Air Combat is a semi-realistic flight-sim/action game and was one of the earliest polygonal 3D flight games. It was developed by Namco, and was released in 1992 for the arcades and in 1995 for the Sony PlayStation console. The arcade original was developed by Namco, while the PlayStation version was ported by Arsys Software.
While the arcade original was called Air Combat worldwide, the Japanese PlayStation version was renamed Ace Combat, while overseas releases kept the name Air Combat. Subsequent sequels in the franchise would be called Ace Combat worldwide rather than Air Combat.
Air Combat is considered an arcade-style flight game since it has fast-paced distorted physics and planes can carry up to 65 missiles. You embark on various missions to destroy bases and enemy aircraft, depending on how well you do on each mission you earn money afterwords. Money can be used to buy better and more advanced aircraft throughout the game and better weapon load outs.
The game had a variety of missions, all focusing on destroying certain airborne or ground targets to advance the game. When a mission was complete the player was graded on their performance and given a grade from A to F (A being the best, F being total failure of the primary objective). The grades were calculated on time, Secondary and Primary Objectives completed and Damage Sustained, the level of the grade would affect the bounty the player would receive after the completion of a mission.
The players can choose any aircraft in Air Combat ranging from F-4 Phantoms to F-22 Stealth Fighter. Also, the player can select a wingman to accompany them during any mission. The players can "instruct" the wingman to perform one of these three actions:
- Cover Me
- Commence (Mission Objective)
- On Your Own (Fire At Will)
As far as multiplayer, a two player split-screen "vs. mode" was offered in which 2 players could go head to head with each other in an all out dog fight.