Available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, the latest offering from Jane's Information Group has the player saving Azbaristan as squadron leader Razor. The game includes over 30 flyable jets and boasts over 65,000km² of continuous terrain, with multiplayer for up to 16 players as well as up to four-player co-operative play.
Unlike 'original' Jane's Combat Simulation titles, the game is based around arcade-style flight combat, with few realistic simulation features.
The game takes place in the fictional island nation of Azbaristan, a country divided by a ten-year civil war. Seven years after the ceasefire the land remains separated, with the Southern Azbaristan Democratic Front controlling one province, and the Northern People's Republic (in reality a dictatorship) controlling the rest of the country. The SADF has survived thanks to the support of the Western Democratic Alliance, who supply soldiers and arms and assist in protection; it is implied that the WDA's involvement is due more to their exclusive deals for the offshore oil deposits than any preference for actual democracy.
Azbaristan is a roughly square country, with several outlying islands, covered by thin forests and with a surprisingly large amount of industry and technology - multiple nuclear power plants, solar power plants, coal power plants, a dam, wind farms, offshore oil rigs, a refinery, and a large coal mine. It also has several large cities, and many smaller villages and townships, with the cities often containing one or two exceedingly large 'signature' buildings. The map is continuous.
In the single player missions, the player acts as a WDA pilot under the callsign 'Razor', commanded by an unnamed South Azbarian he refers to as 'Control'.
As the title implies, the game includes a variety of flyable strike fighter aircraft, with other aircraft and vehicles appearing in the campaign missions. Multiplayer modes and singleplayer campaigns generally revolve around combat with other air or ground vehicles.
The flight model is not all realistic. Planes have a default speed, and can be slowed down (to a set minimum) or sped up, but cannot stall or suffer from g-effects, and fly equally well in all directions or rotations. Maximum altitude is also limited to approximately ten kilometers, with planes automatically turning downwards at this point.
All aircraft have infinite fuel and weapons/ammunition; planes can carry up to three types of missiles or bombs and also have a mounted cannon (although infinite, missiles and bombs do not 'respawn' immediately after firing). The selection of weapons is set depending on the selected plane and can't be modified by the player. Planes also carry a limited-but-respawning infinite number of countermeasures which are not guaranteed to work, but as missiles are physical objects they can often also be avoided by simply dodging them.
Planes have a health bar which is lowered by enemy missiles or gunfire, and cannot be raised; damage has no effect on the plane until it reaches 100%. Similarly, all enemies and target structures have a health bar that is lowered by any of the player's weapons, with no special 'bonus' areas or effect until destroyed. Impact with the ground or most objects in the environment is immediately fatal, with the exception of trees and other aircraft, neither of which are considered solid. (The exception to this is at the start of missions, where the player begins on the ground and takes off, but once the landing gear is automatically raised any further contact is deadly.)
While the game can be played in either first-person or third-person, the HUD is the same and the first-person view is from the front of the plane, not inside the cockpit.
The game includes four competitive multiplayer modes, and can be played by up to 16 players at once.
- Dogfight: Deathmatch equivalent, limited by time or kills
- Team Dogfight: Team deathmatch equivalent, with players fighting in the North or South air forces
- Base Assault: Destroy the enemy team’s base and then take out their remaining planes
- Rabbit: Chase down the rabbit to become the rabbit, then evade the other players for as long as possible
The campaign missions can also be played co-operatively by 2-4 players, though further aircraft are only unlocked if all players are at the same point in the campaign.
The campaign takes place over 16 consecutive missions, detailing the second (much shorter) civil war between South and North Azbaristan. The player controls a WDA pilot codenamed 'Razor', working with the SAAF under a native commander codenamed 'Control'.
Missions generally have several objectives, with checkpoints between; there is no penalty for restarting at a checkpoint (which returns the player's plane to full health) except a counter at the end of the mission. Objectives consist of a few types: recon (fly over), destroying planes/vehicles/structures, or protecting friendly aircraft or ground forces. Occasionally further restrictions will be added, such as staying under a certain altitude.
Missions are classified into types, and provide a recommendation to the player what kind of plane would be most suitable, but players can choose any unlocked aircraft.
