FULL REVIEW  6-04-2023

MicroProse's  European Air War  Full Review
(Written from many old reviews)
(Edited together and in a continued rewriting state)
(Done by MarkEAW)

If you have anything to add or correct please let me know!

Download Links:
-game-demo - I provide a link to the demo, but you really should try to the full game. See my 'Files Help Document' for the EAW Game DEMO information and description before downloading.




Flight / Damage Model | Loadout | Particle | Graphics | Views | Difficulty / Settings
Sound | A.I. | Ground | Controls | Missions | Multiplayer | INI Entries | Modders Information

















"Captures the spirit and nostalgic feeling of the World War II era."

Take to the skies over Europe during the most dangerous days of World War II. EAW creates a very detailed world that follows the path of WWII. Pilot 20 authentic fighter aircraft from Great Britain, Germany and the United States; simulating the Battle of Britain in 1940, and the Allied Air offensives in Western Europe (European Theater) during WWII in 1943-1945.

If you're looking for a long-term relationship, you can't go wrong with European Air War. The game is meticulously detailed and none of the other WWII simulators (in 1998) can match it for pure atmosphere and immersion. Realistic mission tasking, populated landscapes, huge bomber formations, and swarms of aircraft twisting in aerial melees (It's hard to find a sim with better plane count in the air at once) all come together to provide a level of detail you can truly get lost in. 



"Long-delayed WWII Sim...."

European Air War is a Flight Combat Simulation/Arcade Game, developed by two groups of designers at separate times over a three to four year period. These groups where the EAW Team in MicroProse. During development of the game some of the first programmers left and others filled in. This left some things underdeveloped and other features added and finished. (There is a long story about this and at some point if I get the correct information I'll add it here.)

EAW had a lot of early press as a game to watch for (not quite so much as WWII Fighters did), but nonetheless, many people where eagerly awaiting this game. The game was near completion when released and published by Hasbro with the MicroProse brand name, on Oct 31, 1998. Game Competition occurred around the '98 holiday season as other WWII Sim Games where released by Microsoft and Janes (about half a dozen combat flight sims are released back then at that time). However, EAW put up a very strong presence as being the best in the lot to fly the unfriendly skies of 1940 to 1945.

"WWII fans who see game play is more important than eye-candy will be surprised"

Some of the competition, namely Jane's WWII Fighters and Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator, do not seem to give the best all-around feel that EAW does. Microsoft's CFS has better graphics and the ability to import and create other aircraft. WWII Fighters' graphics are also a tad better, and the game offers the most detailed damage of any flight game to date. EAW, however, gives gamers the most for their money, featuring the most playable aircraft, a number of options for playing missions, and the best overall feel.

A re-release took place by Hasbro on July 24, 2000 as a classic. Then publisher Infogrames in 2001 as a budget release, finally Atari in 2002. The game was always targeted at the older Windows 95, 98, and ME OS's, no new code was written, but perhaps a slightly modded installer may have been included. The Game CD came with a Manual, an Install Guide, and a Quick Reference Card. The budget re-release lacked the physical Quick Reference Guide but came with it on the CD along with the official MPS v1.2 patch.



This section is to provide separated details of the game.
(I will attempt to flesh this out eventually, any help before hand is appreciated, please send me ideas!)

"While not all the features of MicroProse's WWII flight Sim are "bleeding edge," together they make one impressive package."

Flight/Damage Model:

  • Realistic Flight Models-20 Planes offers authentic aircraft flight models, "realistically' modeled. Each plane has its own flight characteristics including the famous P-51 Mustang, Messerschmitt and Spitfire. The two-engine planes handle realistically running on one engine. The P-38's dual tail allows for excellent maneuverability (once you get the hang of flying it).
  • Spins-be careful or you'll be spinning out of control and heading for land very often. It is possible to navigate out of a tailspin, but it takes timing, throttle adjustment, and great control. Fortunately, there is an eject button that will allow you to jettison from your plane and parachute to safety, if necessary.
  • Detailed Damage
  • Red-outs and Black-outs
  • Select Your Aircraft: With over 20 flyable fighter variants:
      for the Americans;
    P-38H & J
    P-47C & D
    P-51B & D
      for the British;
    Spitfire Ia, IX, & XIV
    Typhoon Ib
    Tempest V
      for the Germans;
    Me109E3, G6, & K4
    Me110C & G
    FW190A8 & D9
      Non-flyable craft you may encounter in the game include:
      for the Americans;
      for the British;
      for the Germans;
    Ju 87
    Ju 88A & C
    V-1 Buzz Bomb



  • Machine Guns
  • Cannons
  • Bombs (salvo drops only)
  • Rockets (salvo fire only)
  • Drop Tanks (Fuel)



  • Smoke
  • Fire
  • Spent Gun Shells
  • Bullet Tracers
  • Flak Bursts (Seem as though they are straight out of some classic WWII footage or gun camera reel).
  • Strafe a building and soldiers will run out of it.



  • award-winning graphics and visual effects (for the 3D Intro computer generated smack movie). (not done with the in-game engine, but modeled).
  • Direct3D and Glide supported acceleration
  • DirectX 6 limited to 256 colors at once (24 bit color choice) (for Rendition 3D accelerator cards)
  • 3Dfx Glide 2.43 limited to 256 colors with 3Dfx cards.
  • 8-bit 256 color, Super VGA, startup menu screens/front-end
  • 16-bit Flight screen using 8-bit textures. However eye-candy is an issue, EAW doesn't have much in the way of it, and those looking for a great graphical experience probably won't be impressed enough to keep flying.
  • 256 Planes (Maximum) in the Air At Once.
  • 3D Graphics Technology-Graphics modeling is much improved, a 16-bit game flight engine, redone from the previous engine used in 1994's Pacific Air War, after the three to four years of development, the game engine will now support furballs with as many as 32 planes, which really often occurred in the skies over England, Germany, and France during WWII.



  • 2D 'Static View' Cockpits-All flyable planes have detailed authentic cockpit designs, detailed renderings of all cockpits. Allows you a lot of freedom of movement. You can look around the accurately detailed instrument panel, peer down at your lap, look up through your canopy, or glance over your left or right shoulder.
  • Virtual 'Moving Views' Cockpits-Contains MicroProse's improved Virtual Cockpit Technology: which enables players to look for enemy planes in any direction, just like a real pilot! Lets you move your head about with the mouse while you keep on flying the plane with your joystick.
  • Camera views can be used to view your plane, from any of 16 camera angles provided.



  • Several settings to adjust difficulty-Realism and Arcade Modes. Offers fully customizable game play for the beginner or the expert. Its incredible flexibility, If you are just getting the hang of this game, then there are so many customizable options you can choose to make your missions a lot more manageable. Choose the game difficulty, flight model accuracy, graphic detail levels and keyboard and joystick controls. However, if you consider yourself a veteran then you can try flying with as many realistic options turned on as you dare.
  • Easy to use menus and clearly defined configurations make this game easy to setup, easy to play, and depending on your settings, anywhere from easy to almost impossible to win.



  • Spectacular Sound-The sound in EAW is excellent. When you fly a German plane, the radio chatter is in German (with subtitles). The sound bullets make as they rip across your plane is excruciatingly real. The wisp of the wind and the thuds of the artillery explosions all add to the flying experience.
  • 8 Bit Standard In Flight Sounds or 16 Bit Standard In Flight Sounds.
  • 16 Voices (Sounds at Once)
  • Music



  • Enhanced Artificial Intelligence
  • Enemy Planes
  • Friendly Planes
  • Squadron / Wingman
  • Enemy Flak



  • The world is modeled close to the actual terrain, with plenty of hills and valleys.
  • Sea Water Physics



  • Keyboard and Mouse.
  • Joystick with Twist Handle (Rudder).
  • Possibility for Rudder Pedals.
  • The control is so accurate that you can literally dive, skim a body of water, and take back to the skies.
  • Force Feedback - This game takes full advantage of force feedback. (The EAW Team at MicroProse has managed to incorporate actual plane dynamics, wind sheer, and machine guns into the force feedback control of EAW). You'll find the effects are subtle and convincing. Your plane will shudder as you are hit on one side by stray flak, and the stick gently tugs at your hand recreating realistic physical feedback.
  • Working Pilot Radio-The communication ability with your A.I. wingmen are effective, with plenty of options. In fact, even having comms in the first place is a super plus, (as no other sim released around the time EAW was, uses them).
  • Time Acceleration / Time Skip / Autopilot - There are also some options for the inexperienced or impatient gamer. Because real WWII pilots spent a lot of time just flying from point A to B, this game faithfully recaptures that essence, but also allows, un realistically for gamers to fast-forward time with the Time Acceleration and/or Time Skip features and/or use an Autopilot feature. These are best used for takeoffs and landings and for those long spans of flight time.



