Strike Fighters 2 Flight Simulator for PC Review

Evolution of a Flight Simulator

Strike Fighters is a series of Flight Simulators, or Air Combat games developed by a guy called TK and his team. Head on over to Thirdwire and check out their latest offerings. He has worked on simulators for years for various companies, and now he works for himself with a small team of dedicated dudes.

What is a Flight Simulator? Simply put it's a computer game that simulates flying an air-plane. These particular sims are combat orientated, so flying is only one part of it, you need to be able to drop bombs, fire missiles and think in a combat pilots mindset.

It started way back when with Strike Fighters, set in a fictional country with 50's to 60's jet fighters. It's an interesting time, as things were still being learned back then about the limits of the jet engine and aerodynamics. After some success came additional theatres of war, Vietnam, Europe in a fictional cold war gone hot scenario, and Israel and its wars (by the way, not here to talk politics or anything, it's a game!)

As of 04/11/2011 I have revisited this article and added a lot more information and content, a new video and many more (and better!) pictures, I hope that you enjoy reading this updated Hub!

18/03/2012 Thirdwire have just launched their latest sim, based on the F-14 Tomcat. I have not had the time or the money to pick up a copy yet, but rest assured, as soon as I play it I will add my opinion and lots of screenshots here !!

05/04/2012 Yes Yes Yes!! I have bought the latest Combat Flight Sim from Thirdwire, Strike Fighters 2 North Atlantic, check out the bottom of the article for the verdict!

Remember, if you need a sweet HOTAS to fly with, check out my review HERE

To check out the BEST Combat Flight Simulators for PC click HERE

This product works with TrackIR 5 head motion sensing view controls, follow the link for a full review.

Harriers Kick Ass
Harriers Kick Ass
Cockpits are fully functional and Hi-Res
Cockpits are fully functional and Hi-Res
Business end of the A-10
Business end of the A-10
Nicely realised lighting for flares
Nicely realised lighting for flares
Bombs away
Bombs away

Looks great, what's it play like?

Skip forward a few years and TK and his team have updated the game from the ground up. All of the add ons plus one extra dealing with the Suez crisis have been brought up to date too, and they look amazing! By his own admission, these are on the lighter side of simulation, but that just makes them so much fun in my opinion.

As with many sims, you can tailor these to suit your experience level, but whichever way you choose to play, they are great. If you have all the expansions, they can be installed in the same directory, so you have access to all the campaigns and all the planes through one front end, which is a really handy feature.

As you can see from these hastily assembles screenies, the graphics are crisp and sharp. HDR lighting is nicely implemented, and the whole thing moves along smoothly at nice high frames per second.

A couple of things worth mentioning. There is no copy protection on these games, no online activation that annoys so many people, no DRM, no CD required. TK relies on his customers loyalty, and honesty, these are NOT available on your favourite torrent sites. Also, they are cheap as chips! Currently most titles are selling on his site at only $23.99 or less.

Also bear in mind that there is a MASSIVE modding community. What that means is that there are dozens of people working hard implementing new planes, scenarios, ground units, weapons and campaigns just for the love of the game! That's right, those you get for free. The community loves these games, and support it as much as the developers.

The only thing that may hold it back for some people is the total lack of mutiplayer, which is a shame, but come on, its cheap, great fun, looks awesome and is well supported, so go visit TK and buy the games already :)


Up we go on another mission
Up we go on another mission
Boom!
Boom!
Cluster bomb Boom
Cluster bomb Boom
After effects
After effects

Strike Fighters 2

This was the first chapter released. Included in this are several fictional "deserty" type conflicts set in fictional "deserty" type countries.

Whilst the stories set no records in originality, they do allow you to fly as the USA Marine core, Navy, or Air Force, and interestingly as a mercenary, where you have to account for how much weapons cost, so you can make a profit in order to afford new planes and better weapons!

The campaigns feature 60's era aircraft and weapons, making life both difficult and interesting as the technology is still not far removed from the close of World War 2.

The following planes are included in this package

Player Flyable Aircraft
• F-100D Super Sabre
• A-4B/C/E/F Skyhawk
• F-4B/C/D/E/J Phantom II

AI Aircraft
• MiG-17 "Fresco"
• MiG-19 "Farmer"
• MiG-21 "Fishbed"
• MiG-23 "Flogger"
• Su-7 "Fitter"
• Il-28 "Beagle"
• Tu-16 "Badger"
• Tu-22 "Blinder"
• An-12 "Cub"
• B-57B Canberra
• Hunter
• Mirage 5

A4 looks the biz!
A4 looks the biz!
Whoops, never said I could hit the broad side of a barn...
Whoops, never said I could hit the broad side of a barn...
Flaps and gear down for landing
Flaps and gear down for landing

Strike Fighters 2 Vietnam

Again, flying for the USA Air Force, Navy or Marines, this time the choice gets a little more up to date! Flying from 1964 to 1972, you can take off from airbases or aircraft carriers at Yankee Stations, and take part in 4 campaigns including Linebacker 1 & 2.

Air to air combat is brutal, with Phantoms and Mig 17, 19 and 21's mixing it up over Hanoi. Air to air missiles and still unreliable, adding an extra element to dogfighting, especially as some of the planes no longer carried cannons or machine guns! Remember, if they hit all the time they would be called "hittles", not "missiles."

We also start to see guided bombs make an appearance, still in their infancy, and still not 100% reliable.

