The best PC fighter plane games

Written by kevin walker
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The best PC fighter plane games
The F-16 fighter jet. (f16 image by Mariusz Blach from

Flight simulators about fighter jets have been a staple of PC gaming since the early days, and there has been no shortage of great games in that genre. But be warned, some of the best fighter plane games of recent years are also some of the most realistic and difficult, according to the reviewers at

Total Air War

Total Air War, released back in 1998, places the player in command of an entire air war in one of 10 different dynamic campaigns. There are two planes simulated for the player, the E-3 airborne radar and the F-22. Players can choose between flying assigned missions in the F-22 or managing the entire air war from the strategic interface of the E-3, directing other aircraft to where most needed and jumping into their cockpits instantly to handle the dogfights and bombing runs if they so choose. Gamespot gave the game a 9.1 out of 10 and declared it an Editor's Choice. The rating is "E" for everyone by the Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Falcon 4.0 Allied Force

Falcon 4.0 Allied Force is a 2005 second release of 1998's Falcon 4.0, praised and derided as both the best and worst flight simulator ever made. Allied Force fixes the bugs, expands the manual to a massive 700 pages, and provides a graphical overhaul. The game's goal is lofty: to be the most accurate simulation of the F-16 fighter jet this side of a security clearance. With this, the game implements everything about the plane. This ranges from its cockpit devices to its tendency for potentially fatal "deep stalls" should a pilot put the plane in a situation the on-board flight computer can't compute. Gamespot gives the game an 8.9, but warns that it can take hours of practice just to learn all the cockpit controls. It's rated T for Teen by the ESRB.

MiG Alley

MiG Alley, released in 1998, goes where few fighter simulations have gone before and places the player in the role of a fighter jock in the skies above Korea during the "forgotten war." The F-80, F84, F-86, F-51D are all available for play, as well as the Russian made MiG-15. There are five campaigns in the game, each running about six months, and players can take as much control over the strategy of the campaign as they like. Campaigns are dynamic, meaning that targets destroyed or neglected in previous missions will affect the conduct of the war in later missions. Players must find the right balance between missions that shut down North Korean air power and those that help the progress of the ground war. Gamespot gave the game a 9.2 and an Editor's Choice distinction. It was rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

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