  • This game only allows you to be a fighter jockey, you will not get to fly B-17s, B-25s, and the whole list of bomb dropping equivalents, no tail gunner positions either. It focuses on the European theatre, specifically the Battle of Britain and the Allied Mainland War, almost the entire length of the war.
  • Players have the option of selecting quick start, single mission or career play. A simple point-and-click interface allows you to choose modes. Quick and Single Instant Missions jump you right into the action. Career mode is a complex air combat campaign that will take months to complete.
  • Quick / Instant - Take to the skies for fast dog fighting combat action. Quick Start allows any novice player to start midair in a crowded sky with this simple objective: take out all enemy planes before they take you out. The computer randomly chooses a location and aircraft for EAW if you've just turned on the game, or it will base the plane and location on the last mission you flew if you've played before. Quick Start is also a good way to get a feel for the different planes and the game's control mechanics.
  • Defend the skies of southern England from waves of German bombers, fight off harrying Messerschmitt while escorting B-17s deep into the heart of the Third Reich. Engage in savage dogfights over France.
  • Single / Instant - This option allows players to control a single plane or a group of planes against the computer-controlled aircraft for a particular type of mission. Allows players to design individual missions for either the Axis or Allies. Includes a wide variety of mission types to choose from. You pick the type of mission offering missions that include up to 256 planes in the air simultaneously (including V-1 hunting, fighter sweeps, escorts, bomb target or even ground attacks against moving targets (such as armed trains)). Pick plane type, time period, type of armament on your aircraft, experience level, and more--it's quite flexible. Focuses on realism. Such factors as limited ammunition, aircraft takeoffs and landings, all have to be considered during a flight.
  • Embark on a dynamic campaign with persistence from (over a 100) mission to mission capturing the spirit and nostalgic feeling of the World War II era. They begin in early 1940 and progress all the way through the war in 1945. Players can fly for three different nations. Play as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force, the British Royal Air Force or the German Luftwaffe in Pilot Career mode and assume greater control of your squadron over time via Radio Control!
  • Career / Dynamic Campaign (minimal scripting). - For those of you with a lot of time on your hands, take to the skies with historically accurate missions. They focus on realism--such factors as limited ammunition, aircraft takeoffs and landings, and even fatigue, all have to be considered during a flight. EAW features dynamic campaigns, which means that what you do in one mission will have a direct result on the next (for example, if you bomb a weapons plant, it will stay bombed and weapons production will be cut off from then on). You create your very own virtual pilot and fly through one of three WWII campaigns (Battle of Britain, 1940; European Theater, 1943; or European Theater, 1944) and earn your wings. The different theatres you'll fly in covers much of Western Europe: France, Germany, the Lowlands, and portions of England. This option lets players select a career from the British, American or German perspective in 1943 or from the British or German perspective in the Battle of Britain. The tour phases include April 1, 1943 to April 25, 1945 in which players encounter different types of missions over Britain, France and Germany and July 10, 1940 to September 15, 1940 in which players experience a short career from the Battle of Britain. On the Allied side you have the option of retiring a favorite pilot after a year, but with the German side your pilot is in the air until he is dead. Career Pilot's complexity and realism will definitely appeal to the flight-sim fanatics.
  • In pilot career mode the sense of time is especially strong. Excellent use of narratives and missions briefings, as well as historically accurate data, all help add to the feeling that you're part of the war.
  • Features several newsreels that show familiar black & white footage from WWII documentaries, complete with narration. They depict some of the major turns in the war. It's quite entertaining to watch these as the career missions progress, almost as if it were happening for real.



  • Direct Play 6 (DP8 will work as well)
  • Multiplayer Set Up: Offers multiplayer dogfights and cooperative missions. 8 players supported on LAN (IPX) and TCP/IP protocol, 2 players supported for serial and modem connections.
  • One-button radio taunts allow you to talk trash as you're dog fighting.
  • EAW allows you and up to seven other pilots to partake in cooperative missions in which you fly in formation, take out the enemy, and complete mission objectives.


INI Entries:

  • There are many. Some have been added directly to the eaw.ini file during patch upgrades and therefore have no in game sliders. See my 'EAW.INI Help Document'.



See my 'Files Help Document' for information on how to start modding for the game.





"The entire game looks like it could be footage from a World War II movie during full action."

Overall a nice job that the game does in creating the look of a WWII mission. The frontend graphical interface, the menu screens are all retro looking of the 1940's era. Immersing you into that time, back then. This is done like a feature film presentation.

In flight, hundreds if not thousands of flak bursts erupt with bright flashes and then fade away into lighter and lighter puffs of smoke. Aircraft explode and disintegrate into jagged pieces of metal, each falling to earth at its own smoky pace. Damaged engines belch dark black smoke. Aircraft arch towards earth, trailing smoke, debris, and maybe parachutes. Tracers fly through the air in all directions. Hits to an airframe flash, smoke, and spark as they strike home. Because EAW models bullet hits to the aircrew as well, if you look carefully at some of the cockpits you may see a red splotch of blood covering the cockpit glass. By itself, the sight of so many aircraft mixing it up in the sky is worth the price of admission alone, in my opinion. Other nice touches include the empty shell casings falling from aircraft as they fire their guns, contrails at certain altitudes, and individualized nose art on Allied bombers.

The game provides you with three game types: Quick Mission, Single Mission, or Pilot Career Mode (dynamic campaign). Your missions follow realistic plans and range from defending bomber groups to bombing small targets. They will include fighter based ground strikes and bombings on machine gun nests, pill boxes, rail yards, bridges, trains, and tanks. One mission involves the strike on a train moving along the tracks at high speeds.

Quick Start typically and automatically will launch you in the air near the bad guys into a crowded melee gunfight, with it automatically selecting armaments and enemies. (Quick Starts use the last plane you selected in Single Player or Pilot Career, this allows you to continue to get the feel of the aircraft you've been flying in the more serious Single Mission and Pilot Career endeavors if you have done so).

Single Missions as available to hone your flying skills necessary to succeed in the coming campaign, customizable in several ways; Under the sixteen Mission Parameters you can select the year (which influences which aircraft are available), Time of Day, Weather, Mission Type, Target, Number of Aircraft, and Cruise Altitude. You also choose the friendly and enemy aircraft type, quantity and skill level along with the amount of AAA you will encounter. You are not allowed to set up a specific 1 Vs 1 or 1 Vs 2 type scenarios, but despite that one shortcoming, Single Missions allow for a countless number of variables resulting in a high level of replay-ability. The mission types include Fighter Sweeps, Escort, Intercept sorties, Bombing and Interdiction (search and destroy); Interdiction missions are particularly fun. You can come across enemy planes, ships, trains, AAA (heavy and light), Hangers, Towers, Barracks and more.

The Mission Parameter Screen is not bad, but the player doesn't have the ability to fully control the construction of a mission, and perhaps even worse, you cannot save missions to be played back in co-op or team multiplay mode. This is unfortunate, but not a complete show-stopper. It may have, however, reduce the longevity of the sim from its core players, back then in 2003.

"Delivers an Immersive Campaign...."

In Pilot Career Mode, the heart of EAW, there are three dynamic semi-unscripted campaigns with mission parameters generated with a random mission generation routine. The dynamic aspects make you feel more like you're in a living world than in a large canned of scripted missions. (This is to give the game more replay performance keeping you busy for months. Other sims use scripted). You can select the The Battle of Britain in 1940 (the early war scenario). The European Theater: Battle for Europe campaigns set in 1943 (the Americans arrive) and 1944 (the Luftwaffe's last stand). In the Battle of Britain, you can fly for the English or Germans. In Battle for Europe, you can fly for the United States, the English (Brits), or the Germans in 20 models of 11 different aircraft. Enlist in a Pilot Career, and you'll choose a squadron, which in turn will select the plane you fly and the base you'll fly from. You also can pick a higher rank so you can control other flights right from the first mission (otherwise you must earn promotions to have commands for anything more than your wingman). Finally report to the briefing room.

The missions will change each time you play a particular career path. They will not follow the historical record of each real life squadron. In a short example; The missions will retain some historical detail, similar to a scripted mission like when you play a "career", the choices of units to fly in are actual historical units and you will attack the same targets they attacked. Your unit will even refit with new types of aircraft when they did historically. Even the same type of flight, such as a fighter sweep, during the period but will contain sufficient random elements such as different geography or goals to make the careers replay able without boredom. You can attack tanks, trains carrying guns and tanks, ships (freighters and destroyers!), halftrack/car convoys, and lots of other types of ground targets. Pretty much everything can shoot back.

Out comes for future missions are determined from previous mission success or failure; If you take out a target, it will remain destroyed when you fly over it again in a later mission. If you fail to successfully defend your airbase from a bomber attack, in the next mission, you'll find yourself flying from a new base.

The dynamic nature of the campaign keeps you from ever getting the same mission twice, for the most part, it works well. Be warned, however, that the mission tasking is fairly realistic, so missions can be repetitive as you cannot choose your targets, you must concentrate on only one aircraft to fly and the opposition is very similar in each type of mission. For instance, RAF pilots will spend most of the Battle of Britain in a Spitfire dealing with intercept missions with flights of bombers and fighters or as a German in a Messerschmitt escorting the bombers. This gets very dull after a while as each mission can feel sterile compared to possibly more exciting scripted ones. It defiantly shows how faithful the design of the game is when it shows how these sort of missions must have been like day to day within the context of defending or shooting down bombers during WWII.


Dogfights are confused but thrilling affairs as the player desperately tries to get the foe off their tails while at the same time attempting to saddle up behind a dozy enemy. The AI displays a fair amount of skill and even better, the standard of the AI pilots varies so that one mission may see the player encounter pilots who have apparently left their spectacles, formed from the bottom of milk bottles, at home whereas the next mission with opposition skill set to the same value will see the player fighting for their life.

The atmosphere in a dogfight is helped by the constant stream of radio messages with which the player is bombarded. Calls for aid, screams of agony and warnings of foes on the player's 6 all make an appearance in both sound (in the appropriate language for the side the player is flying for) and subtitles (in English thankfully). The voices are well done, the drawl of your squadron leader in the Battle of Britain contrasting nicely with the American accents encountered over Fortress Europe. Sometimes the 6 calls can be a trifle superfluous. It's not uncommon to get a 6 call after overshooting bombers and once I even got a 6 call when I flew in front of unarmed Mosquitos (the mossies were for some mysterious reason flying in box formation). Still, better safe than sorry.

Tired of dogfighting? Why not take a pop at the radar stations, convoys and trains with which the European Air War landscape is liberally littered? One of the major benefits of European Air War is the variety of experiences it offers. Not only do you get the experience of either defending or attacking streams of bombers as either the allies or the Luftwaffe but if that pales, simply start a campaign as a Typhoon pilot in 1943 and do some serious ground pounding. MicroProse has said that the campaigns are dynamic, but it is difficult to judge the extent to which this effects gameplay with the limited feedback available to the player. Some way of assessing the attrition being suffered by the two sides would have been nice.



EAWv1.0 is Limited to a 640x480 resolution, doesn't use the latest photo-realistic terrain. However the EAW world is well-done and sets the mood very well for most of your missions. It is equally impressive from both an air-to-air and air-to-ground perspective.

3D Accelerator support is provided through both D3D (Direct3D 6.0 or later) and 3DFX modes (Glide API 2.43 or later). Operating with a limited 8-bit palette; 256 colors at a strict 640x480 resolution. From a pure visual standpoint EAW doesn't fair very well when compared against the current (1998) competition. MS Combat Flight Simulator and Jane's WWII Fighters are both substantially better looking in every aspect of the game. The largest strike against EAW is the resolution limit of 640x480. The game options, readme file, manual, and official website list no way to play the game in a higher resolution, until MPS released the official EAWv1.1 patch which allows higher resolutions that was greatly needed to compete. Although it was done in a limited and unsupported fashion, this is something which many people prefer and had requested from MicroProse to add into the game).

