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Often referred to as the Dueling Game and Konami's response to the Ace Combat series, it enjoyed success on the Sega Dreamcast, but less so on the PlayStation 2 due to competion with the aforementioned. For the most part, it was considered inferior to the Ace Combat games due to inferior handling performance of many of its early game aircraft, a vastly different default control scheme(correctable with the fully customizable control settings), and hammy voice acting.
Oddly, the flight physics were a bit more accurate than the Ace Combat series. Every plane has specific air-speed windows in which they are most agile; the majority are most agile in the 400-700 KIAS window. Loss of agility occurs both when going too slow (not enough airflow for the control surfaces to bite) or too fast (excess inertia and the plane's own systems limiting airframe g-loads). In addition, planes suffer substantial speed loss while dog-fighting and players have to worry more about keeping their speeds up to remain agile, whereas Ace Combat players must regularly apply airbrakes to prevent overshoot or being shaken off.
Aside from that, the series is notable among flight sim shooters for its wide variety of unique missions, settings, objectives and customizable aircraft. Actual customizing options are limited to weapons and paint jobs but are not locked. It makes heavy use of anime artwork, character designs and anime influenced enemies, plot devices, bosses and cutscenes. There are multiple playable characters with unique personalities, missions and aircraft. Aside from that, a player can fail individual missions, crash or get shot down and keep playing. The player must pay to repair aircraft lost in crashes/shoot downs. Most players just save after each mission success.
There are three games in the series: Airforce Delta on Dreamcast, Air Force Delta Storm on Xbox, and Air Force Delta Strike on PlayStation 2. All three games feature the same basic gameplay but different plots.
Airforce Delta (1999)
The Federated Republic of Zabayral, which did not maintain an army, was broken up by ethnic tensions caused by the wake of the Cold War. Nine years after the accident, a revolutionary army called "The People's Federation" has formed and managed to reunite most of the former republic through force. The last independant nation left standing, the Republic of Laconia, has hired the foreign Air Force Delta mercenary organization to defend itself.
One of the launch game of the Dreamcast, Airforce Delta is mostly notable for being an incredibly blatant ripoff of Ace Combat 2, featuring identical HUD graphics and gameplay structure, aswell as very similar missions and flight model. However, it's still a fairly fun game on its own, if very unoriginal.
Airforce Delta Storm (2001)
The world is experiencing a population boom after a series of medical advances that made many previously very-lethal diseases easily curable. One of the problems that came along, however, is that basic necessities such as food are spreading increasingly thin in many highly-industrialized nations, who found themselves able to neither import nor produce enough food for their own citizens. These countries banded together to form the "United Forces" and commenced conquest of agricultural lands in the name of "equal redistribution of resources for everyone". Those under the threat of United Forces invasion pooled together their resources under the banner unimaginatively named "Allied Forces" and proceed to augment their strength through recruitment of foreign mercenaries. The player is part of one such unit, the Delta team.
Released for the Xbox in 2001.
Airforce Delta Strike (2004)
"WHERE'S YER DRIVE, GAWD-DAMMIT?!"
Air Force Delta Strike was the last entry in the series and contained no less than 70 total missions--though many are skippable Stand By Missions--on any one story line and some characters' stories had 90+. It also features a level system reminiscent of Armored Core, with the ability to select from multiple available missions. This allows players to choose the missions within each "phase" in the order they want. Each phase has specific missions that must be won before the last turn of the chapter or it's Game Over. Late in the game, players may also customize certain aircraft with a space operations-adaptor. Essentially, it's an array of thrusters which when applied, gives all aircraft the same (unremarkable) flight characteristics and weapons load-out. This adaptor is standard for all space missions until the player has the plane, itself refitted for space flight. It also featured a mission map, where the player sometimes had to use up chapter turns to move from one location to another.
The story goes as follows: In the somewhat distant future, Earth and the space colonies--banded together under the banner of "Orbital Citizens Community"--are embroiled in a major war and the titular Delta squadron, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, is right in the middle of it on Earth's side. The OCC have a substantial technology advantage, but the EDAF have (supposedly) greater numbers and are fighting on home turf. The game opens with the OCC occupying roughly 80% of the land.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
- Airstrike Impossible: Strike has this in spades!
- Bigger Stick: Getting progressively better planes.
- Bloodless Carnage: Justified. Slinging missiles & bombs at fighters & other non-biological targets won't produce much blood.
- Chasing Your Tail: Duh!
- Console Wars: The series started on Sega Dreamcast, then went to Xbox for Storm and finished on PlayStation 2 with Strike.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Radar signatures.