1: Border Patrol (Combat Air Patrol; Multirole)
Razor is tasked by Control to perform a simple patrol along the border, and a weapons test on several dummy vehicles. During the patrol a transmission from Northern Republic Air Force (NPAF) General Demichvia is received, who has been Chairman Borzai's "right-hand-man" wants to defect and has information on the North's plans and nuclear weapons program; Razor is retasked to protect the General until a ground team codenamed Sabre can retrieve him.
2: Underneath the Radar (Deep Strike; Multirole)
Based on Demichvia's intelligence and information the SA forces decide to capture an oil refinery in a neighbouring province; Demichvia instead argues that they should immediately destroy the nuclear weapons program. Razor performs a deep strike into enemy territory, flying under the radar ceiling, to destroy and disrupt nearby infrastructure. This is accomplished by bombing an electrical substation, fire station, solar power plant and nearby military airfield. During the return to safe airspace Razor protects a WDA bomber returning from its own run.
3: Sever the Artery (Territory Capture; Multirole)
WIth the successful preparation, the frontline moves to Al-Kazi province and the oil refinery. Razor is to support ground forces in NPRA territory, but its first task is to destroy the radar station. After, on the way to the next targets (an electrical substation and local army and helicopter bases, though despite the delay no helicopters will ever attack) Control informs Razor that Demichvia had been thrown out of a meeting with the South's President Akram for continuing to argue for attacking the nuclear stockpile. Razor eventually proceeds to the oil refinery itself, disabling key sections, and then provides air support for Stiletto Team on the ground as they capture it.
4: Weapons-Grade (Ground Attack; Multirole)
With the oil refinery and Al-Kazi province captured by the South, the North's access to oil and fuel is severely limited. Demichvia's advice is finally taken, and Razor heads to Zarev province and the weaponized uranium stockpile before it is scheduled to be split and moved around the country. After first destroying the fighter net, Razor attacks the convoy (codenamed Rockpile) and enemy reinforcements, but the convoy is quickly determined to be a decoy. Control directs Razor to a nearby airfield where several transport planes have just departed, and Razor successfully downs them. To avoid further cycles, Razor is then ordered to disable the source of the uranium, the province's nuclear reactor. Razor complains to Control about Demichvia's bad intelligence and general unpleasantness.
5: A Murder of Generals (Ground Attack; Multirole)
General Demichvia has provided the South with more intelligence to make up for his failures on the uranium convoy - a meeting of NPAF high command in the capital of Zarev province, which he was due to attend (as the former supreme commander of the NPAF). Demichvia personally directs Razor's attacks on the fighter net and local SAMs, with Razor then destroying the most likely meeting locations. Shortly after, a number of military vehicles attempt to flee the city, which Razor also destroys. With this loss, Zarev province surrenders to the South.
6: Retaliatory Action (Ground Defense; Fighter)
The South detects a number of bombers moving towards the oil refinery, and Razor is sent to defend it while Control tries to find their origin - with local airfields captured the planes wouldn't have enough range. Eventually an aircraft carrier is located offshore, and with the bombers defeated Razor heads to and then sinks the carrier and several defending warships, single-handedly.
7: Deep Recon (Recon; Multirole)
Demichvia has provided more intelligence on a number of sites, but the South want to confirm it, and to determine the feasibility of attacking and capturing Shala, a coastal city controlled by the North and a hub for their navy. Razor is sent to overly and retrieve data while remaining undetected by the North's radar net. The first site is a resort where Jedhi Borzai (Chairman Borzai's "insane" nephew) is believed to be; Control mentions that Jedhi is likely to take over the NPAF after Demichvia's defection. Razor then overflies several industrial areas, including a port, airfield, and solar and coal power plants. During this information is received from a Hazmat team investigating the uranium transport plane crash sites, who have failed to find any sign of radiation, suggesting it too was a decoy. Razor gathers more data on a steel mill and research labs, but is finally detected while reconning a nuclear power plant and follows a difficult path back to safe airspace to avoid being overwhelmed by enemy SAMs and aircraft.