The higher resolutions give the main benefit of course, of sharper images and textures with the better ability to see targets (their shape) at further distances.  The Voodoo2 (2meg) memory limitation was removed once patched. Even with the MPS EAW Team adding this addition in, It is an unsupported enhancement because not all video cards support it, and EAW really wasn't designed for those higher modes. It is however, an interesting enhancement never the less.

This game is somewhat low tech given that the 1998 market of available second generation 3D accelerator cards existed by then, (In the official v1.1 patch, it added unsupported higher resolution settings in the eaw.ini file, specifically the Width= and Height= settings. Some settings you may wish to try are 800x600 (many video accelerator cards should support this resolution. Try D3D mode if you can't get it to work in Glide). More common useful resolutions are 1024x768, or 1280x1024. Note: That the viewing area will not be the same as it is in 640x480, depending on the resolution setting you set it at. 800x600 mode will have slightly more viewing area, while 1024x768 mode will show slightly less. Airplanes are no longer dots until they get close; you can make out the type of airframe at a much greater distance now. In fact, it's tricky....you will find yourself setting up a shot, only to realize that the target airplane is much further away than you thought. And until you've watched a large bombing mission in 1024x768, you haven't experienced EAW at its finest. (Also you need to know, in any resolution above the default, 640x480, the highly detailed 2D Static cockpits will not be available anymore. You are automatically switched to use the lower quality 3D virtual cockpit.)  Some won't like this, but you can always go back to 640x480 by changing the eaw.ini file back to its original state.

One thing you may notice also is the blandness of the color palette. Now I'm all for accuracy, but through the entire game I kept wishing for the grass to be greener, the sky to be bluer, and the cold steel of my P-51 to be, well, colder.

This is not to say that European Air War is an ugly game, it is not. Even though the low resolution is obviously a major problem with EAW's original development and release, all things considered, this is a great looking 640x480 flight-sim. Once you get into the middle of the game, you might begin to appreciate the simplistic approach to graphics found in European Air War. The game uses 8-bit textures/sprites in a 16-bit flight rendered engine. Plane exteriors are around 200 polygons (generally fighters use about 220-230 with a max of 256 nodes/points) a piece. Surprisingly, there are no moving control surfaces on the exterior of the planes, other than gear. The benefit of this 'simple' graphical design is that the game runs very fast, even on older machines. This alone results in better performance to have the large scale aerial battles that EAW provides.

What MicroProse gives up in visual acuity they make up for in accuracy and style. Every inch of this game is accurate, down to the decals of the planes and the patches on the uniforms. Special effects, such as flak bursts and sun-blindness, are good, and night operations are an unexpected extra. The game contains a very detailed particle system. One of the best visual elements are the smoke trails and explosions. Planes damaged where bits of the planes break away or hits in the engines will spew fancy black smoke trails. Shrapnel from an exploding plane not only looks really nice but is something to be wary of, and is just another element that adds to the realism. You can even see the empty gun shells roll away when shooting your guns. 


From up high, the landscape looks the part, as is usually the case, things get less and less impressive, the lower you get. Thankfully, the landscape at low level is not just a featureless plain, MicroProse have liberally planted the playing area with trees (which you can fly through) and buildings. Even the cities look reasonable at higher detail levels with a decent density of buildings displayed.

There are nice touches at ground level too. One of the highest steeples in Europe at Ulm in Germany happens to be in EAW. In one of the campaigns the steeple was there! It could just be a coincidence or perhaps every city gets a steeple but I found it a nice touch.

Still on nice touches, strafing some buildings will cause people to dash out from the building and run for cover.

The terrain is very well done (even at 256x256 tiles), with a horizon that gives you the impression that it goes on for miles and miles. It is topographically correct and is mostly flat level with not many hills, which is believable for the most part, as France and Britain are fairly flat in the areas of concern. However, even though the terrain delivers a great sense of altitude when down low, it does not offer a good sense of speed, even as trees and objects come into view. At max detail, the game draws excellent cities and fields, although textures seem over magnified and a bit blurry when you're down real low. The sometimes cloudy skies add atmosphere and have tactical applications, but they'll mask the enemy as well as they will hide you from real players.

Mirroring real-life, the EAW world is fairly flat over much of Northern France, but gets downright mountainous in Southern Germany. I was a little disappointed to see that the famous White Cliffs of Dover are pretty much flat in EAW, but overall the terrain is what I expected. Clouds, fog, and haze are nicely-done, as are the various times of day and sky you will be flying in. Sunrise presents you with a brilliant orange sky and sun that fades darker if you look away. Sun glare is visible in all viewing options, and bursting your fighter out of a solid cloud level into the crystal clear blue sky above really is a great simming experience.

If you fly low, you will see a landscape littered with houses, farms, churches, villages, roads, bridges, cities, trees, forests, radar antenna, and train tracks, among other objects. Buzz a building and you may see people run out of it. There are trains, vehicles, and ships moving about, although nowhere near as many as I would have hoped. If you have ammo left at the end of your mission, try hunting for vehicles....there's a small but possible chance you'll stumble onto a train or convoy. Strafe a convoy and you'll see dozens of soldiers running away from their vehicles. When you kill a train, the cargo (often a tank) is usually knocked off its rail car and ends up on its side next to the tracks. Unfortunately, you won't typically find any parked aircraft at enemy airbases, and anti-aircraft fire at most locations is fairly weak (not the flak, though, which can be deadly). The world is also fairly interactive...if you destroy a bridge ahead of a moving train, the train will be destroyed when it gets to it.

EAW looks just like you'd expect WWII Europe to look like in a condition pre-war...which brings me to one of the biggest issues I have with the landscape.

With very few exceptions, it just doesn't look like there is a ground war going on around you. For all intents and purposes, front lines exist only on your campaign briefing map...you won't run into any concentration of enemy soldiers (or friendly soldiers, for that matter) as you cross the forward lines. I've yet to see a village or building reduced to rubble, and you really see no tell-tale signs of conflict below you. While I don't expect a fully-dynamic war going on at all times, it really starts to feel that WWII is strictly an air war. I did notice, however, that in the days following D-Day, there are many ships stationed off of Normandy...this is a nice touch.

Also don't expect to use EAW to do a lot of sightseeing of the major European cities. While London looks great from 20,000 ft., if you get low you'll see nothing but two- or three- story buildings making up the bulk of the city, with an occasional church here and there. Don't look for St. Paul's Cathedral or even the London Bridge...you won't find them (in fact, there are no bridges across the Thames at all). Similarly, I can't find the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


All the sound effects are pretty well done, however some may seem a bit weak, just not enough decibels for sounds that should require more. The game's sounds for gun fire, explosions, strafing, and radio communication are good, but not loud enough to stand out. The engine sounds however, are perfect.

One of the biggest complaint is that if you don't have your game sounds balanced, often times you simply can not hear your plane being hit. It all based on taste as to how you balance the three sound sliders in the game's configuration screen, (there really should be more sliders thought to improve separation). You can get it so the combination of wind, engine, and radio chatter all work well together. You can set 8-bit or the higher quality 16-bit sounds (with 16 voices max) depending on if your computer system can handle them. (Miles Sound System v4.0?)

The Sound Engine has a small degree of 3D positional sound, its very helpful, but can be improved. (Even though the box says; Dolby Surround, that is not true. It's believed to be a custom sound engine code). You get the Doppler effect when passing by many planes. There are excellent audio indications of impending stalls and overheating engines. However no structural, near stressing sounds. The engine noise is a little bit lacking, but damaged Engines sound like they are throwing a rod when you've run them too hard. Weapon sounds are a bit puny for the most part. The bomber formation "drone" sound is superb.


The sound is great with few exceptions, and I love the deep roar of the fighter engines screaming to life. The metallic clank of rounds hitting your airframe is as I would expect it to sound like, and you can gauge your engine's strength just by the sound it makes. Impending engine overheating and stress can be detected audibly, as can the sound of the wind rushing over your wings. Oddly enough, there is no sound of landing or taking off, not even the rumble of accelerating across a bumpy WWII grass airfield.

The voices of your wingmen, squadron leaders, and ground control add to the immersion, calling out targets, screaming in pain, acknowledging orders, or vectoring you to targets. The authentic American, British, and German voices add greatly to the experience and thankfully subtitles are provided as an option. After a while, you start to hear the same messages over and over again, and while that can become repetitive (I swear, if I hear that chipper American pilot say "Good job everyone" one more time......) that is really to be expected and doesn't particularly detract from the sim much.

Radio chatter is included to help you become immersed, it also has a functional use too.

While there is music in the main menu, and in mid-missions and such, there is no music during the gameplay.




Two types of single missions are available, Quick Start and the more conventional mission generator. Quick Start is exactly as it sounds...an instant jump right into the heart of a battle, typically involving escorting or protecting bomber flights. The aircraft and country you fly for is dependent on the last Single Mission or Campaign flight you flew. As one would expect, action is fast and furious and quickly deteriorates into a massive swirling air battle. Other than the type of aircraft you fly, no Quick Start variables are under your control, however, the variables or parameters for quick start are loaded from the last Single Mission. You are always placed as the squadron leader in Quick Start missions.

The regular "Single Mission" selection brings up a very-nicely done mission generator where players can create, load, and save custom EAW missions. After first selecting the country and the airframe of your choice, you are transported into a realistic-looking hangar, complete with background noise of mechanics, aircraft taking off, pinups, and maybe a smoldering cigarette or fan in the background. MPS did a stellar job in setting the mood in this and most other interface screens.

From the hangar, users can either jump into the pre-made scenario already created by EAW or make a mission of their choice through the "Mission Parameters" section of the hangar. EAW lets users create a very dictated mission, one based largely on random variables, or a mixture of both.

First, the player must select the year the single mission will take place in...this is determined by the aircraft chosen and when it was available to pilots. Next, the time of day (Dawn, Day, Dusk, or Random) and weather (Clear, Partly Cloudy, Heavy Clouds, Overcast, or Random) are selected, and then the user chooses whether he wants to start on a runway or immediately into an "instant action" scenario, similar to Quick Start.

