Fucking ay! It's Carrier Aces! I played this game all the time back in the day!
I don't hear a lot of people talking about it, and this is a great game for the Super Nintendo that I think is often overlooked. In 1995, near the end of the SNES' life cycle, cybersoft came out with what I think is a gem of a combat sim game if you are a fan of those types of games. There are two ways to play the game: 1 player versus the computer and 1 player versus 2 player. You can be either the Americans or the Japanese.
There are 7 campaigns to choose from in addition to a training mission, which lets you practice the different aspects of the game: dogfights, strafing, dive bombing, torpedo runs, and landing the planes. None of these campaigns look familiar to me in any way- and when I say that I don't recall any of those campaigns being realistic battles fought in World War II. For what ever reason they made up their own names I suppose. The only thing close to a real battle I think was the defense of the buppa oil fields which may have occurred in the Phillipines.
We need to clarify one thing off the bat. When you select the first campaign, the Americans claim that the Yamato is speeding ahead, and that it is a destroyer. The Yamato was not a destroyer. It was not a frigate. It was a mother fucking battleship, ok? The in game representation is wrong too. Being a kid though- I wouldn't have known the difference.
This game will let you build your squadrons. In general you will receive options for two fighters, a dive bomber and a torpedo bomber. I like the dive bombers- and you'll see why in a bit. Generally I like to divy it up into 5 dive bombers and three fighters. Don't forget to load your planes with ordinance- I forget to do it all the time and wonder why my Dauntless isn't dropping its bomb. Woops. Forgot to have the crew tie a bomb to my plane! hurpty durr!
You will get a quick cutscene showing your planes taking off. After that, the game resorts to a sort of board game fashion which shows you the layout of the area. The enemy is nearby and they have one to eight fighters as well. You'll have to dogfight them in order to move onto your target.
Dogfighting on the super nintendo is one big turning fight. That's all it really is- and the computer is VERY, VERY good at doing it. This is why I prefer the dauntless- you can press the right shoulder pad and enter rear gunner mode. I set my speed to medium, get my altitude dangerously low and open fire when the enemy catches up. He is going to get behind you anyways. If you manage to shoot out the enemies fuel tank or oil tank- they will slowly plummet into the ocean- probably to be eaten by sharks. It's possible Genesis' Ecco the Dolphin saves them; I dunno.
Do your best to shoot him down and that should minimalize casualties for your side. Unlike other sim games that are nice to the pilots when you blow their planes up, when your plane explodes in this game- the pilot inside dies. There are no ejection seats in world war II. Dogfighting is fun for a time- but after the third protracted dance it really begins to get tedius. Maybe it would be better against a player opponent- but not on the campaigns.
When you reach your target- whatever it is- one player gets to attack it and the other defends with a 5mm cannon or a 40mm bofors. fighters and torpedo bombers will strafe while the Dauntless will dive bomb. The farther away you are from your target, the less accurate you will be. However- the closer you get to your target, the more likely your planes will sustain damage. It takes a lot of practice to get really good at this game- and it can be a ton of fun between two players.
Basically- destroy your target and move on. You'll win- but then you need to land your planes. Unlike Top Gun for the NES, landing planes in this title is easy- follow the flag man's instructions and slow your speed upon touchdown. It's that easy.
The controls are solid- but often I second guess myself. It can be tricky to learn how to dogfight- but in order to succeed at the game you have to become good at this skill. Again, this is why I pick the Dauntless or the japanese dive bomber equivalent. The music, although good- gets monotonous with time, and that ties in with the extended dogfights. As a kid- and even now as an adult- extended dog fights put me to sleep. I'm not joking. The real fun is in dodging stationary guns- especially with a good friend. The campaigns may be repetitive but back in the day this was a good source of fun. Not for $50 mind you, if you can believe that SNES games sold for that much back then. It's an OK versus game in today's market of retro gaming, but some other folks who don't fit the niche of Carrier Aces will want to look elsewhere for a fix.
RGN gives this game a [/]. Even if it was mediocre at best, Carrier Aces will always have a place in my heart. Until the enemy shoots my oil tank.