8: Smoke on the Water (Air Support; Multirole)
Control confirms that Demichvia's intelligence was correct this time, and Shala is capturable. Razor launches a diversionary attack to disable early warning and defense systems - a radar station, helicopter base and airfield. A bomber group codenamed Switchblade begins a run and, thanks to protection from Razor, bomb Shala's seaport. Unfortunately, a group of freighters is detected that had already left the port, and with the bombers out of ammunition Razor is sent to destroy the warships protecting them and then sink the freighters themselves. With this action, Shala province is gained by the South.
9: Hit and Run (Deep Strike; Ground Attack)
Razor heads to an industrial province in Kolovan province, aiming to severely cripple the North's production abilities. Although heavily guarded, infiltration by a single plane is considered possible. Razor disables the nearby radar station, the main manufacturing factory, a conventional weapons factory, the control room for a nearby hydroelectric dam (the dam itself cannot be damaged), and then a nearby patrol that detected him. Razor then bombs a research center (Control mentions that it cost $300 million, and jokingly offers Razor $15 to destroy it) and a munitions stockpile.
10: Home Defense (Combat Air Patrol; Multirole)
An NPAF naval strike force is detected on the southern coast of Talid (the Southern capital), consisting of multiple aircraft carriers and warships. Razor is tasked to intercept the bombers that have launched from it, heading for multiple locations - the South's main airport, the Presidential palace, a television station, and the offshore oil rigs. In the midst of this, Razor also provides support to a landing refueling plane at risk of being shot down over the city. Once the bombers arae no longer a threat, Razor proceeds to the carriers and sinks them.
11: Break in Transmission (Deep Strike; Multirole)
Chairman Borzai plans to give a broadcast on the Northern radio station from a secret location - that Demichvia knows. Razor is sent to destroy the communications towers, and hears some of Borzai's speech before it is completed (the only time Chairman Borzai is heard in the game). With the comms towers down, Razor attacks the broadcast center itself. Borzai and several others attempt to flee, but are also destroyed. Borzai is confirmed to have been killed.
12: Heavy Water (Ground Support; Multirole)
The Northern People's Party is in disarray, and the South plans to take advantage by capturing the North's nearest nuclear power plant in Sarutov province. A special forces team codenamed Scalpel are sent in, with Razor as protection. The team are forced to withdraw having only disabled the communications relay, and Razor is ordered to finish the job. Razor bombs the cooling tower, triggering an automatic shutdown, and then the pumping station and control room so it cannot be restarted. As razor completes the task, Control informs him that Jedhi Borzai has become the new Chairman.
13: Chemical Hit (Ground Attack; Multirole)
Jedhi, described by Control as unpredictable, addicted to drugs, and generally crazy, warns that continued attacks and involvement by the WDA will provoke nerve gas attacks against the Southern capital of Talvade. Demichvia suggests that the military would not let him do this, and Razor is sent to destroy the chemical weapons facility in Masavi province pre-emptively. Razor takes out the radar station, airbase, chemical weapons facility and fleeing trucks. Jedhi broadcasts on Control's frequency and threatens more punishment, and announces Sarutov air base and the town will be attacked by weapons Razor misssed. Razor is able to stop the plane heading towards the airbase but with no other planes able to intercept the town in time, it is bombed.
14: Hide and Seek (Recon; Air Superiority)
Demichvia was wrong, and the military united behind Jedhi and carried out the bombings. The South's primary objective is to remove Jedhi from power immediately, and Razor is sent deep into the remaining North territory to locate him - and to prevent detection, is forced to stay beneath radar and not attack any SAMs or other ground forces. Razor overflies a hospital where Jedhi was treated for addictions, a mountain cabin (which Control describes as being used for "secret meetings... of the heart"), a training camp for the Chairman's bodyguards, the headquarters for the secret police that Jedhi previously ran, a freight center owned by the Borzai family, and a small township where Jedhi's uncle grew up. With no sign of Jedhi, Razor suggests that he might not be hiding at all, and is sent to the Chairman's summer palace where he confirms Jedhi's presence.
