Sabre Ace: Conflict Over Korea

Sabre Ace is a combat flight sim that covers the air war in the Korean conflict. Although touted as a realistic game, players who want a hardcore flight model should leave this one out. On the other hand, folks looking for a decent game involving air combat during the Korean war, and most importantly who don’t mind an arcade treatment of the flight model, will find things to like here.

9_1Once in the cockpit, it becomes clear the target gamer is the casual player, the pilot who thinks energy management is something relating to gas mileage. While the game allows you to fly for the U.S. in the F-51 Mustang, F-80, and F-86, and the Soviets in the YAK-9 and the MiG-15, all of the planes exhibit extremely simplified flight characteristics. There is no airspeed drop in turns, it appears nearly impossible to stall, and the thrust-to-weight ratios seem way off. In all, energy management is your primary concern during a dogfight.

So, accepting that this isn’t a super realistic sim, how is it as a game? Pretty good, actually. Sabre Ace opens with an extremely well-done training mode, in which you can fly as either a U.S. or Soviet pilot in forgiving trainer aircraft. The training is progressive, with an instructor pilot talking the player through the exercises. As the player demonstrates increasing proficiency, he graduates to better aircraft. This module is both effective and enjoyable.

While not providing the replay value of a dynamic campaign, the canned missions are well designed and provide a very good feel for the represented era. Microphone chatter is authentic sounding and adds to the atmosphere. As you play through the campaigns, success is rewarded with both increased responsibility, such as moving from wingman to flight leader status, and with more advanced aircraft, such as jet aircraft. In all there’s quite a bit to enjoy provided you can forgive the skim on realism.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win98

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