Building model planes was never something I got into. Whenever I was caught constructing one, I was forced into a dark cupboard and told to sit with my head between my legs.
An activity which, on reflection, probably contained more excitement than glueing pieces of plastic together. Depending on your own point of view, thankfully, or not, Airfix Dogfightercontains absolutely no kit building. Although I'm sure fans are certain to rejoice in the pleasure of being able to design their own insignias in a simple paintbrush-style package.
What we've got here is simple miniature arcade flying action set in and around the various rooms of an American-style house. There are 20 missions to play in all, split in half between the Allies, which base their HQ in the boy's upstairs bedroom - and the Axis - located downstairs in the living room.
As you complete each mission, new rooms in the house are made available in order to fulfil the primary and secondary objectives given to you (usually shoot something or pick something up).
There's no great strain towards the realism so prevalent in the normal flight-sim world, but the planes still handle well enough. Attacking enemy planes and tanks involves nothing more than getting them locked on target and holding down fire for a few seconds, while later levels allow you to get your hands on more advanced weapons, such as lasers and homing missiles. This may be all well and good, but there's just one problem.
Every mission starts at your home base. But to make life easier on yourself and to score points, it's best to begin flying around shooting at the various vases and crockery dotted around in order to get hold of ammo and power-ups. But an enclosed space, however small, isn't exactly the most ideal place to fly around in and most pickups are located close to walls or under furniture - meaning it's best to slow down to collect it. Normally you can't crash if you hit something - unless you fly into it really fast or at a strange angle - bouncing off instead with minor damage, but it can be disorientating if you do. Fly too fast under a bed or a cabinet and the camera can jerk around wildly and you lose your speed and have to accelerate again. So it's all a matter of slowing down and chugging along to get the pickups, then whacking on the acceleration again and leaving a disjointed flow in the action. Not to mention the slowing down to shoot the china in the first place.
Swoop around like this for five minutes and you can get into the action. But if you die, you can imagine the slight irritation in having to go about smashing stuff again in order to get yourself powered-up once more. If you didn't have to do this, the mission would probably be over far more quickly, though it's not exactly the easiest game in the world -getting shot down if faced with a group of enemies is a possibility. Although, on my part, this was usually because I'd slowed down in order to pick something up.
It's a very limited gaming experience. Aside from the level editor, where you design rooms by rotating and placing pieces of furniture and the obligatory multiplayer mode, that's about all there is to it. It it's any consolation, it isn't quite as bad as the Army Men series. But that's not saying much, because even a game involving throwing nails at a satellite dish would be better than Army Men. If were looking to sully its image, they could have done a worse job. Instead they've just done a so-so one.
Download Airfix Dogfighter
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode