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Strike Fighters 2 is a PC game (Combat / Flight Simulator) that primarily centers on a fictitious conflict in the Middle East between the Kingdom of Dhimar and the Empire of Paran from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Although the countries and conflict may not be real, the aircraft and weapons used are completely accurate. The conflict is modeled as a typical Cold War era 'proxy' war between the USA and USSR where Dhimar gets help from the US and Paran uses imported Soviet equipment and expertise.
Third Wire Productions developed the game based on the original Strike Fighters: Project 1 but had to be vastly rewritten to work with the Vista platform. In doing so the latest graphical, Artificial Intelligence, and features were written into the simulation.
In Apr 2009, Strike Fighters 2 Vietnam module was released. Although it can be installed stand-alone, it can also be merged to make all the stock aircraft available in both games.
In Jun 2009, second module, Strike Fighters 2 Europe, is released. It can be installed stand-alone, or it can be merged to make all the stock aircraft available in all games.
The storyline of Strike Fighters is set during a fictional conflict between the Kingdom of Dhimar and the Empire of Paran. The story begins in 1919, when geologists discover oil in the Valley of Kerman, a place at the Dhimari-Parani border. When drilling operations begin in the oil fields, Shah Mushani of Paran sends his troops across the border, beginning a long conflict between the nations.
In September 1933, Shah Mushani decides to put a halt to the conflict, following numerous attempts to capture the Mazadran oil fields. While Dhimar becomes a wealthy and economically powerful country, Paran has become poor. In February 1957, Halani Khomar, a Soviet-backed revolutionary leader, stages a bloody coup against the Mushani regime. Once in power, Khomar begins building up the Parani military forces, buying the newest fighter aircraft and tanks from the Soviet Union.
King Husani Karmar al'Galbhi of Dhimar, fearing a new war, decides to approach the US for military assistance. Tensions between the two countries culminate in two years of terrorist attacks in Dhimari border cities. In June 1959, the Dhimari ports become subject to a Parani naval blockade, stopping all shipping from and to Dhimar. Prince Fa'ad al'Galbhi, commander of the Dhimari Air Force, starts an emergency buildup of air power by creating several Special Operations Wings, manned by foreign mercenary pilots willing to fight. In July, the US dispatches US Naval and Air Force squadrons to assist their ally.
In September 1959, a mass Parani offensive is launched towards the Valley of Kerman and the Mazadran oil fields. War has returned to the desert...
The game has been designed so it is as easy as possible to get into giving it the tag 'Lite Simulation'. This is opposed to other hardcore 'study simulations' such as Falcon 4.0 where the learning curve is much steeper. After flying one Jet you should be able to hop into any of the other Jets and fly them with relative ease. In reality the Lite category tag places the game halfway between Arcade and Hardcore.
Set over a fictitious desert scenario the game has a useful 'Single Mission' option that allows the user to choose their mission, aircraft type, weapons and look at a map of where they are flying to. A set of names are generated to be included on the squadron rotor and they are allocated varying skill levels, which is useful to know when they are flying as your wingmen. The Single Mission mode is a good chance to practise for the Campaign mode because it gives all the mission types that the user will face in any campaign.
Flying over the desert can be long and lonely, and just like the Iran-Iraq war of the 80s there are never that many enemy planes up in the air. A time acceleration feature is built into the game as well as a feature to let you warp to the target, although this later feature can place the player in the middle of trouble.
Bombing targets is difficult and the user has to practise dive and low level bombing to complete missions. The default jets are purely 60s technology and have no useful bombing aids.
The planes have simplified radars that are easy to operate, and try to simulate radars of that era; they have a delayed scan, do not always find and lock targets and are subject to ground clutter.
Dogfighting is almost always necessary thanks to the simulated unreliability of the early AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, and AIM-4 Falcon – which adds an element of realism. The user will then find themselves in no position to out-turn the enemy MiGs due to the manoeuvrability of the featured US jets, so new tactics must be learnt.
