ACF Reviews | Air Combat: the beginning of the Ace Combat series

Hello Aces, it’s time for an ACF review and we’re going to start with the game responsible for creating the.


Hello Aces, it’s time for an ACF review
and we’re going to start with the game responsible for creating the most successful and loved
flight shooter franchise in gaming history! And of course I’m talking about Air Combat! So let’s do this! Air Combat was Namco’s first console game
on the flight shooter genre, this game was released in 1995 for the PlayStation One however
its development team already had some previous experience with the arcade genre, since they
had created an arcade game in 1993 that also called Air Combat. Talking about names, internationally this
game was marketed as Air Combat however on Namco’s home country, Japan, this game was
called “Ace Combat” which became the official name of the series and its subsequent releases. The story in Air Combat is very simple. The player fights as Phoenix, leader of the
mercenary Scarface squadron, who is hired by an unknown country after terrorist forces
occupy and take over the government. Other than that there’s not much to say
since the game has a very arcady style, but one thing to point out is that all of the
game takes place in a fictional universe, later known as Strangereal according to future
Ace Combat games. This is of course the opposite of early Namco
marketing in North America which implied that the Scarface Squadron was an elite united
hired by NATO to be sent and fight some rebels in the Middle East. As far as gameplay goes the player is tasked
to destroy specific targets in each mission that are marked as TGT and are mentioned in
the briefing that happens prior to every mission. Besides the TGTs, the player also has the
option to destroy secondary targets as he can also earn more credits from them. With the credits players can purchase and
play with a total of 16 aircraft, each with its strengths and weaknesses which are displayed
in the hangar. With that said, players can choose an aircraft
that is better suited for each mission such as an attacker for air-to-ground attacks or
an aircraft that better suits the player style. Time to complete each mission is presented
on the top left of the HUD as the fuel bar. The HUD is very easy and straightforward. It includes your airspeed on the left, an
artificial horizon in the middle, your altimeter to the right, your heading on the top, your
radar on the bottom left corner which is toggled automatically to what you are targeting, the
damage indicator in the bottom right corner and finally the ammo counter on the very bottom. Due to the arcady style of the game and the
number of enemies all the aircraft start with 65 missiles and almost 10,000 bullets, now
of course this is a very unrealistic approach but it is justified by the nature of the game. Throughout the missions of the game you will
get yelled at by your co-pilot with information regarding to the battle such as: And in some missions of the game you will
be able to bring a wingman that can help you complete the missions by covering you or engaging
other enemies on his own will. Also another feature of the game is that after
completing the first couple missions of the game the player is given the option of choosing
the next mission in a map with their locations, however the order the missions are played
doesn’t change the story nor opens up an alternate path. As for the controls, there are two settings
namely the novice, for players getting introduced to the gerne, and the expert controls which
give the player more control of the aircraft’s movements. During my time playing the game, I only had
some minor difficulty getting used to the expert controls since the PlayStation One
games don’t have an analog stick and so the player has to use the arrows to maneuver. One thing I didn’t like though is that there
are only two cameras in the game, the HUD and third person view. And the problem is that the HUD in the third
person view is severely limited including only your ammo and damage indicators which
ended up forcing myself to play only in the HUD view since it’s very hard to judge the
aircraft’s altitude without an altimeter due to the poor graphics. Oh yeah, graphics! There is not much to say in this criteria
because as you can see, they suck. Like I mentioned, one major issue I had was
