Ace Of Aces was a really complex mosquito? fighter bomber simulation. The concept was simple but implementation was very tricky, You selected either practise or mission mode and you were then presented with either right to the scramble screen in practise mode or type of mission if you selected missions. In mission mode you could choose if you were going to attack a train, U-boats and bombers (air combat) and then take to the Intelligence brief which was a table top (with lamp) but also animated displaying your targets, weather information and altitude information and recommendations but you tended to just rush through this at first which as you played more you found to be not the best idea to do.
After this you get to pick your ammo, again you tended to rush this at first find they were the wrong sort and that you ran out to early and mess up your missions. You could choose from Bombs (big green ones), Rockets (the slim ones), Cannon, and extra fuel. The fuel became important especially when running train missions and something you learned as you tried to make it back to base run out of fuel and crash into the ground. This had a true delay of pending doom as your engines spluttered and then stopped and your altitude meter slowly started to fall and get faster and faster.
When you completed your selection you then had the siren noise and black and white graphics of the siren followed by you running to your plane, the spin up, the thumbs up and your take off all done in a photo snap shot effect and was louder then the rest of the game so you indeed were scrambling for the volume control more often then not.
In the air
Ace of Aces was unique at the time as you did not take off or land yourself it tried to jump you straight into the action but the level of detail and offerings during that time were enough that it did not need to. Clouds! Clouds were in the game, part of the game and also very useful as you could head above, below or through them for cover. The Idea was for you to fly to your target where you were presented with your flight screen with simple but standard controls which where your horizon, your Alt meter, the direction you were going (NSEW) a very basic map, MPH (miles per hour), your damage display and your flight stick. Your fight stick in cock pit view would animate as you moved it which was a nice touch and your damage display was in the shape of your ship and of course green is good and red is bad.
As you flew to your target you could encounter enemey fights that tried to shoot you down, the mosquti figher bomber of the time was just that a bomber and a fighter so while the attackers were zipping about a lot more then you could you had the ability to shoot them down and they needed a lot of shooting to cause you damage but you could not ignore them though. Shooting was tough the basic concept of flying your crosshair over your target and firing was simple but in practise something you had to time right and get used to and you had to keep an eye on your ammunition as well and not sprey widley into the air.
During flight you had the ability to look left and right to view your engines where you could spot either damage or watch in horrow as your engines stopped during flight but you were not totally stranded you were given more controls in these views. If you looked to your right the controls offered you the ability to engage your fire extinguisher to put out any flames in your engines, your RPM, the ability to boost your engines (using up more fule though) and indevedual controls for your left and right engines so that if one failed the other could work harder to keep you up and your flap, gear and trim controls. As mentioned you never landed your plane but you had to have the right altitude and your gears down to proceed to land correctly.
Bombing was straight forward, as you approached your target you were presented with the bomber bay. Here you had your bomber bay doors and your amunition suuplies and the controls to open the doors,, switch weapons and even engage your extra fuel tanks as well as show how many bullets are left for your forward guns.
When you got near your target you again had a crosshair which you lined up and proceedd to launch your bombs or rockets. The only really frustrating elements of this being the moving trains and the U-Boats which did dive unde the sea.
When you were shot at on the way and on the way back from your missions you did not just take damage in your damage bar and then feel the effects, oh no. If you were shot at you would recieve bullet holes to your glass cockpit and your controls would proceed to have quite nifty damage effects, sparks and even failures. The dial screns would be cracked or broken, switches would fail to work and even your controls would become sluggish.
There was weather effects also, it could be cloudy or clear blue skys which ment you were seen more and so at those times you had more enemey fighters and flak to deal with. If you happened to fly at night it was dark and harder and storms were very dangerous as you could recieve lightning strikes which would do damage to your plane.