From here, the type of primary mission is selected, as is the target city (in the case of bomber interception missions, what city is to be bombed by the enemy), the number of aircraft in your flight, your default cruising altitude, and then your home base. Both the target area and the home base are selected off of a map of Europe with distances between the two shown.

Users can also opt to include another friendly flight to support the mission (options include what type of aircraft (including a Random option), the formation size of this supporting flight (Small, Medium, Large, or Random), and their AI level (Green, Seasoned, Expert, or Random)).

Lastly, the user picks the disposition of the enemy forces, including up to two different types of aircraft, the expected level of enemy air activity, pilot AI, and the level of enemy anti-aircraft fire. The option of "Random" also exists for most of the settings.

Once the parameters are set, the user is brought back to the hangar and can go to the Arming Board, where he chooses the external weapons or fuel tanks for the mission. From here, a basic briefing board can be shown.

Briefings and debriefings are a weak area of EAW. Briefings are a single abridged form outlining the mission type and target, expected enemy activity in both aircraft and flak, what the weather is, what the call signs are for any friendly flights and ground control, and a short listing of your flight plan. No real intelligence is provided, such as nearby enemy or friendly fighter bases (this is offered in campaign briefings, though).

Once the pilot leaves the arming board, starts, and ends the mission, an even more basic debriefing screen is provided. This provides a quick summary of the action (i.e. "Two enemy aircraft were shot down. One FW-190 was downed"), presents your individual tally, and then gives you a mission rating, which in my mind uses a poor system for scoring, especially missions involving intercepting or escorting bombers.

For example, if your job is to intercept a formation of enemy bombers, the mission will virtually always be rated poorly if the bombers drop their bombs. This, of course, means that you and your planes have to shoot down virtually EVERY enemy bomber, which rarely, if ever, happened in the war. I've seen Battle of Britain missions where the British have shot down almost all of the German Stukas, only to get a poor rating because that last several reached the target and dropped their bombs.

Similarly, escort rating are based apparently entirely on how many bombers got to the target, not how many survived the mission. After one escort mission, I laid back after the B-24s had released and watched virtually all of them get mauled by German fighters. Because all but two B-24s had made it to the target, though, I was given a good rating.

At the end of the debriefing, you are given the choice to accept the results of that mission or re-fly it.



The center of EAW is its dynamic campaign engine. The Campaigns (or the "Pilot Careers") are offered in three years of the war, 1940 (Battle of Britain), 1943, and 1944. In the Battle of Britain, players can choose to either be German or British, and the 1943 and 1944 campaigns offer the option of flying for the US as well. Campaigns can be saved and reloaded and numerous campaigns can be saved at one time.

A number of settings must be selected before a new campaign can begin. After selecting the campaign and country, the user enlists into any of the historically-accurate units of the chosen era. A small unit history, the unit insignia, and the type of aircraft flown by the unit are shown, which adds to the immersion factor. In addition, the player must choose a starting rank for themselves...higher is not automatically better!!! Because EAW models aircrew proficiency as it grows or weakens, it's not an entirely bad idea to start as a lower-ranked pilot and work your way up, gaining combat experience alongside your AI counterparts. Very often, by the time you reach squadron commander or other leadership position, the other pilots in your unit have gained valuable experience and will be more proficient at following your orders and winning battles.

Users then choose the overall Campaign Difficulty (Easy, Average, or Hard), the length of the campaign (Normal or Long), and whether either airframes or supplies are limited in numbers.

Campaign missions start similarly to Single Missions, but with a more thorough briefing by your commanding officer. These are usually set in a briefing room for the Allies and under camouflage netting for the Luftwaffe, although as the Allies progress across Europe and your base changes, Allied pilots will find their briefing taking part "in the field" as well...another nice immersive touch.

Campaign briefings contain a speech component, where the commanding officer briefly outlines your mission, points out flak concentrations, and generally wishes you good hunting. You can bypass his briefing and go right to the campaign briefing screens, the map, a briefing review, and the arming/squadron section. The map provides a scrollable view of Europe detailing your flight route, areas of flak concentrations, airfields, cities, and, from June 1944 on, an indicator of where the rapidly moving front line is.

The arming/squadron section is similar to the Single Mission arming screen, although depending on your campaign rank, you may not be able to change your aircraft's loadouts and/or your wingmen. At the squadron screen, students of WWII will see many familiar names on the board...actual pilots from the war.

Should you decide to not accept the campaign mission being presented, you may exit the campaign and re-enter it. The EAW campaign generator will help create a new mission for you.

Campaign missions for the most part are logical. Fly as a British Typhoon pilot in the 1944 campaign, and you will find most of your missions after June are interdiction attacks on German units counterattacking the D-Day invasion force. Similarly, German units in the 1940 campaign are mostly performing bomber escorts or fighter sweeps over England. However, the mission types can be varied...You'll fly everything from anti-shipping strikes, V-1 "buzz bomb" intercepts, anti-armor missions, train and convoy strikes, escort, fighter sweeps, scramble missions, and more. There do, however, seem to be some strange missions that don't make the most sense in the campaign structure. For example, one P-47 unit I was flying with kept being ordered to perform escort missions, even though the superior P-51 had been phased into most other squadrons. As the war advances, so may your airfield and even the type of fighter you fly. Many P-47 units are eventually transitioned into P-51 units, and as you get later into the war you'll notice an increase in the late-model aircraft on both sides.

At the end of a campaign mission (presuming you survive), you will be shown your barracks, where you can view your medals, get an update on your squadron, and flip through your log book (which lists dates, missions flown, number of kills, and assorted comments, however it does not classify your kills into aircraft types). As is "par for the course" with EAW, a 1940s-era radio can be selected and you will hear appropriate music of the era and country. Of course, you can always just jump right into another mission as well!

As you progress through the war, video segments mark highlights of the conflict (such as D-Day) and show an appropriate ending movie for your campaign.

The campaigns do have some issues. First of all, almost every mission occurs in the daytime with mostly clear skies...A variety in weather for Northern Europe perhaps. Secondly, campaign missions only occur about once every 10 EAW calendar days or so. Especially in the Battle of Britain, I'd like to see two or three missions a day modeled. Lastly, your pilot never seems to die....if you meet an untimely end in a campaign mission, you can replay that mission seemingly endlessly until you finish it and move along.



EAW is multiplayer-capable in any of the expected methods and general fun: Required is a Windows 95/98 compatible 28.8 kps modem or faster,  Local Area Network with IPX (LAN) or TCP/IP protocol, direct modem and serial port. Internet play requires a true TCP/IP connection. All but direct modem and serial port support up to 8 players at a time. Little evidence of lag even when hosted on a 56k modem. Note: One of the programmers (Chris Coon) said EAW was optimized or adjusted for 33k(player) and 56k(host) modems (However, requirement over the Internet is steeper. It seems impossible to get a stable connection using Dial-Up modems with the maximum of 8 players. DSL speeds are truly required for more than 4 to 6, Just something to keep In mind.)

EAW allows deathmatch, called total-mayhem and co-op missions, against computer or human opponents, or a mixture of the two. Although the sim lists HEAT and MPlayer.com as services supporting (back in 1998), EAW. The Zone and Kali where (back in 1998) wear the majority of EAW users gather to meet and play. Also just to note: many of the people actually flying EAW on the Zone so far (in 1999) seem to want to fly with the less realistic settings.

While multiplayer EAW has the potential to be great, when working properly. With EAWv1.0 you may experience some trouble with it. While many people (and virtual squadrons) seem to have no difficulty playing, some may have consistent trouble with the Pause Bug, that MPS tech support has acknowledged it is a known issue and that it will be addressed in the upcoming 'first' patch. Judging from the newsgroups and forums, many players have this issue, but the remedies don't always work.

Essentially the bug (Pause Bug) is, in either a co-operative or head-to-head game, once you die (and sometimes if another human player dies or if you release your drop tanks), the game slows to a crawl, with 2- or 3- second pauses every 5 seconds or so. Other plays may typically experience no pauses during this time, but suffer severe lag instead. During the time when no one has died , you'll play with little lag and smooth flying. The v1.1 patch helps this performance bug and your able to play smoothly.

In addition to the pausing problems, there are some other issues in playing multiplayer EAW; Because there is no way to tailor what external weapons are carried in multiplayer games, you have to rely on EAW to load your aircraft. Unfortunately, several "Bomb Target" multiplayer missions where played without the player being armed with bombs!!!

There is also a bug in multiplayer that will not credit a Total Mayhem player with a kill if his opponent bails out of the damaged airplane prior to it crashing.

There are plenty of options in multiplaying that lets you select between various types of missions (such as escort, interdiction, and intercept) and the types and numbers of friendly and enemy planes. Includes some cooperative for single missions, the usual assortment of head to head and some team play scenarios. The options interface is similar to the single player menus. The menu options let you fly real missions with and against other human players; dogfights and cooperative missions are supported with up to 8 players on a local area network or the internet. Again it should be noted, over the internet/online connections, its recommended to use a Dial-up modem of at least a speed of 28800 and port speed 38400 with 4 to 6 players max, 4 being optimal and never the full 8. DSL speeds are truly required for more than 6.

To start a single multiplayer EAW mission (the three Pilot Career Campaigns are not available in multiplayer), the host connects with the desired protocol and chooses the type of mission, as well as enemy AI, time period, geographic region, time of day, and the size of the battle (how many AI planes will appear). Each player joins the host and chooses his own aircraft, and since a squadron can't contain more than one type of aircraft, each different aircraft gets its own unit. Because of a preflight chat room, players can easily coordinate which plane they will fly together and who will fly for what side. For example, if four people connect, two can decide to fly for the Germans and two can decide to fly for the British. If the German players both pick the same airframe, they are placed in the same unit. If the British players pick a Spitfire and a Hurricane, they will start the game in two different units, each with their own wingmen.

In-flight communication is handled by text chat, which can be broadcast or selected to go to one particular player. Chat macros are programmable by editing a text file in the EAW directory. Although I didn't try it for the purposes of this review, I have talked to several people who are successfully using real-time voice communications programs with EAW.

