THOSE magnificent men in their flying tin cans are back for another dose of World War II dogfighting action, in an arcade-style air combat sim that rattles along at a furious pace.

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Dogfight 1942

Publisher: City Interactive

Price: £10.80

Format: Xbox 360 download

THOSE magnificent men in their flying tin cans are back for another dose of World War II dogfighting action, in an arcade-style air combat sim that rattles along at a furious pace. After an introductory tutorial set in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, missions come thick and fast, letting you pilot some of the greatest fighter aircraft ever built.

The single-player campaign lasts 4-5 hours. One moment you’ll be intercepting German bombers above the White Cliffs of Dover or sinking Japanese aircraft carriers and the next taking part in the Battle of Midway or manning gun emplacements on a bomber. Iconic planes such as the Submarine Spitfire, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and the Grumman F6F Hellcat are yours to command at various stages of the game, while your airborne adversaries include the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and other noteworthy planes.

Although you’ll spend plenty of time launching attacks at ground targets, flying escort missions or providing air cover, the main focus of the game – as its name suggests – is multi-plane dogfights. The sense of speed you get as your plane hurtles through the air to engage the enemy is astonishing, helped greatly by the third-person viewpoint. Control-wise, the left stick governs the pitch, turn and roll of your plane, while the right stick acts as a throttle. You can also lock-on to specific targets using the left bumper, and track them by holding the B button, which certainly helps you down enemy planes in a hurry.

Once you’ve completed all the solo missions, you can team up with a buddy and play through some of them again in the game’s split-screen local co-op mode. Other diversions include Survival mode, which sees you and your wingman battling endless waves of enemy planes, while Dogfight mode lets you go head-to-head against a friend, with the winner being the first to reach a set objective.

Ignoring some dodgy enemy AI, Dogfight 1942 is a much better game than its budget price would suggest. Whether you’re shooting down a Doodlebug over London or firing torpedoes at a fleet of warships, you’re always in the thick of the action, and its hard not to like its gorgeous visuals and challenging missions.

Score: 3/5 stars

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