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Upon entering the world of Airfix Dogfighter, one of the first things you will take notice of is the way in which the world is constructed. Many rooms in the house look as though they were recently transcribed out of a cartoon. The contrast of many colors in the home gives Airfix Dogfighter a stylistic look that is difficult to describe. In some ways, I suppose it reminds me of the CGI rendered in-home scenes of the Toy Story movies. Once you have gawked over the graphics for long enough, it’s time to throttle up and take to the skies.
Only a fool would look at the subject matter in Airfix Dogfighter and expect a five-star, FAA approved flight sim on the same realism level of say, X-Plane or Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000. Taking this point into consideration, Airfix Dogfighter uses a flight model more akin to Microsoft’s Crimson Skies, where a strong emphasis is placed on action elements rather than trying to maintain an illusion of realism. Still, Airfix Dogfighter has a flight model so forgiving that if you take your throttle down to nil, you can hover in the air for a while before slowly dropping back to the floor. Crashing into walls has a similarly wacky effect, with few fiery deaths ever ensuing from a poorly executed bank. Instead, your craft will have a tendency to bounce off walls, resulting in a loss of speed and a very minor hit to your armor. This game wouldn’t have ‘dogfighter’ in the title if there were any lack of powerful combat encounters, and a wide variety of weaponry has been placed at your disposal.
Nothing about the weapons systems you will be using is conventional in any way shape or form. Then again, nothing about Airfix Dogfighter can truly be considered standard. Your weaponry comes in two forms, primary cannons and secondary weaponry. Your cannons start out with paltry effectiveness and a very limited range — when your weapons are in range of an enemy, they will lock-on with the target reticule turning red. You can upgrade your cannons by retrieving a common powerup: For the Axis, these take the form of Germany’s iron cross while the Allies use a star. For every ten of these powerups you collect, the technology level on your plane is upgraded. Secondary weapons consist of conventional weapons like rockets, cannons and bombs, with super-weapons entering in as part of the plot giving players the use of atom bombs, particle beams and electricity projectors. Weapons are not the only powerups to be discovered in the homestead, you may, for example, find yourself in serious need of repairs or refueling. Both of these exist as separate powerups that you will need to keep a careful eye open for.
Upon completion of your mission objective and returning to base, you are given a point tally based on the different powerups you were able to collect and the condition of your plane upon its return. You will normally be awarded medals with silly titles like, “Dad’s Medal of Car Insurance,” or “The Questionable Medal of Thieving.” Any blueprints and model kits you discover will also be added to your arsenal after the debriefing.
Airfix Dogfighter also has two editors designed to allow for some minor customizations. The decal editor lets you tweak the style of your planes by adding custom stickers and changing the camouflage. The house editor, on the other hand, allows you to create custom maps for multiplayer dogfighting, placing various objects throughout the house to create obstacles and good hiding places for powerups.
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