At the immediate completion of a mission (for example, once the ground target is killed in an interdiction mission or once the bombers drop their bombs), the multiplayer mission abruptly ends. In Total Mayhem, players view their stats, including kills/deaths, rounds fired and hit percentage, but for all other missions only the standard mission debriefing screen is shown. From there, all players have to reconnect if they want to communicate or play again...there is no debriefing chat lobby.

One draw back (not a bug) is the human players do not receive Radio Commands from the leader, nor can a player wingman reply with the Radio menu. The leader must issue commands to human players with the Chat Function and vise versa typing out orders. This becomes time consuming and very distracting to do during the game, especially during combat. Another limiting drawback of multiplayer games is it has no 'join game in progress' function.




"In a multiplayer game it is often difficult to tell the difference between a real person and an AI pilot."

The AI in EAW is complicated enough to be impressive and simple enough to be aggravating. Through a filter of variables, such as morale, unit leadership, and combat experience comes the end product of how well the computer pilots fly and fight.

I am more impressed than disappointed with the AI pilots. Watch a German fighter attack on an Allied bomber formation, and you'll witness diversionary flights trying to draw away escorts, vicious frontal attacks by the main German flights, and a hell-bent attitude among the German pilots to kill as many bombers as they can. As an escort, giving chase to them usually results in being drawn lower and away from your flight, which in turn leaves it unescorted for the next wave of incoming fighters.

I have also seen some brilliant feats of airmanship by the AI pilots. One particular scissors fight against a Bf109 at treetop level has convinced me that this is no dumb AI model...this particular pilot was good, rolling and banking just feet above the ground. While I ended up getting him with a snapshot burst (which apparently killed the pilot, as the plane simply rolled into the ground and exploded), it was one of the hardest and most immersive sim "kills" I've ever experienced.

However, I find the enemy AI to be fairly easy to shake off your tail. They also don't seem efficient at reserving their limited ammunition...rather than fire short bursts, you will often see long, sustained fire coming from AI aircraft. They do seem to be pretty good shots, however, and will easily kill you if you are complacent.

A nice feature is the fairly flexible AI skill level setting. In each overall skill setting chosen, combat ability still varies from pilot to pilot. In the same unit, you may find pilots who are more aggressive flyers right next to those that aren't as competent. It also explains how some kills come much easier than others.

I have seen some strange use of aircraft by the computer. During one scramble mission, I was tasked to intercept a flight of inbound Ju-88s. No sooner did I reach altitude then I saw that their escort was about a dozen Me-262s. Unfortunately, the 262s must have been "tied" to the bombers, because they were casually flying at bomber speed! They made no effort to use their superior speed and instead engaged my flight in a series of slow, turning battles. As mentioned earlier, pilots of Ju-88s seem to have no reservations about throwing their medium bomber into a dogfight with more agile fighters, and I question this part of the AI.

However, in defensive maneuvering, these guys usually seem to know what they're doing...I've had to really work for the vast majority of my kills. They'll Split-S, drag you all over the sky, and do everything to ruin your shot. Bombers will make every effort to stay in formation, making your attacks more difficult. Due to the sheer number of aircraft in the air, it's a good idea to "check six" frequently. Fixation on one enemy aircraft may very well set you up for an attack by another enemy.

Your own friendly AI uses the same factors of morale, etc. to create your squadron-mates, with no different results. Depending on your rank, you are allowed to issue commands to your wingman, flight, or total squadron, although I have found that even the best laid plans go awry at the merge of dozens of fighter planes. The more I play, the more I think the friendly AI is heavily dependent on the right orders being issued at the right time. While this is probably somewhat realistic, I have continued to wish that my fellow friendly pilots were "smarter."

The friendly AI is especially fluky when it comes to ground attack. If you can get them to engage their ground target (not always a given), you will often witness some terrible bombing, with no further attempt to carry on the attack with strafing.

You are given several AI tools to help you on your way in flight. An advanced autopilot will virtually do the entire mission for you if you let it. It can be used for takeoff, formation flying, landing (beware here: it isn't very good at landing), and following flight orders from above. While the autopilot is useful, it is not realistic for WWII aircraft, and certainly not at the sophistication modeled. While not specifically AI related, there is also a standard time compression function (up to 8x) and a "jump to the next encounter" function, neither of which will work when the enemy is nearby.

Your radio allows you to communicate with your fellow pilots and Ground Control, which is vital on most missions. Based on your rank, you will only be allowed to order certain aircraft...for example, while you can control sections and flights as the squadron leader, as a lower ranked pilot you may only be able to contact your wingman. Regardless, you can issue orders to engage bandits, attack ground targets, request cover, order a disengagement and regroup, select which air targets to go after, when to release drop tanks, tighten or loosen formation, and navigation functions like moving to the next waypoint or loitering in one location.

Contacting Ground Control can give you vector information to the nearest enemy, nearest friendly bombers, nearby ground targets, your home base, and more. If you are out of friendly radar range, you will be so informed. Although I have seen Ground Control be utterly wrong (like telling me no bandits are in my area as I'm merging with a group of 20 of them), I refer to it often in flight."

Al pilots are typical set or are randomly provided into three skill groups: Green, Seasoned, and Expert. You'll routinely encounter each type. Green pilots are cannon fodder. Seasoned pilots are more aggressive, but not much better defensively. Experts try historically correct evasive moves, along with aggressive offensive attitudes in the opening phases. However, even they can be drawn into turning fights, This Al weakness is most noticeable in a one-on-one fight; less apparent during the massive melees of the campaign missions.

Does the AI play by the same rules as you do? MicroProse have said they don't cheat; so it is possible to sneak up on them, getting right behind a fighter and occasionally they wouldn't do anything to shake you. They will use what tactics they have, effectively. One other thing is they will loose sight of you when you are real far away, allowing you to "escape". This is of course in v1.0 of the EAW where the AI planes tend to be subdued in comparison to V1.1 where the AI was enhanced, General dog fighting AI is adjusted to take more advantages of individual aircraft's capabilities. Bombers defensive logic is improved. Tail-gunners have improved bogey-tracking ability, and dive-bombers use proper evasive maneuvers when attacked. Bomber Escort and Bomber attack AI is improved. Escorts will try to stay in more strategic positions during combat, and attackers will be more aware of the escorts.

Questioning some of the modeling of the computer-flown aircraft in EAWv1.0. A Ju-88 can stand a chance of maneuvering against a P-51, and while the Bf-110 handles sluggishly in players hands, it seems to have a much higher performance once a computer pilot is flying it. Even single engine planes sometimes seem to defy the laws of physics with their high angle-of-attack, low speed maneuvers. Computer-controlled aircraft stall, but never seen spinning when it wasn't damaged.

In v1.2 Some players say that where the AI was enhanced with improved Combat Tactics, you'll see super moves by them that defy the laws of physics. They don't seem to make any mistakes while maneuvering; they may at times appear to push their planes beyond the limits of design. You won't witness an AI suffer any consequences, for an example; You won't see an AI plane visibly spin or stall out. You can be on their six following the same flight path as they are using, only to sometimes find yourself spinning or perhaps black/red out. 

The AI 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. Bomber gunner skill levels seem to vary like those of fighter pilots, so watchout for the expert tail gunners. Patience will bring you victory; It's fairly easy to pull AI pilots into a turning Dogfight that are not difficult to win, in a one-on-one situation, but those are rare. With more than 30 planes twisting and turning throughout the same airspace (Enormous formations of Bombers with escorting fighter squadrons), the sheer number of bad guys will keep you from getting complacent.

The Wingman/Squadron Radio; AI pilots within the player's squadron can be controlled by the user in Quick Start and Single Mission options, and gradually become available as the player receives promotions within their squadron in a Pilot Career you can also give orders to your flight, other individual flights in your squadron or your squadron as a whole. Your wingmen speak German if you fly for the Luftwaffe, and speak with an English or American accent if you fly for the RAF or US. The degree of combat difficulty is also partially determined by adjusting your Wingmen, rather than setting the enemy AI difficulty in the pre game setup.

Wingmen and radio communications allow for greater cooperation between players and artificial intelligence based wingmen. The Radio Commands also give more sophisticated control to perform simultaneous and cooperative attack formations. In v1.0 the AI doesn't respond to Commands as well as they do in v1.1 where the AI has been enhanced. AI pilots will now properly perform ground attacks when ordered. Ground control and AI squad leader use better logic for ordering retreats.  Retreating enemy AI will no longer attempt to land if under attack. AI rocket aim point adjusted for better accuracy. The commands include Engage Bandits, Cover Me, Attack Ground Targets, Attack my Target, Disengage, Loosen formation, Drop tanks, Loiter here and more. You can give your wingman (or wingmen) an order anytime.

You can request info from ground control to help find the enemy or to just help keep up with navigation. In v1.1 Ground control uses better vectoring and bogey-spotting logic. AI and autopilot landing logic was also improved, though don't trust your life on it if your aircraft is damaged.

See my 'AI Explained Help Document' for more information on the A.I.'s abilities and faults, including how other factors effect them.



There is a large list of realism/difficulty settings available that are highly customizable. You can fine-tune realism by toggling: wind, stalls/spins, the torque effect on single-engine planes, black/red out, engine overheating, structural limits, mid air collision, etc. The sheer number of variables that are configurable in EAW make this a game for everyone. Whether you're a sim nut or a beginning gamer you won't go wrong with this game. It's user friendly in terms of setup and difficulty. Enemy pilots range from rookies to aces, and their skills adjust accordingly.

The learning curve can be as shallow or as steep as you like. This is done by adjusting all the realism options to low thus making the game feel more like an arcade type style Sim. Then you can gradually add Realism settings one at a time, as you get used to the newer more difficult settings and gameplay, then you can go all out with everything set to Real-ish. Three different single player campaigns, over 20 practice missions, and multiplayer make this a game that will be tough to conquer, but well worth the effort.

The menu interface beautifully allows for any type of pilot to play and enjoy EAW. Its is well balanced, and cater not only to the sim-jockey, but the novice pilot who's looking for things to blow up more so than learning how to fly.

It allows for custom keyboard, mouse, joystick, and rudder configurations. The default configuration is quite good, and remarkably I didn't have to spend much time playing with the interface to get the sort of game I wanted. It offers plenty of challenge and reward.