15: Summer Retreat (Ground Attack; Multirole)
After locating Jedhi, ground forces are sent in to capture him so he can be put on trial and held accountable for his many crimes. Razor is sent in as support, and destroys the radar station, air bases, electrical substations and palace defenses, before protecting the recovery team (codenamed Scythe) and accompanied in the air by Sabre Team. Scythe take some time but are eventually successful in capturing and evacuating Jedhi, but not before Control locates an early warning plane launched by the North to provide radar coverage which Razor dispatches. As Razor returns he is informed that Demichvia has returned to the North and claimed the Chairmanship and, with the South's forces directed away from the North towards Jedhi, is preparing for a counterattack. Razor then encounters the NPAF's elite guard squadron, led by a pilot called Ali Aziz, who speaks with Razor as they fight but is utlimately defeated.
16: The Reckoning (Deep Strike; Multirole)
General Demichvia has used the South to remove his enemies and then defected back to the North to take control. He has used his knowledge of the South's plans to ambush them and is poised to regroup in the North's stronghold, Temovin province. In what is hoped will bring an end to the civil war, Razor is sent into remove Demichvia from power in the hope Temovin will surrender. Razor destroys several bases before protecting Stiletto Team who move in on Demichvia's headquarters, but he is not present. After destroying the local airfield to prevent his escape, Demichvia appears and reveals that he was already on a nearby aircraft carrier, and his plane is carrying a nuclear warhead which he personally plans to use. Demichvia also reveals his plan - the South was meant to attack the uranium convoy instead of the oil refinery before the war began, which he would have revealed as an innocent decoy, causing international condemnation, loss of support from the WDA, and an easy victory. When that plan failed he realised the potential of using the South to gain power, and thanks Razor as his personal assassin. Razor eventually catches up to him and disables the nuclear weapon, at which point Demichvia begins attacking him and is shortly killed. With his death the last of the North surrenders, and Azbaristan is reunited under President Akram.
A short video at the end of the final mission reveals that, while the populace is celebrating, talks between Akram and the WDA have broken down with Akram refusing to agree to various oil deals and the WDA threatening to withdraw their support from the region.
The game includes 17 flyable planes, each with two textures and different weapons; of those, all but one exist or were in development (the SR-77 Blackguard is fictional, with its name presumably based on the SR-71 "Blackbird" reconnaissance aircraft but bearing little other resemblance). Planes are informally classified by generation, and by type. Types have no direct impact but are a reflection on the plane's general strengths and weaknesses, as well as the weapons provided. A small number of planes (5th and some 4.5th generation) have access to thrust vectoring, which allows increased turning but must be specifically used.
- Ground Attack: Air-to-ground weapons preferred; planes have less stealth and speed but better armored
- Multirole: Capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground equally, with good abilities in all areas.
- Fighter: Air-to-air weapons preferred, but some ability to attack ground units
- Air Superiority: Only air-to-air weapons, and usually a limited range, but very high stealth, speed, and agility
Planes are unlocked by completing campaign missions. With the exception of one mission, Air Superiority planes are useful only in multiplayer (although due to their cannon could potentially be used for any mission, if very inefficiently).
|Weapon 1||Weapon 2||Weapon 3|
|F/A-18E Super Hornet||Multirole||4.5||8||5||3||4||4||3||Cobra||4||Wyvern||4||B-500||3|
