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Released by Sierra in 1993, Aces over Europe was a World War II flight simulator designed as a sequel to Sierra's popular Aces of the Pacific. It was a DOS-based, one-player game in which you took control of a fighter or fighter-bomber from the US Air Force, RAF or Luftwaffe, and took part in missions such as target-strafing or bomber escort.

You could choose to fly individual missions, but the really engaging aspect of the game was the option of flying a "career" as a specific pilot. Starting in 1944 with the build-up to the Normandy invasion, you would fly whatever mission was assigned to you and attempt to survive as long as you could. The range of activities was quite broad - you might fly one week on an eventless bomber escort, then the next week be assigned to strafe an airbase but get intercepted by enemy fighters on the way. When you reached five kills an engineer would moodily remark to you that you were now an ace, and regular bulletins kept you up to date with historical events. Promotion and decoration awaited if you were successful.

The game was highly playable. A number of planes were available to fly, among them the P-51 Mustang, the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-38 Lightning, the Spitfire, the Tempest, the Me-109 and the Me-262. The graphics weren't outstanding, even for 1993, but the control of the planes was satisfyingly realistic. Alongside careers and individual missions you could fly practice flights, dogfight with real-life aces, and access a database of Second World War planes, ships and ground vehicles. It was also possible to adjust the level of realism to make the game easier or harder.

To complete the picture the manual was a 200-page tome, almost all of it providing historical detail and reference. An overview of the War, with particular reference to aerial combat, was provided alongside details of aircraft, weapons, ships, ground vehicles and medals from the campaign.

Aces over Europe is one of the favourites from those I played when I was young(er), back in the golden age of DOS. If anyone else remembers this game give me a /msg.

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