There are still some things that can be improved, but overall, EAW has a decent menu system.



The main menu is one example of the high standards of presentation European Air War maintains throughout. All the interface screens are neatly executed in a variety of styles. A simple press of the right mouse button reveals any hotspots which may be lurking in the screen and on many screens, little pieces of animation such as your squadron mates beating up the airfield catch the eye. The whole interface works very well.



EAW doesn't disappoint when it comes to creating an authentic-feeling flight experience. With 20 flyable aircraft models and nine more solely computer-controlled, any fan of WWII aviation will find a flying experience to suit his tastes.

You can fly for the Americans (USAAF), the British (RAF), or the Germans (Luftwaffe) with the markings on the planes historically accurate. This not only allows you play both sides of the war, but it gives you the opportunity to fly quite a few different planes, 20 in all (20 differing models of 11 types), flying includes 6 American, 6 for the British and 8 from Germany. As well as see 10 non-flyable aircraft (10 models of 9 types) such as flights of B-17s that you will be fighter escort for. You also get to fly the German Me-262 (the first jet fighter aircraft), over most of Britain, France, and Germany in either a quick mission, single mission, or one of three campaigns; 1940: Battle of Britain, 1943: European Theater, or 1944: European Theater.


20 Flyable Aircraft
(11 Types)

United States Army Air Force

Royal Air Force

German Luftwaffe

Lockheed P-38H Lightning
Lockheed P-38J Lightning
Republic P-47C Thunderbolt
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
P-51B Mustang
P-51D Mustang

Supermarine Spitfire I-A
Supermarine Spitfire IX-C
Supermarine Spitfire XIV-E
Hawker Hurricane I
Hawker Typhoon IB
Hawker Tempest V


Messerschmitt Bf.109E-4
Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6
Messerschmitt Bf.109K-4
Messerschmitt Bf.110C-4
Messerschmitt Bf.110G-2
Focke-Wulf Fw.190A-8
Focke-Wulf Fw.190D-9
Messerschmitt Me262A-1 Schwalbe

10 UN-flyable A.I. Aircraft
(9 Types)

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Martin B-26B Marauder

De Havilland Mosquito IV

Heinkel He.111H-2
Junkers Ju.87B-2 Stuka
Junkers Ju.88A-4 (5?)
Junkers Ju.88C-6
Fiesler Fi.103 V-1 "BuzzBomb"
Messerschmitt Me.410A-1 Hornisse

Further more you can fly with a wing of 12 planes into a sortie that at times include two waves of bombers (about 24) and a similar number of fighters. This gives the game one of its greatest appeals, flying in a battle that is actually reminiscent of the great air battles of historical realism of WWII, supporting up to 256 planes in the air at once (limited to 20 plane types at once). It's quite spectacular to see huge formations of airplanes. Creates a powerful sight with twelve plane fighter squadrons and huge bomber wings.

50 plus planes is tough enough, combined with the total number of planes in the air and how the horizon seems to go on forever, flying through a pack of wounded bombers with flak and smoke with fighters is enough to feel just how small you are and how big the sky really is. The best way to defend your bombers is to chase away an enemy Focke-Wulf for a while. Watch out though, after he does a Split-S and minutes later you'll realize you're all alone and those bombers are now very far away.

Performance Comparison Table:


Engine output 
Overall Weight 
Maximum speed 
(miles / hour)
Wing surface load 
(lb / sq ft)
Lift capacity 
(feet / minute)
Utility increase limit 
Machine cannon 
(number of carried bullets)
Machine gun 
(number of carried bullets)
Rear machine gun 
(number of carried bullets)
Bf.109 E-4 1,100 5,520 354 32 3,280 36, 100 20 mm * 2 (60) 7.92 mm * 2 (1000)  
Bf.109 G-6 1,475 (1,800) 6,950 387 40 4,560 38,550 20 mm * 1 (150) 13 mm * 2 (300)  
Bf.109K-4 1,550 (2,000) 7,440 452 43 4,820 41,000 30 mm * 1 (65) 13 mm * 2 (300)  
Bf.110C-4 1,110 14,884 349 36 2,200 32,800 20 mm * 2 (180) 7.92 mm * 4 (2000) 7.92 mm * 1 (750)
Bf.110 G-2 1,475 15,430 343 37 2,500 36,300 20 mm * 2 (375) 7.92 mm * 4 (2000) 7.92 mm * 1 (800)
Fw.190A-8 1,700 (2,100) 9,750 408 49 3,600 37,400 20 mm * 4 (250, 125) 13 mm * 2 (400)  
Fw.190D-9 1,776 (2,240) 9,480 426 48 4,200 39,400 20 mm * 2 (250) 13 mm * 2 (400)  
Me. 262 A - 1 3,960 14,100 540 60 3,940 37,560 30 mm * 4 (100, 80)    
Hurricane Mk I 1,030 6,600 316 26 2,300 33,200   7.7 mm * 8 (668)  
Spitfire IA 1,030 5,784 355 24 2,500 34,000   7.7 mm * 8 (700)  
Spitfire IXC 1,565 7,500 408 31 4,150 44,000 20 mm * 2 (120) 7.7 mm * 4 (350)  
Spitfire XIVE 2,050 8,500 448 35 4,580 44,500 20 mm * 2 (120) 12.7 mm * 2 (250)  
Typhoon Mk IB 2,200 11,780 412 42 3,500 34,000 20 mm * 4 (140)    
Tempest Mk V 2,420 11,500 435 38 4,700 36,000 20 mm * 4 (200)    
P-38H 1,600 16, 300 402 50 3,500 39,000 20 mm * 1 (150) 12.7 mm * 4 (1000)  
P-38J 1,600 17,500 414 53 3,800 44,000 20 mm * 1 (150) 12.7 mm * 4 (1000)  
P-47C 2,300 13,500 419 45 2,800 41,000   12.7 mm * 8 (850)  
P-47D 2,600 14,500 436 49 3,200 40,000   12.7 mm * 8 (850)  
P-51B 1,600 9,690 439 41 3,500 42,000   12.7 mm * 4 (350, 270)  
P-51D 1,720 10, 100 437 43 3,500 41,900   12.7 mm * 6 (400, 270)



The aircraft 3D models are detailed and managed to avoid the 'straight out of the box' look which many sims display and there is a wide variety of eye candy to catch the player's eye such as the stream of shell cases that falls from the aircraft when the guns are fired and the contrails which the aircraft leave at certain heights.

The painted look of the aircraft; With oil streaks, markings, and their respective camouflage, they just seem to fit in the EAW world. However except for engines feathering, the aircraft graphics don't really change. For example, while the top turret on a B-17 is able to fire in a 360 degree arc, it stays graphically locked at 12 o'clock. Similarly, EAW doesn't really graphically model damage to the airframe (except for the engines and if you lose a wing or wings), so don't look for any B-17s limping back to base with elevators shot up or with a mangled nose. There are also no visible control surfaces, and this would be a nice addition in the "eye candy" department.

Aircraft exterior graphics look great up close, but are disappointing when range increases: They rapidly lose detail and transition to tiny crosses and then to dots. This makes it difficulty in identifying distant targets without using the arcade-ish view zooming or the Target ID text (plane type and range). Because of the default resolution of 640x480 limiting far off details and the way the planes are scaled, you have to get very close, more so than in real life to identify them. For an example, a real B17's wingspan is 104 feet and the length is 75 feet. In the game at about three miles, a B17's profile view shows as a dark horizontal line. This line should be at ten miles away, not the unrealistic of three miles. You should see the vertical stabilizer at half that distance of five miles; two miles away you should be able to see the gear if its down or up.

Another game limitation is the paint skin should have details like cockpit windows at 5,000 feet away but the planes in the game are scaled too small to have large details. At about 1,500 feet a Hurricane on high detail setting is still a small cross. The insignia shows up at about 400 feet (25% of real life distance). Using low detail settings, planes skin details quickly become much harder to see. You have to use the arcade-ish features of the game to substitute for the unrealistic size of plane art, such as; Target Boxes with ID tags, cockpit views off or on, zoom views and other methods that are not available to a real world WWII pilot. (owners of Voodoo2 cards won't see any benefits in having a better video card either, as the game can only use a maximum of 2MB of texture memory in EAWv1.0, however that maximum limit is removed in EAWv1.1 and allows all Voodoo2 texture memory areas).




The Flight model is usually the defining measure of a hard-core combat simulation (and a potential long time player). The flight model is certainly on the "advanced" side of the bell curve and features believable real-world flight effects such as torque, stalls, spins, compressibility, nose-up descents, and the like.

Each aircraft has its own unique flight envelope, rather than 20 "cookie cutter" models. , The P51D has a much lower tolerance for spinning. The P-47 has the most torque. The FW190 is surprisingly hard to handle at low speeds and also quite prone to spins. These flight model differences become readily apparent in combat. True to life, the P-47 will easily dive away from almost anything flying, the FW190 will out-roll most of the aircraft in the sim, the Spitfire will out-turn the Bf109 handily, and the Me262 will take a decent amount of time to accelerate to its world famous speeds.

There are also many small but significant factors that really add to the sim experience. Battle of Britain-era Spitfires and Hurricanes were infamous for their inability to perform negative-G maneuvers because of their gravity-based engine carburetors, whereas the Germans used a fuel-injected engine that did not suffer from this limitation. You will see this effect (or lack thereof) modeled.

It can be quite an adjustment moving to another type of aircraft after accumulating many hours in one model.

The flight model in realistic mode is easy to fly however the game offers enough physics to make flying feel believable with speed and dive limitations to all of the aircraft; you really need to take care not to exceed the limits of what your plane was designed for, or what a human pilot can take himself. For instance, G-forces will have realistic effects on your craft, possibly sending you into the not so famous 'spin/stall' that will require some standard recovery techniques to get you back in level flight. Also during air combat G-force can cause the human pilot (you) to experience black-outs and red-outs. These are attained very easy. In the v1.1 patch version, it should be noted that black-out and red-out effects where reduced, and are better balanced for game play than they where previously.