|F/A-18E Super Hornet||Multirole||4.5||8||5||3||4||4||3||Shrike||4||Wyvern||4||B-500||3|
|F-111G Aardvark||Ground Attack||3||7||10||1||0||4||3||Cobra||2||Pinata||4||B-1000||2|
|MiG-21 Fishbed||Fighter||2||1||1||6||0||5||5||Cobra||4|| || || || |
|MiG-21 Fishbed||Fighter||2||1||1||6||0||5||5||Shrike||2||Wyvern||2|| || |
|A-10C Thunderbolt II||Ground Attack||3||10||5||2||0||1||5||Pinata||8||Cobra||4||Hellstorm||4|
|A-10C Thunderbolt II||Ground Attack||3||10||5||2||0||1||5||Manticore||6||Cobra||4||Wyrm||6|
|MiG-29 Fulcrum||Multirole||4||3||3||4||1||7||4||Cobra||4||Wyvern||2|| || |
|MiG-29 Fulcrum||Fighter||4||3||3||4||1||7||4||Shrike||4||Wyvern||2|| || |
|F-4 Phantom II||Multirole||3||6||4||6||0||5||4||Cobra||4||Dragon||2||B-1000||3|
|F-4 Phantom II||Fighter||3||6||4||6||0||5||4||Cobra||6||Eagle||3|| || |
|F-16I Fighting Falcon||Multirole||4.5||8||2||4||1||7||5||Cobra||4||Manticore||10||Shrike||2|
|F-16I Fighting Falcon||Multirole||4.5||8||2||4||1||7||5||Shrike||4||Manticore||10||Wyrm||2|
|F-35C Lightning II||Multirole||5||6||5||3||6||4||3||Hawk||4||Eagle||2||Dragon||4|
|F-35C Lightning II||Air Superiority||5||1||5||3||8||5||3||Kite||4|| || || || |
|P-10 Tiger Claw||Multirole||4||7||4||7||0||6||4||Cobra||4||Swarm||6||Wyrm||1|
|P-10 Tiger Claw||Multirole||4||7||4||8||0||6||4||Cobra||6||Swarm||4||Eagle||1|
|Su-30 MKI Flanker-H||Multirole||4.5||8||7||7||1||7||3||Dragon||2||Wyrm||4||Shrike||6|
|Su-30 MKI Flanker-H||Fighter||4.5||8||7||7||1||7||3||Swarm||6||Hawk||4||Dragon||2|
|Su-35BM Super Flanker||Multirole||4.5||8||7||7||2||8||3||Shrike||4||Eagle||4||Basilisk||4|
|Su-35BM Super Flanker||Air Superiority||4.5||8||7||7||2||8||3||Swarm||8||Eagle||4|| || |
|Eurofighter Typhoon||Air Superiority||4.5||9||3||10||4||9||4||Hawk||4||Eagle||3||Swarm||6|
|F-22A Raptor||Air Superiority||5||5||9||7||10||7||3||Swarm||4||Kite||4|| || |
|PAK-FA||Air Superiority||5||6||8||9||9||10||3||Swarm||4||Kite||6|| || |
Weapons typically consist of air-to-ground missiles, air-to-air missiles, and unguided bombs. Most weapons have some speciality or unique feature, such as the Eagle and Wyrm which can attack targets from beyond enemy radar range, or the Swarm which launches multiples at once. The Cobra is the only guided missile that can attack both air and ground targets. (Air-to-ground weapons, guided or not, can potentially damage aircraft, but this would only realistically occur if they are caught before taking off.)
|Name||Code||Target||Guided||Game Description||Lock distance (km)|
|Cobra||AAGM||Both||Yes||This small multipurpose homing missile can target air or ground enemies.||8.5|
|Wyvern||AGM130||Ground||Yes||This basic air-to-ground missile is useful against static or mobile targets.||8.5|
|B-500||B500||Ground||No||Unguided 500lb iron bomb that does a reasonable amount of damage.||-|
|Shrike||AAM10||Air||Yes||This improved air-to-air homing missile is capable of high-G turns.||10|
|Pinata||UCB20||Ground||No||An unguided cluster bomb with a reasonably wide area of effect||-|
|B-1000||B1000||Ground||No||Unguided 1000lb iron bomb that does a large amount of damage across a wide area.||-|
|Hellstorm||NPM500||Ground||No||A wide area effect weapon that can take out entire platoons in a wall of flames.||-|
|Manticore||AGR||Ground||No||These unguided 70mm rockets are designed to be fired in salvos.||-|
|Dragon||AGM160||Ground||Yes||This terrain hugging missile has a powerful warhead with a small, focused explosion.||10|
|Eagle||AAM-LR||Air||Yes||This long-range missile hits beyond visual range targets, but can't track close enemies.||20|
|Wyrm||AGM-LR||Ground||Yes||This standoff missile has long range and high damage.||20|
|Hawk||AAPPM||Air||Yes||This pursuit missile's advanced navigation system will track enemies until it runs out of fuel.||8.5|
|Kite||AAPACM||Air||Yes||This pursuit missile has advanced electronics to defeat countermeasures.||8.5|
|Swarm||AAM10X||Air||Yes||This variant of the AAM10 can target multiple enemies.||11|
|Basilisk||AGM-BR||Ground||Yes||The electromagnetic warhead on this missile is devastating against vehicles.|| |