- Cool Plane: Nearly every single fictional aircraft, and some of the real ones in Strike.
- Dogfighting Furballs: As per its Duel with Ace Combat, the series is built around these, including some in space.
- Dueling Games: The losing end the duel with the Ace Combat series.
- Easy Logistics: You can never run out of fuel.
- Enemy Chatter: Over the top and plentiful.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: Par for arcade-styled flight sims.
- High-Speed Missile Dodge: Pretty standard for the genre.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Pretty standard for the genre.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Par for arcade-styled flight sims.
- Market-Based Title: The series is known as Deadly Skies in Europe.
- Missile Lock On: Par for the genre.
- Mission Briefing: Every mission starts with a summary of objectives and instructions.
- New Game+: Subsequent playthrough will let you keep all the planes you bought previously.
- Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: With few exceptions, the later a plane is available, the statistically superior it is. On the other hand, missiles and other special weapons don't get better on later planes.
- Colony Drop: One mission has you blowing up a Zabayral satellite about to crash on a city you just liberated.
- False-Flag Operation: The People's Army attempt to incriminate Laconia by painting their aircrafts and targetting an UN conference with missiles.
- Kaizo Trap: Deliberatly averted, in opposition to Ace Combat. Crashing during the victory fanfare will make the game skip directly to the victory screen.
- Absurdly Spacious Subway: The subway tunnels where you pull off one of several Airstrike Impossible missions
- Ace Pilot: The entire cast of playable characters by the end of each game
- A Father to His Men: Holst is this to Brian in Strike; Sergei is this on the OCC side, fighting to keep conquered/disenfranchised former EDAF nations in the Navigator's good grace and willing to take responsibilities for failures to protect his subordinates, even those of Smug Snake varieties.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The first mission of Air Force Delta Strike has the player launching from one
- The Alliance: The EDAF, Earth Defense Alliance Forces
- Almighty Mechanic: Grandpa Bob
- Arrow Cam: Holding down the missile button will cause this to happen.
- Awesome but Impractical: The OCC fields a wide array gigantic, powerful and very cool contraptions whose actual usefulness is basically limited to increasing the difficulty of whatever mission features them, and little else.
- Some of the unlockable special fighters like the Twin Bee are this.
- Awesome Yet Practical: Some of the unlockable special fighters like the Vic Viper are this.
- Back From the Brink: The first mission of Strike is either a homage or shameless ripoff of Ace Combat 04's opening mission.
- Badass Crew: The entire cast of playable characters in Strike.
- BFG: The Leupold Battery of railguns from one of the mid-game missions in Strike is so big, you have to fly down the barrel to destroy it from inside, and it is active and shooting. There are three of them in that mission.
- Bag of Sharing: Averted, every character has individual money accounts and aircraft selections, no sharing of aircraft.
- Played straight with the bonus planes, which are up for anyone's use
- Bragging Rights Reward: The unlockable special planes after beating the game.
- Crapsack World: Under constant, unrelenting assault by a wide variety of cool and powerful weapons...that all belong to the enemy.
- Crew of One: In Strike, whenever the player flies an aircraft that in the real world would require a crew of 2 or more, the empty seats are filled in the aircraft's third-person models and the plane is able to execute all functions flawlessly.
- Critical Existence Failure: Though your planes will show some damage as they get hit, they lose nothing in performance or capability until the last hitpoint is removed.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: For anyone who has played the Ace Combat games, first.
- Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Operation Racoon Hunt
- Downer Ending: Jamie's ending in Strike, see Heroic Sacrifice.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Lilia and your enemies treat the cadre of pilots with the same condescension right to the very end.
- Escort Mission: Several, including one where you have to escort a train through a canyon.
- Evil is easy to smack around: Prop-driven fighters in can still hold their own against crack enemy aces flying Mach 2 super-fighters.
- Fake Longevity: Averted by making the Stand-By missions skippable if the player wants.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: While Easy Logistics is played straight, the assault on a major enemy fuel refinery and pipeline is treated as strategic victory due to its supposed impact on enemy supply lines.
- Glass Cannon: Jamie's fighters all have low hitpoints and slow speed, but are loaded with guns, rockets and unguided bombs, perfect for racking up insanely high scores.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The mission where Ruth tries to save a stranded hospital ship. This mission also serves as a major Kick the Dog moment for the OCC.