While the flight model isn't "cutting-edge real," it does the job of modeling the characteristics necessary to immerse you in combat. The model works well in play. Engine overheat (keeps you from just leaving the throttle wide open), structural damage (limits your dive capability), wind, turbulence and engine torque (full throttle gives a gentle drift and it doesn't change in magnitude as the throttle moves), and midair collisions have been included and can be turned off for those of you just learning to fly. Your guns can jam if used in a high-speed turn, so you have to be careful not to move the stick too much while shooting. Also you'll find that the Me262 Jet guns jam a bit too easy.

All the characteristics of FM's indicate a preference for playability rather than realism. Flaps deploy at any speed and the energy bleed in the turns is often almost non existent. Dropping flaps generates minor changes in pitch and slowly affects airspeed. In a patched v1.1 game, all aircraft with regular flaps where improved; Flaps can no longer be deployed at high speed and make sure you retract your flaps above 250mph, or they may be damaged. Also in v1.1 Combat Flaps where added to the P-51 and P-38. They can be deployed at speeds up to 350-425mph, using the same key as the regular flaps (F key).


Break down the flight model piece-by-piece and you'll see a lot of cracks, but the result overall is a very effective one.

Apparently the designers were under pressure from the Powers that Be at MicroProse to release the product in time for the Christmas Rush. What came out initially (v1.0) was a version in which the British Planes seemed to have magical powers over all the other aircraft in the game, and naturally if you were involved in either a Luftwaffe Squadron, or an American Squadron you were sadly disappointed in the way the aircraft were modeled.

EAW also does not model the throttles on the Me262 Jet correctly---they were supposed to be extremely tricky to operate in real life. If you moved them too fast, an engine would flame out. The German aces said the best thing to do was find a setting that you liked (!) and leave the throttles there! In EAW's Me262 you can advance from minimum to maximum power (or vice versa) instantly with no problems.

Unfortunately WEP, Nitro Boost or Methanol-Water Injection is not fully modeled into the game. There also is no special key to enable the boost, instead it's simulated by pushing the throttle to full power. In EAW this is considered 100% power. Your engines will gradually overheat when using WEP (The last aprox 10% power to get the extra muscle).

Gun Convergence isn't really modeled in EAW - your rounds will never pass each other at any point, it just kinda looks as though they do. At very close ranges, you'll get some of that effect, as one wing of your guns will be hitting and the other missing. But that's at ranges of, say, point blank.

In most situations, the aircraft will virtually fly itself into the air. When landing, your super-powerful wheel brakes allow remarkably short landing runs.

 It also seems that the aircraft sometimes stalls and spins off of the "wrong" wing.


One of European Air War's features is that it models torque. Sure enough, in the air, the aircraft that should demonstrate the effects of torque do. Unfortunately these effects are not as prominent as one would expect. The point in the flight where torque plays the largest part; take off, torque effects are absence (played with the difficulty levels set to maximum). Other flight sims have much more takeoff torque. Try taking off in an European Air War Spitfire, you should be constantly riding the rudder to get the nose of the spit pointing more or less down the runway. However you can shove the throttle forward and not bother touching the stick until the wheels leave the runway.



A few shortcomings in flight modeling are Takeoffs and landings, they are fairly easy to perform, even on highest difficulty. Takeoff's you can do while drinking coffee.

The best way of performing a takeoff in European Air War is automatically letting go of the stick and add full throttle. Most of the aircraft in European Air War are taildraggers and when the stick is pushed forward to raise the tail of the aircraft, a weird fore and aft oscillation sets in for a couple of seconds. When the stick is pulled back, the performance is repeated before the wheels finally leave the ground. On aircraft with nosewheels, you just get the oscillations when you pull back. The upshot of this is that most takeoffs are very unrealistic and that by the time everything has damped down and straightened up, the aircraft has run off the end of the runway. The ME262 in particular is very prone to this. Fortunately, as we will see, this doesn't result in instant disaster. One nice point is that squadron colleagues have the same problem suggesting that the AI pilots are using the same flight model as the player. As mentioned above, the best way to perform a take off is to open the throttle and not touch the controls until the plane unsticks. None too realistic I fear.



A shortcoming in flight modeling are also the landings, they are fairly easy to perform, even on highest difficulty.

Landing, is however, difficult to gauge because you don't hear the sound of your tires hitting the ground. However in the v1.1 patch, it fixed the Landing sound so it will now play correctly when the gears touch the ground. Autopilot landings aren't very successful. The ground overall acts as a single tarmac with no change in friction makes this a bit easy. You might as well land anywhere you want if you have wheels, you can't belly-land. In v1.1 Realistic Ditching was added (Gear-up Landing): You can now more easily survive a gear-up landing. You will still take damage as you slide on the ground, though, so try to be as slow and level as possible when you hit.

Landings are way too forgiving. Once again, I encourage you to try to land a Spitfire in another flight sim then give it a try in European Air War. The player can whack the aircraft into the tarmac at ludicrous speeds and angles and get away with it. You don't even have to hit the runway and in fact it is possible to land pretty much anywhere in the European Air War landscape. (landing difficulty setting set to difficult). Things are not helped by the total absence of any audible feedback such as the squeak of tires meeting the tarmac.

This leniency extends to any contact with mother earth. Get incautiously low in a strafing run and the chances are that at worst you'll be told you've damaged at oil line. On one take off, I was using the external view and mucked up badly. My Spit half rolled just after takeoff and dug a wingtip in producing a fine trail of dust (a neat effect I thought). I managed to get things straightened up and flew off in an aircraft apparently none the worse for wear.



Once clear of the ground, the flight models become reformed characters. The difference between the various aircraft is noticeable, both in normal flight (or as normal as flight gets in a dogfight) and at the extremes of the flight envelope.

The spin recovery technique is much simplified in European Air War with a closed throttle and opposite rudder usually being sufficient to regain control.

The one factor that scares anyone to try to fly better in EAW, are the dreaded 'stall/spins' as they are called. This is one unfortunate downfall of the FMs of the game as Spins aren't modeled totally accurately. The stalls and spins come hand and hand in EAW, but they shouldn't always be a combo (They are not in Real Life). They do take you briefly "out of the fight," when they do occur. As a result, pilots will need to keep their speed up at all times and try to avoid any fancy maneuvers in the hopes of not stalling one of the wings. Audio and visual cues give plenty of warning but If you experience this combo (and you will), make sure you have enough altitude to recover. In the v1.1 patch, arcade-ish automatic Leading-edge Slats are added to the Bf.109, Bf.110, and Me.262, making them slightly less prone to enter an accelerated stall. The problem of the stall/spin still exists for all planes controlled by a human pilot.



The flight model does hold one trap for the unwary. If you stay in a vertical dive for too long, you may find that your steed will refuse to raise its nose leaving the player with the simply choice of hitting the silk or getting a first hand experience of how a lawn dart feels. I know that some aircraft such as early versions of the P38 displayed this behavior but most of the aircraft in European Air War seem afflicted in this way. I don't think it's an accelerated stall either because it can set in at relatively low airspeed.



The damage model is one of EAW's strongest areas.

Although most airframe damage is not modeled visually, it is clear that the game has a complex system of tracking it. Individual control surfaces, crew, engines, etc. can all be damaged and destroyed, and it seems that even individual bomber gun positions can be eliminated. When approaching a badly damaged enemy bomber, it's not uncommon to see only certain gun positions firing at you.

Possible damage areas to your aircraft are not listed in the manual, but after several hours of play the following can be reported:
right or left ailerons,
tail section (elevators & rudder),
oil loss,
holes in your windshield (2D cockpits only)
and loss of one or both wings are all included in the damage model.

If you keep your engine at 100% for an extended period of time you'll overheat your engine(s) and you'll start losing pistons (and the power they generate) which eventually leads to your whole engine blowing. It is also possible to be killed in flight, which will send you to an outside view of your plane going down with a blood-splattered windshield.

More about the bombers; in general seem to be far more vulnerable than one would expect. Very often, they will literally fireball after what seems like a short burst of gunfire; this happens both before and after bomb runs. It can't be modeling a hit to a stored bomb. Given the legendary durability of the B-17 Flying Fortress, I wouldn't expect them to explode just so easily.

Damaged Bombers will slowly drop out of formation, falling victim to enemy fighters. Trailing behind a bomber and pounding it gives the effect one would expect in real life, not too hard and not too easy.

A Drawback is your able to collapse a building complex by strafing it with guns.



EAW incorporates a solid system of weapons ballistics, performance, and damage. Because of the wide variety of weapons carried on WWII tactical aircraft, it pays for the pilot to learn the performance of the weapons attached to his aircraft. The amount of ammo, ballistics, and striking power of a British .303 is modeled very differently than the 30mm Mk108 mounted in some German aircraft!

Machine guns and cannons are modeled believably. Gravity is also modeled quite well, and it becomes a challenge to hit a fighter-sized target beyond 1500 ft. Bullets striking the ground throw up a realistic-looking geyser of dirt or water, and the tracers loaded in the ammunition provide easy aiming tools. You will quickly realize that although your weapons may have a respectable range (the American .50 caliber is notable here), the most successful pilots will only fire at near point-blank range from their opponent. I typically first open fire at ranges of 200 to 600 feet. Generally, when a fighter's wingspan spreads across your gunsight reticle, you are close enough to fire with little or no deflection.

In some ways, EAW is as much an exercise in ammunition management as it is flying, as all but a few of the German fighters realistically lack an ammunition counter. You can conserve ammunition by only selecting a few of your guns at a time, but you will consistently be amazed at how fast ammunition is used.

Ammunition jams are also modeled and are especially frustrating because they cannot be cleared in mid-air. They occur most frequently in high-g or sustained-fire situations, but they also happen for no apparent reason, especially in certain aircraft like the Me262.

Bombs and rockets are extremely difficult to aim (as they should be), but also have strange damage effects. As far as I can tell, the blast radius for most 500 lb. or 1,000 lb. bombs is fairly small, and I have dropped 1,000 lb. bombs literally in the middle of a convoy only to see a sole truck destroyed. Similarly, I have released 500 lb. bombs at ridiculously low altitudes and experienced no damage to my airframe, although I have blown myself up with 1,000 lb. bombs released too low. Rockets and bombs are single-shot weapons...no matter how many are carried on your aircraft, all are released at once. You can, however, toggle only rockets or only bombs if your aircraft is carrying both.