Aircraft included here are :

Player Flyable Aircraft
• F-100D Super Sabre
• F-105D Thunderchief
• F-4B/C/D/E/J Phantom II
• F-8C/D/E/H/J Crusader
• A-4C/E/F Skyhawk
• A-7A/B/C/D/E Corsair II

AI Aircraft
• MiG-17 "Fresco"
• MiG-19 "Farmer"
• MiG-21 "Fishbed"
• A-1H/J Skyraider
• A-6An intruder
• B-52D Stratofortress
• B-57B Canberra

Lightning Cockpit
Lightning Cockpit
Nice to see a flyable Lightning!
Nice to see a flyable Lightning!
Old Skool Hunter action
Old Skool Hunter action

Strike Fighters 2 Europe

Onto part 3, and it's the cold war gone hot, from the 1950s to the 1980s. As you can imaging, this one involves a lot of fighting around East / West Germany, with massed battalions of Russian tanks and vast air armadas pouring over the border, with a technologically superior, but numerically inferior NATO force trying to hold them back.

Included in this package

Player Flyable Aircraft
• A-7D Corsair II
• A-10A Thunderbolt II
• F-100D Super Sabre
• F-105D Thunderchief
• F-4C/D/E/F/M Phantom II
• F-15A Eagle
• Harrier GR.1/3
• Hunter F.6/FGA.9

AI Aircraft
• MiG-17 "Fresco"
• MiG-19 "Farmer"
• MiG-21 "Fishbed"
• MiG-23 "Flogger"
• Su-7 "Fitter"
• Il-28 "Beagle"
• Tu-16 "Badger"
• Tu-22 "Blinder"
• An-12 "Cub"
• B-57B Canberra
• F-84F Thunderstreak
• F-104 Starfighter
• Mirage III/5
• Mystère
• Super Mystère

CAT 3 Config
CAT 3 Config
Fox 3!! Launching a Sidewinder
Fox 3!! Launching a Sidewinder

Strike Fighters 2 Israel

War in the Middle East during 3 massive historical conflicts with some of the most intensive air combat ever seen!

This pack explores the '67 SIx Day War, the '73 Yom Kippur war and a 1982 conflict over Lebanon. Again, we are covering 3 decades of conflict and flight development, and weapons becoming more sophisticated.

But lets face facts, who can resist flying a Kfir or Mirage III !!

Player Flyable Aircraft
• A-4E/F/H Ahit
• F-4E Kurnass
• F-15A Baz
• F-16A Netz
• Kfir C1/C2
• Mirage IIICJ Shahak
• Nesher

AI Aircraft
• MiG-17 Fresco
• MiG-19 Farmer
• MiG-21 Fishbed
• MiG-23 Flogger
• Su-7 Fitter
• IL-28 Beagle
• Tu-16 Badger
• Mirage 5
• Hunter
• Mystère IVA
• Super Mystère B.2
• Vautour IIA

Source
Source

Strike Fighters 2 Expansion Pack 1

This pack requires Striuke fighters 2 Israel to function and adds 3 planes to the mix, including the good ol' Mustang P-51D prop job!

Set in a new historical campaign, we once again join the Israeli Defence Force, this time in 1956 in a struggle over the Suez Canal.

New Player Flyable Aircraft
• Mystère IVA
• Meteor F.8
• P-51D Mustang

New AI Aircraft
• Spitfire LF.IX
• Vampire 5/9/52
• MiG-15bis
• C-47A

New Campaign
• Operation Kadesh, Oct 1956

Source
Source
Source
Source

Strike Fighters 2 Expansion Pack 2

Next up is an update for the European Theatre of War, set in 1956 after an invasion of Hungary by the USSR leads straight into West Germany. This adds a rare beast in flight sims, the UK's extreme speed interceptor, the Lightning.

We also get a mission editor finally! And much better performance on multi core computers.

New Features
• Mission Editor
• Multi-core (Quad-core and higher) support
• 1956 Campaign set in Cold War Europe
• All 3 original campaigns updated with new aircraft

New Aircraft
• Lightning F.1/2/3/6
• Hunter F.1/2/4/5
• F-100A/C Super Sabre
• Yak-23 (AI only)
• Canberra B.2/6 (AI only)

Bonus" Features
if you have Strike Fighters 2 merged:
• Lightning F.53 (player flyable)
• Canberra Mk.20 (AI only)

if you have Strike Fighters 2 Expansion Pack 1 merged:
• MiG-15 (AI only)
• Additional skins for C-47 and Spitfires
• Meteor F.8 and Mystere IV units in 1956 Campaign

F-14 with the wings back and burners on full, kick the tyres and light the fires!
F-14 with the wings back and burners on full, kick the tyres and light the fires!

Have you ever played any of the Strike Fighters range of sims?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe?
See results without voting

On a final and important note

I am not in any way affiliated with TK, or Thirdwire, nor do I stand to make anything out of this article besides the usual Google / Amazon stuff. I simply love these games and want the world to know about them. Then I benefit, because if he sells more, then he can use that money to develop more and I get to play more! Support Flight Simulation!

Simple aint it.

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Comments 2 comments

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Great job, and having experience of real time Harriers you are right, they seriously kick ass when manned by a Marine, 50


Zakmoonbeam profile image

Zakmoonbeam 5 years ago from Parts Unknown Author

Thanks for dropping by! I can alas only admit to being an armchair pilot (not for the want of trying) but I do a lot of reading, and totally agree with you, it's an awesome CAS vehicle, and an asset to the Marines and anyone else that uses it.

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