not knowing if I had enough altitude because you can barely see the terrain. Other than that, the aircraft were modelled
in a simple way with not a lot of detail, but at least the paint scheme for them was
cool – at least for the 90s. As for the mission designs I do have to give
credit for the game because there were many different types of missions in the game including
bomber intercept, dogfighting, air to ground attacks, ravine flying and even destroying
a giant aerial fortress as the enemy superweapon in the final mission of the game. The environments was also balanced including
missions over forests, cities, deserts, mountains, the sea and even some that would take place
at night – so definitely a positive point to the game that a total of 17 missions. Other than missions I should also mention
that this game had some very cool bonuses and unlockables that could be accessed by
the secret menu: these include credits, extra wingmen, different paint schemes and even
a secret mini-game that would take place in the loading screens. Lastly, one very positive aspect of Air Combat
was the background music, the rock soundtrack of the game was many times a pump of adrenaline
to the mission as you can hear right now playing on the background of this video. With all of that said let’s go for a quick
recap of all the criteria followed by my overall review of the game. As for the story, there’s not much to it. You have the terrorists, you’re a mercenary
that has to kill them and so you get freedom and happiness for everyone – what did you
expect from an arcade game? I wouldn’t say the story was either a positive
or negative point, just acceptable. As for the gameplay, I did have fun even though
there’s no analog since it’s a PlayStation One. My overall experience was good and you even
have the two control modes: the novice (nugget) and also the expert, which is the one you
should play. There’s also a two player mode, I haven’t
played it, that’s why I couldn’t record it but it would probably just end in a turn fight
which wouldn’t be that fun. But I never tried, maybe you can! One problem of the game was the graphics,
they just suck. That’s all I can say. They did decrease my overall enjoyment of
the game but the game can still be played and it is acceptable since this was their
first fight shooter game on a console, therefore it’s understandable. Now here are the good things about Air Combat. First, there’s an immense diversity of missions,
each one of them takes place in a different area with a different terrain, different types
of enemies, different objectives and this does make for an overall better experience. It’s not like same mission and different area
or vice-versa. And right in the end of the game in the last
mission you have to fight against the enemy aerial fortress, which is not like a B-17,
IT’S WAY MORE THAN A B-17 FLYING FORTRESS! It’s a huge and massive airplane with anti-air
guns and missiles – and this is one of the key aspects that made its way into the whole
Ace Combat series – this concept of the enemy superweapons (both the flying and the ones
that can’t fly). Other than that, and I think probably the
best thing about Air Combat overall was the music. Seriously, Air Combat, or the series Ace Combat
as a whole, would not be the same without the music and all started right here. With the rock music it makes you feel like
you are a Top Gun pilot (which some people compare a lot). And so the music was an important part of
the series that had already debuted well in the first game. Of course the styles of Ace Combat’s soundtracks
have expanded in later games, but the original style made its way in Air Combat as a key
element. Now for my overall review and analysis of
the game, or score of the game (and I don’t like to put a number into a game because to
me this doesn’t make much sense), I’d say Air Combat is a good game. If you are into flight shooter and you like
playing retro games, definitely do play it. If you are not into that kind of retro games
but you’re still an Ace Combat fan, then I’d say maybe don’t go as far as Air Combat. Instead focus on the subsequent titles, and
even maybe Ace Combat 2 and 3 because they are much improved. And talking about Ace Combat 2, that’s going
to be featured in my next review! So I hope you guys have enjoyed, please let
me know what you think about Air Combat in the comments section, thank you for watching
and see you next time!

