Hellcat Aces

Hellcat Aces was published by Microprose in 1983.

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Digital Antic Project kindly allowed me to reproduce this 1983 review by David Plotkin:

" While the graphics are not stunning, the game plays well and holds your interest with multiple skill levels and a variety of scenarios. It requires the BASIC cartridge as well as two joysticks. Hellcat Ace is an air-combat simulator, set in the Pactfic theatre during World War II.

You can then pick the level of difficulty as well as choose to face one or two enemy aircraft. Shooting down the enemy aircraft ends the scenario, increases your score and number of "kills", and moves you on to the next screen. Multiple hits on the enemy aircraft are necessary to destroy it, and the number of hits required increases at the higher skill levels. The enemy aircraft may turn and attack you, generally from a head-on direction, although if he stays on your tail long enough he can also shoot you down from behind."

If you are hit, you hear some loud bangs, the screen flickers, and then you spin. The instructions say you can bail out by pressing the fire button on the throttle joystick, but I've never succeeded.

The enemy aircraft are single-color players, which change size and shape with their distance and orientation. It can be difficult to determine the enemy's intentions at long range due to the lack of color and definition of the enemy aircraft. It can also be difficult to tell that the enemy is firing at you until it is too late. While I suppose that this situation may simulate real life, I think an enhancement in the graphics of the enemy aircraft would improve this game.

For instance, the successful destruction of the enemy aircraft is somewhat anticlimactic. Rather than a brilliant explosion or spinning off the screen, the aircraft simply disappears with a bang, leaving behind a few bits of debris."