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Mig Alley

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Mig Alley review

The F84 complete with drop tanks
The F84 is used mainly for ground target work as it's outclassed by the North's Soviet built Mig 15. Still a great plane to fly.
Mig Alley is virtually unique in simulating the intense air battles that took place during the Korean conflict of 1950-53. This was a particularly interesting time in the history of aerial conflict as it ushered in the jet fighter age.
The aircraft are excellently simulated in the game. Each has it's own distinctive characteristics that set it apart from the rest. The F86 Sabre for instance is a brilliantly responsive aircraft to fly, this simulated Sabre like it's real counterpart is fast and agile with a high rate of climb. The old P51 Mustang is also very nicely simulated and is a very different flying experience to the fast jets. The Mustang was arguably the finest fighter of the second world war that ended a mere 5 years earlier to the era this computer game is set in, but was outclassed by the jets in Korea so much that it was used for taking out ground targets under the protection of superior F86s.
You can also fly the Russian built (and flown - covertly) Mig 15 jet fighter. This highly effective aircraft is suberbly simulated. The real aircraft suffered a serious lack of control at very high speeds and this is nicely carried over to the simulated version. Chuck Yeager the American test pilot flew a captured example of the Mig 15 and nearly lost his life while diving at high speed, the aircraft was so reluctant to pull out.
At lower speeds below about 500 the Mig is easily a match for the F86 Sabre. In the sim you can just about out turn an F86 with the Mig and the other American aircraft are easy pickens.
The Mig 15 also packs a heavy punch with it's nose mounted cannon. Get a few rounds on target with this and all you have to do is dodge the fireball.
The cockpit of this aircraft is also brilliantly depicted. You have allround visibility just like in the real aircraft. It's no wonder that the pilots who flew the Mig have such great feelings towards the aircraft.
Mig 15 external view
The superb Mig 15 Russian built fighter is a match for anything in the simulation. Heavy armament on the Mig shreds any US aircraft that get close.
The famous F86 Sabre
The F86 Sabre was the best the US had in the Korean war. It was a highly succesful combat aircraft over the skies or Korea and a match for the formidable Mig 15.
The F86 Sabre as touched on previously is also excellently modelled. It's a much more forgiving aircraft at high speeds and generally handles superbly. Again you have allround visibility just like the real ones. The largest weakness with the Sabre is the aircraft's poor armament when compared to a Mig. You can fire at longer range with the nose mounted armament in the Sabre but each round does little damage. This means keeping the enemy in your sights for a lengthy amount of time which is very difficult against multiple enemy aircraft. All the American planes suffer a lack of effective air to air weaponry which was true of the real aircraft in the conflict.
Once again the virtual cockpit is excellent. Readable instruments and amazing reflections on the canopy give a real sense of being there.
That used to be a Mig.
Mig Alley contains an excellent campaign mode covering various major actions that occured during the conflict. You get some control over targets in this part of the game as well as flying missions. The campaign is dynamic. This means that the outcome of each mission effects the ongoing campaign.
There is also a quick mission mode. You can use this option to quickly set up a dogfight or ground target mission. This is the option I find myself using the most with Mig Alley. You can for instance give yourself an F80 and pit yourself against a couple of Yak piston fighters. You can set enemy type, number, altitude etc. Any number of combinations is possible.
F86 Sabre cockpit
Cockpit of the Sabre is very well reproduced.
Terrain graphics are well represented. Like most aircraft simulations on the PC things tend to look better when you are at height, but even at low altitude things look OK. Rolling hills, forest areas, rivers etc give a good sense of realism. Clouds could be better though. Compared to IL2 the cloud effects are poor.
The aircraft themselves are good to look at. Again not as brilliant as the more recent IL2 or Flight Sim 2002, but perfectly adequate. The sim models aircraft damage quite well. If you take a few hits and find the roll response has deteriorated take a look at your wing and you will probably see why.
Sound is done brilliantly in the game. The sound of the Sabre's jet as you climb out is awesome. Weapon sounds are also well done as is the sound of rounds impacting on your aircraft. The sound in Mig Alley really adds to the realism.
The computer controlled pilots really can give you a tough time on the highest settings. On Ace and Hero you will be up against it. When going against some Migs I will generally choose veteran skill for a good fight. While on the subject of the computer controlled aircraft it should be noted that there are a few problems with the A.I. . The biggest is the tendency for computer controlled aircraft to crash into the ground during dogfights and while performing ground attack. This is about the biggest weakness in the whole game.
P51 Mustang
The air conflict in Korea was not just about jet aircraft. The P51 Mustang received heavy use as a ground attack aircraft, but was outclassed in aerial combat by the new jet fighters.
Computer Games SCORECARD

Graphics 8/10
Sound 9/10
Gameplay 8/10
Originality 8/10

Computer Games score 8.5/10

One of the best aircraft sims ever made.
The sim also lets you fly the F80 and F84 American jets. These are fairly similar straight winged aircraft that are mostly used for ground attack work, armed with Rockets and Napalm bombs. One notable abscentee is the F4U Vought Corsair. This played a vital part in the Korean conflict straffing enemy postions. Including this aircraft would have made a great game even greater.

To sum up Mig Alley is amongst the top four flight simulators for the PC in my opinion. Superb handling, great aircraft, good graphics and awsome sound effects. Jet aircraft combat without fire and forget missiles.

Rowan who made this game followed it up with thier Battle of Britain Simulation which to my mind was inferior to this masterpiece. If you like aircraft then you should have this on your computer.