from 16 different planes ranging from F-4 Phantoms to Su-27 Flankers and Stealth aircraft, except they are painted in a special "Phoenix" color scheme. Replaying the game after beating it once unlocks the normal color scheme for these aircraft. The game has multiple missions spread out over the campaign map, making it possible to not clear all missions in a single playthrough. Later in the game, players can select new pilots to be their "wingman" during a mission, by assigning them one of three tasks. Each wingman has his own corresponding aircraft, and deducts a fee from the player's credit haul at the end.
Air Combat received mixed-to-positive reviews; IGN described the gameplay's elements as "rock solid", although they noted on its graphical flaws, stating that "the flickery images and bland colors do nothing to showcase the PlayStation's graphics prowess". Air Combat was also awarded "Best Flight Sim of 1995" by Electronic Gaming Monthly. 
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- "PlayTest: Air Combat". Official UK PlayStation Magazine (Future Publishing) (1): 80–81. November 1995.
In terms of excitement Air Combat is an A-class product but it doesn't deliver enough staying power. Its coin-op lineage is painfully apparent.
- New Games Cross Review: エースコンバット. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.342. Pg.32. 7 July 1995.
- "Air Combat Review". IGN. 1996-11-26. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1996.