64 thoughts on “ACF Reviews | Air Combat: the beginning of the Ace Combat series”

  1. The goal with this new series is to review all the major Ace Combat games before the release of Ace Combat 7 so new players have some reference to compare the Ace Combat games. My current plan is to have a review of AC2 to AC6 plus AC AH and Infinity prior to AC7 and if time is available I will review the minor AC games.

  2. I buy this game, i have a play 2, but no memory card. I don't want to play on pc, i don't buy a memory card for ps1, and i want to play on hard difficult, so…. challenge accepted!!!

  3. I'm so glad to see you're reviewing the games 😀 Air Combat's graphics are definitely the biggest problem, the game hasn't aged well at all. Ace Combat 2 basically improved on every aspect of Air Combat so I especially can't wait for that video!

  4. Press 0 again multiple times whist watching this video, It sounds like he is saying racist in an Irish accent.
    Anyone else??

  5. Hey buddy, great review! I still need to pick up the PS1 ace combats from my local game exchange. i have the ps2 games that really got me into the series.

  6. I loved Air Combat! My dad bought it for me after we watched TOP GUN. Unfortunately, I lost my copy in the late nineties during a move. But one thing I do remember was the killer soundtrack, and of course "ALERT! BODY DAMAGE!"

  7. For 20+ Year old game. It good one "if" i haven't play any Aircraft shooting game (Except The horrible Third person view)
    But Well It Took a lot way to get here to become one of a best Aircraft game franchises.
    Salute to our grandpa AirCombat

  8. I thought the game was good. I managed to download it on my PS one emulator and beat it in about a day. But the only drawback I have with the game (aside from graphics) would be that if you die, you lose your plane and have to start all the way back to the beginning of the game. I wish it was more like the sequels but oh well. I give it a 8/10.

  9. I tried to play it, but I was a shit with the controls in expert. I'll try again with the novice mode, even if that's a sin for me

  10. Never tried the VS mode? And have you ever popped the PS1 disk into a CD player? you got the soundtrack right there

  11. I played this game the day it came out. The playstation was new and you had to give a $500 deposit, cash, just to rent it. I rented it with Wipeout. It was awesome, I've played every PS version to date. Ill always remember jumping in a 1v1 and loved how it started in a joust manner!

  12. Nice new series there! I mostly agree with your review, the game didn't age well, but the music and gameplay can still give you a fun experience if you can look past the graphics! Also you haven't given the full aircraft list, but it's a pretty good one, 16 planes with pretty good variety between American, Russian and European planes. (And also the only apperance of the Rafale C in the series, the M was always used afterwards in the series)
    Also, it was originally released on the 30th of June, 1995, my fourth birthday! It feels good to share my birthday with the Ace Combat series on consoles!
    Can't wait to see more! Especially the AC2 review, that one's still my favorite in the series.

  13. Lol the OST has been super awesome from the beginning and in every game. I mean, even Assault Horizon soundtrack was amazing

  14. Good Review ACF, Played this when I was 8 years old. Man does time fly. The OST is def a mark to great AC game to get you pumped up in immersed in the action. This is the original that started it all, and not many people know its origins was AirCombat and not Ace. Some games don't age well but to this day there are some elements from the original that can be found in the newer games still . Head First was my favorite OST, I think the 3rd mission in had this one and I would just fly at high-speed low altitude weaving between the mountains. It was EPIC back in the day
    As the co-pilot in this game would say for this review. BAGGED ONE!!!

  15. Not gonna lie I want the English Translated Japanese version of AC3. The original US version sucks. They cut 3/4 of the game out.
    As for what I think of various games of the series:
    -5 and 0 have the best storyline easily.
    -The gameplay of 0 is a little better than in 5 although 5 gives you the option of changing the audio language from English to Japanese
    -I mostly played AH for the multiplayer. It was fun but FAR from the true AC experience.
    -6 was alright, but older games just had a better story to them.
    -X was my first ever AC game. And now I think its OST is a little under appreciated and all.
    -Joint Assault had a really good OST and decent gameplay but the story was kinda….meh.
    -I feel kinda the same way about 4.
    -PS1-era I never played. Also never played Infinity.

  16. Air Combat… I have this tendency to bring Riho in missions starting from the moment I unlock him.

    The soundtrack "Like A Seagull" which plays in Mission 9 & 15 is my favorite Air Combat track.

  17. Holy crap, the memories. 🙂 I remember playing this sooooo long ago on the PS1. Those ground sams were always such a pain. You're right about the soundtrack being great. I loved the music when i played it, especially the track for the one on one 2 player fights you put in at the end. You're the very first youtuber i've seen to ever review it. Many thanks.

  18. I played every title, from Air Combat to Ace Combat 6.

    The last REALLY good Ace Combat was Ace Combat 2 and the best gameplay model was in Ace Combat 5.

    I would like to see more of them in AC7 instead of the ordinary modern storytelling non-sense.

  19. Air Combat does have build-in Soundtrack with Sound clips within the PS1 Disk (can be imported as MP3 via iTunes or PS3 Console)

  20. like some of early psone games, it aged pretty quickly with those kind of graphic. itis pretty understandable tho.
    but the game itselfshould support analog control.when dual analog stick for psone exist again?
    anyways, cant wait for another review of next games.

  21. I recently bought a PS2 from Ebay from one US seller and the Air Combat/Ace Combat collection(PS1 and PS2 games, 6 games for over $100 total) from another US seller. The thing I hate about Air Combat is that its a completely Arcade game that I cannot even save my progress. I checked the back of the casing and found no memory card icon on it.

  22. That game takes place on skulls island off the coast of the USEA continent in the year 1995 same year of the belkan war

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