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European Air War is a combat flight simulation released by MicroProse in 1998. European Air War is the sequel to 1942: The Pacific Air War by Microprose. The stock standard version simulates the Battle of Britain, and the Allied Air offensives in Western Europe during the Second World War in 1943-45. The game remains popular among flight sim enthusiasts and has spawned hundreds of fan modifications.
European Air War consists several modes; a Quick Start option, which allows immediate undefined play; a Single Mission option, which allows selection of aircraft and mission type, and a campaign mode called Pilot Career.
The Pilot Career mode, allows the user to take the role of a pilot in the RAF, Luftwaffe or USAAF and play in any of three time eras, the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Allied Air offensives in 1943, and the Air offensives before and after D-Day until the end of the war in 1944-45.
During a Pilot Career player actions will directly affect the progress of the war, including delaying or bringing forward the invasion of Europe. Players may also rise up the ranks, starting as a non-commissioned officer to full officer commanding a fighter squadron (or staffel) and assuming responsibility for the men and machines under your command. As a squadron commander a player can select the rosters and weapons loadouts for use in missions, selecting between disposable fuel tanks, rockets, or bombs to assist in completing assigned missions.
The AI in European Air War is highly flexible, with several difficulty settings that can be altered by the user to ensure the game remains challenging for a long period of time. AI pilots within your squadron can be controlled by the user in Quick Start and Single Mission options, and gradually become available as you get promotions within your squadron in a Pilot Career.
The "stock" out-of-the-box standard game has 20 flyable and 10 non-flyable planes. This number has been vastly increased.
Stock aircraft that can be flown include, for the British, the Hawker Hurricane I, the IA, IXc and XIVE models of the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Typhoon, and Hawker Tempest. The non-flyable aircraft for the British is the De Havilland Mosquito.
Flyable aircraft for the Americans include the P-38H and P-38J models of the P-38 Lightning, the P-47C and P-47D models of the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51B and P-51D models of the P-51 Mustang. Non-flyable aircraft for the Americans include the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, and the B-26 Marauder.
Flyable Aircraft for the Germans include the Bf109E, Bf109G-6 and Bf109K-4 models of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Bf110C and Bf110G models of the Messerschmitt Bf 110, the Fw190A-8 and Fw190D-9 models of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and the Messerschmitt 262. Non-flyable aircraft for the Germans include the Heinkel He 111, the Ju-88A and Ju-88C models of the Junkers Ju 88, the Junkers Ju 87B, the V-1 Flying Bomb, and the Messerschmitt 410.
Each aircraft has different characteristics and abilities, often requiring different tactics to defeat. Knowledge of both the abilities of your aircraft and your enemies' abilities are essential to success in an engagement.