- Heel Face Turn: If you complete certain tasks (unknown to the player) through the mid-game, you can get Ellen to change sides and join Delta Squadron during the space portion.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jamie in the finale of his story line. Just after deciding that he will take to the sky in a jet if that's what it takes to stay in action, he crashes his F-86 into an enemy mook that was preventing the launch of a shuttle used to ferry the other characters into space, killing himself in the process but allowing the rest of the Delta force to join the impending showdown against the OCC.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Most of the Enemy Chatter in the missions.
- High Altitude Battle: Duh! However, one pair of back-to-back missions involved fighting at particularly high altitudes to a.) destroy the enemy space elevator that moved reinforcements from space to earth and; b.)destroy the falling fragments of said elevator to prevent major damage to the city below.
- 100% Completion: Trying to see all the endings, unlock all the bonus planes and buy every plane, upgrade and weapon.
- Humongous Mecha: Several enemy examples throughout Strike
- Infinity+1 Sword: Some of the unlockable bonus planes.
- Instant Expert: All of the characters can switch between planes with ease.
- Averted with Jamie, who begins jet training (offscreen) at an unspecified point in the late game and completes it for his last mission.
- Instant Win Condition: The canyon mission with the steam-rollers. You can have one hitpoint left and four missiles locked onto you but if you make it through the gate, you've won.
- Inverted when you have to take out the tire fleet. They can have one tire left, heavily damaged with all weapons disabled and your missiles streaking in for the killing blow, but if it crosses the imaginary line on the battlefield first, you still fail the mission.
- Kaizo Trap: Several missions where completing the objective doesn't end the mission, you have to run out the timer afterwards.
- Kick the Dog: The OCC has their moment when they relentlessly attack a stranded , unarmed hospital ship.
- Large Ham: In Strike, it is so extreme that even the stillshot character interactions between missions convey this.
- Leads to major Narm when you see Grandpa Bob's angry face--which looks like he is suffering major constipation.
- Last Stand: The space-based part of Strike has this along with aliens secretly behind the whole war.
- Leeroy Jenkins: John in the first mission; he disobeys direct orders and breaks off from destroying the bombers to go after more fighters.
- Lightning Bruiser: Pick any late game aircraft except Jamie's.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Planes can launch up to four regular missiles at an instance, plus special weapons.
- AI enemies will often launch this many at once; it is not surprising to suffer four missile hits near simultaneously.
- Made of Iron: Some planes have up to 4000+ hitpoints.
- Military Mashup Machine: Strike is loaded to the gills with examples from the OCC. Of particular note are the fleet of rolling tires big enough to fly through the center. In game, they're called "Land Battleships."
- Mission Control: You receive constant information/updates from Amelia with no real explanation as to where she is during missions.
- Money Grinding: Playing the stand by missions to get more money IOT afford more expensive aircraft.
- No Endor Holocaust: Averted when you have to stop the (slowly) falling chunks of space elevator from devastating the city at its base.
- Played straight when you destroy the giant airships in "The Robbers"
- Overranked Soldier: Lilia, the 14 year-old Major; handwaved with a few throw-away lines early in the game.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The plot always leads to missions specific to each individual character's skills, no matter contrived it feels.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Delta Squadron is this
- Rare Vehicles: Many proposed, prototype and proof-of-concept aircraft and several examples of Chinese variants of Russian aircraft.
- Rule of Cool: What else could explain canyons full of giant steam-rollers or fleets of tire-shaped land-battleships?
- Schizo-Tech: WWII fighters, tornado generators, modern fighter jets and space-battleships in the same game.
- Shout-Out: It is hard to tell if some of the missions are this or shameless ripoffs of Ace Combat missions.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Most of the male characters have have physiques more in line with professional body-builders or fitness instructors than pilots. It could be Mr. Fanservice turned Up to Eleven if not for being able to legitimately ask if any women have ever played the game.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The enemy tries this with the Leupold Battery of huge railguns- a Paris Gun on steroids which can also fire flak rounds that can one-shot a bomber formation.
- True Final Boss: NAVIGATOR in in the final mission for 3rd Element in Strike.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Coldly subverted when, playing as Ruth, you try to save a hospital ship in a no-win mission.
- Violation of Common Sense: Strike loves to force you to fly jets through underground bunkers, down the barrel of giant cannons, into the middle of artificial tornadoes, through twisting canyons, repeatedly.
- Weapon of Choice: Jamie's prop planes.
- We Do the Impossible: Delta Squadron.
- World of Ham: Part of the fun of Strike is that through the entire game, the ham will give Professional Wrestling a run for its money!
"PUT SOME GAWD-DAMN HEART IN IT!!"