Like Strike Fighters: Project 1, the game has been designed so that it can be changed by anyone with a passion to do so. This has spawned a large online community who not only play the game but go out of their way to improve the game as much as they can. Most modders works can be downloaded and used for free by any game player.
Mods include new vehicle models, flight physics and AI behaviour, campaigns, missions, sound and graphics media.
Due to the major changes in game structure many of the mods for previous game iterations also need to be changed or reworked to work in Strike Fighters 2.
The standard game comes with the following flyable US/Dhimari aircraft:
- A-4 Skyhawk- A-4B, A-4C, A-4E versions in various Avionics "blocks" by year.
- F-100 Super Sabre - F-100D version.
- F-4 Phantom II- F-4B, F-4J versions for the Navy/Marines and the F-4C, F-4D and F-4E versions for the Air Force in various avionics "blocks" by year.
The following non-flyable US/Dhimari aircraft:
- B-57 Canberra - B-57B Version.
- C-130 Hercules – C-130E Version.
- O-1 Bird Dog - O-1E version.
- Hawker Hunter - F.4, F.5, F.6 and FGA.9 versions
The computer-controlled Parani aircraft:
- An-12 Cub – AN-12BP version.
- Il-28 Beagle - IL-28 Beagle.
- Dassault Mirage 5 - Mirage 5D version.
- MiG-17 Fresco- MiG-17(Fresco A) and MiG-17F(Fresco C) versions.
- MiG-19 Farmer- MiG-19S (Farmer C) version.
- MiG-21 Fishbed - MiG-21F (Fishbed C), MF (Fishbed J), PF (Fishbed D), PFM (Fishbed F) variants
- MiG-23 - MiG-23MF (Flogger B),MS (Flogger E), and BN (Flogger H) variants.
- Su-7 Fitter – SU-7BM (Fitter A) and BMK (Fitter E) versions.
- Tupolev Tu-16 - TU-16A Badger A version.
- Tu-22 Blinder - TU-22B (Blinder A) version.
Related Games that were developed from the Strike Fighters engine
- Strike Fighters: Project 1 (2002): The initial release centers on a fictional Middle Eastern scenario and a single Campaign.
- First Flight: The Wright Experience Flight Simulator (2003): A simulation of the Wright Brothers aircraft, including the 1903 Wright Flyer. Developed as a training tool for Wright Experience Centennial test pilots but is now available for the public.
- Strike Fighters: Gold (2004): An updated version of Strike Fighters: Project 1 released to the European market.
- Wings Over Vietnam (2004): Set during the Vietnam War and released to the Strike Fighters Service Pack 3 standard which added further improvements including Aircraft Carrier operations.
- USAF: Air Dominance (2005): Game produced by the US Air Force for recruitment purposes (Not for public sale).
- Wings Over Europe (2006): Set in a possible Cold War conflict between NATO and the USSR and released to Strike Fighters Service Pack 4 standards
- First Eagles: The Great War 1918 (2006): Set in the World War I era and released to Service Pack 4 standards.
- First Eagles: Expansion Pack 1 (2007): Adds new planes and campaigns to First Eagles.
- Wings Over Israel (2008): (Also released as "Combat Over Israel") Covers the three historical Israel versus Arab conflicts 1967, 1973, and 1982.
- First Eagles: Gold (2008): Includes the Original 'First Eagles' and Expansion Pack together.
- Strike Fighters 2 (2008): A standalone update based on the original Strike Fighters: Project1 to run on Windows Vista.
- Strike Fighters 2:Vietnam (2009): A standalone update based on the original Wings Over Vietnam to run on Windows Vista.
- Strike Fighters 2:Europe (2009): A standalone update based on the original Wings Over Europe to run on Windows Vista.
- Strike Fighters 2:Israel (2010): A standalone update based on the original Wings Over Israel to run on Windows Vista.
The developer of the series
This series of games is designed by Tsuyoshi Kawahito (known as 'TK'), who was also involved in some of the 1990s best selling PC flight simulators, including European Air War (1998) by MicroProse and Longbow 2 (1997) by Jane's Combat Simulations.