As good as the damage model is, the bailing out sequence is modeled some what poorly. When you do finally hit the silk you are instantaneously taken out of your aircraft and floating down to safety. This means it is possible to bail out and survive at any aircraft attitude, or speed as well as at very high speeds and in violent spins. If you bail out over enemy territory, you run the risk of being captured, but you may also be rescued and live to fight again.

In v1.1 bailouts are realistic: You will now free-fall for a period of time before your chute deploys, though it will still deploy automatically. Depending on the plane's orientation and speed and G-forces (level and slow is best) when you bail out, there is also a chance you may hit the tail of the plain during egress, injuring yourself and delaying the opening of the chute or even destroying it (or your capability to auto-pull the ripcord). Ideally you should be as slow (under 200-250 mph) and as level as possible, and in any case at least a couple thousand feet above ground before you attempt to bail out.

Realistic Ditching (Gear-up landing): You can now more easily survive a gear-up landing. You will still take damage as you slide on the ground, though, so try to be as slow and level as possible when you hit.




Each plane has individual and historically accurate cockpits for each flyable airplane. Interior cockpit graphics are a bit disappointing though. While they feature working gauges, the blurry artwork makes the gauges hard to read. However you will see Turning prop blades and enough details to immerse a player. (Note: The cockpits do not actually fit in the plane models themselves, therefore separate wing views are used, these pieces of the cockpit are all combined during the game, seamless to the player).

The 2D standard (the so called static) cockpits are not as nice as those found in other Sims (from around 1998); The dials on the gauges are not as sharp as you'd expect. They work accurately but most are unreadable with faint and blurry needles, you just get a general sense of what the dials are displaying, such as level of heat to the engine. There is an arcade-ish HUD of small text in the corners of the screen, with speed and altitude listed to help do a quick assessment on your planes performance. The 2D cockpits also have features like bullet holes and oil on the windshield.

The 3D Virtual cockpits look unfinished with far less detail than the 2D counterparts (In v1.1 when you use a higher resolution than the default for the game, these are the only cockpits able to be displayed. The cockpit graphics are actually at an image resolution of 800x600). There called 3D cockpits because of the ability to pan around in a 3D cockpit environment giving you as close to reality as monitor can (The game can't actually simulate the total experience you would have in real life, with panning of the head and eye, and the eye focusing on the distance. This is true for all Sims), but its the best at the time.



EAW models a number of views to choose from. In addition to the typical 2-D cockpit views, a virtual cockpit is also modeled, with head motion controlled by the mouse. Both of these modes allow you to zoom in your view to spot targets on the ground or in the air...think of it as using binoculars. Blackouts and redouts are modeled, although you can still easily fly from external view while blacked out. EAW's in-flight map is disappointing...not only can it not be zoomed or scaled, but it displays aircraft icons and in such a way that you usually can't make out where you actually are.

The instruments in your cockpit are all functional and more or less historically accurate, although they can be hard to read. A command is available to superimpose the name of each gauge, but pilots will want to learn what is what without this prompt.

External views of your aircraft are possible in either free-floating or a number of fixed views, and can be manipulated and zoomed. You are free to cycle your external view to any aircraft by hitting F9, which provides a bit of a cheat in spotting enemy formations but makes for entertaining viewing. Lastly, EAW's free-floating camera mode is great for sitting still and watching a battle unfold in front of you.

EAW provides a simple but effective targeting system that allows you to highlight enemy aircraft for easier spotting. What is nice about this feature is that it too is customizable...you can have it show aircraft type, range, a small identification box, or any combination of the above. Considering EAW's fixed (and low) graphics resolution, I don't consider using this feature to be as much a cheat. You can also toggle through friendly aircraft and display the same information. A similar command is available if you are flying an air-to-ground mission. Because your primary ground targets are often (realistically) difficult to see on the EAW terrain, a similar targeting box can appear over it. Once an aircraft is targeted, you can also choose to show its speed, altitude, and bearing in the lower right of your screen, although I consider this to be more of a cheat and rarely use it.

Both padlock and quick "snap" views are available, and I find both to be functional and useful. Snap views give you a quick look in a chosen direction, including your "six," which normally is blocked by your seat (as it should be). Padlock tracks your currently selected target and, just like most other sims' padlock views, it keeps your "head" moving around the cockpit to keep the target in sight. When in padlock view, there are visual indicators on the side of the screen to keep you oriented and also to show you where the targeted object is.


A wide range of views available. The obligatory virtual cockpit (another 1942:Pacific Air War innovation if I recall correctly) is there as are two sets of fixed views, one a conventional set of views from the cockpit and a second set of 'snap' views which flick back to the front when the key which activates them is released and which dispenses with such things as the frame of the canopy or the structure of the player's aircraft. Strangely, only the snap views have a '6' view. Some deadly interaction between my Saitek X36 and European Air War meant that whenever I assigned the default key for the snap 6 view to a button, pressing that button would immediately send my aircraft into an unrecoverable dive. Not fun. Fortunately the keys in European Air War are re-definable and assigning the snap 6 view to anther key and then programming that key into my joystick solved the problem.

Tracking planes is fairly easy; Nearly every type of viewing option is supplied with a "zoom". The function keys provide
a full circle of overlapping (so you don't miss a thing as you follow a target from view position to view position) fixed views. The virtual cockpit and padlock options let you look around the cockpit in 3D, and external camera views enable sightseeing or spying on enemy formations. There's a simple, effective snap view system using the numerical keypad, although you'll notice aircraft structure is inexplicably missing in the up and rear views.  (Only in the 3D cockpit you can use the mouse to look around freely).



Other aids available to the pilot include the option to have the player's speed, course and altitude appear at the bottom left of the cockpit.

 There is also a display for the currently targeted enemy, it appears on the bottom right of the flight screen. I actually made use of this facility because in most of the European Air War aircraft, gauges such as the air speed indicator can only be read by bringing up the full instrument panel view which is not recommended in the heat of a dogfight. European Air War also has the facility to allow the player to 'lock on' to an aircraft, either friendly or otherwise, or a ground feature. The player can choose how much information about this target they want displayed on screen which adds flexibility to the difficulty of the sim.


The following information below, following this paragraph, explains the arcade like features of the cockpits and there usable functions. This makes gameplay faster compared to what a real WWII pilot in the real world would be use too. Thus this can ruin the immersion factor of the game for some players. Others will find it, that since it speeds up gameplay, it improves their fun factor.

Plane operation is very simple (some what welcomed) in comparison to other WWII Sims. This is the one area of EAW that is unchangeable (no options or mudding will effect operation) and has more of an semi-arcade to full automation type of management. There are no settings to add realism to Plane Management. 

The Virtual cockpit has an arcade (or contemporary) padlock view, where the pilots head follows a locked target. The padlock feature isn't the best. Padlock features are supposed to simulate eye and head movement, allowing the pilot to look out his canopy and get a visual on his opponent. The padlock view in EAW maybe too slow for your tastes, and while I understand that things such as speed and G-force play a factor in this I still think a pilot would be able to see more than you can in this view.

The target tracking mode, for those that use it is very simplistic. There is a little red "x" along the edge of the screen telling you the direction of the enemy target. You often will lose sight of this and may prefer the 3D box used in the Jane's product, or even the 3D cone in Microsoft's game.

The locked target can then be used with a Target ID Box, another modern plane feature. With a descriptive text tag that assists you in sorting friends from enemies. This is necessary to use this built in "cheat" since the scaling of distant aircraft when using the default resolution is poor, they appear as dots or tiny crosses due to the lower resolution that v1.0 is limited at. Without the targeting option your forced to get very, very close to an aircraft to do a visual identification. V1.1 introduces higher resolutions, and improves distant aircraft shapes a bit better.

The forward looking cockpit view has a zoom or magnifying option to take a peek closer, but the field of view is too narrow, it's difficult to use unless the object being viewed isn't moving around a lot. Other times it can be very helpful. This is another contemporary feature that can reduce the realism of a WWII game, Zoom magnifies too many steps in. Unfortunately there is no realism setting to turn this zoom option off. If the designers of the game used just one step zoom, that would have been enough for the realism to stay intact.

Gun tracers are rather over used, but look and work great. You are able to make (probably not too realistic) long distance kills, far farther than in real life WWII combats.

An in-flight Pilot Map is also available, it shows basically where most of the enemy planes are at and your way points.  However you can't zoom in to get a decent look at the positions of yourself or others making it cumbersome at best. The plane sprite markers at the higher resolutions are too close to determine distant and direction in most cases. As a side note: The map takes into account the curvature of the earth for more accurate measurements.



The most obvious and totally manual management is where you primarily have to watch your Engine Temperature and not let it overheat in critical circumstances with Throttle control. This appears to be judged by the game with Oil Temp or Coolant Temp or Cylinder Head Temp. This is dependent on the plane type. You also can turn the Engine(s) on or off independently.

The rest of Plane Management is the typical, with Gear and Flaps; Up and Down. Stick Axis for climb, descend, turn (rudder) and bank (ailerons). There's also some Weapons/Armament management where you select what you want and when you want to use it. The Gunsight has several sorta arcade-ish, zoom steps to it for 'sniping'.

The fully automated (or Arcade style operations) that are usually un-noticeable unless your watching the performance of your plane intensely, are wing slats extending/retracting (on planes that have them), superchargers opening/closing (on planes that have them). Engine cowls open/close (on planes that have them), Prop Pitch, Trim, Fuel Mixture... Note: There's no graphic representation of these operations.




The control options where pretty well done as EAW supports a wide variety of Joystick brands, but only partial support for additional controls, like Rudder Pedals. Only one Joystick can be detected, but you can have another type of controller connected, more so when all controls are physically or virtually linked.

The common setup of a analog or digital Flight Joystick (with twist handle and throttle), Keyboard and Mouse (used primarily for views and camera). You have full button assignment to the primarily Joystick, as all keyboard commands can be added. The game in most cases assigns basic default functions to a properly detect flight stick automatically.

The force feedback is excellent, switchable between three settings; Disabled, Realistic or a strong Arcade setting with a built in FF sensitivity slider. These FF "actions" appear to be directly tied to sounds in the game. Such as bullets hitting your plane and engine torque when taking off etc...

If you don't already have a force-feedback joystick, several brands where available on the market back in 1998, today there are a few new ones made. I highly recommend adding one to your computer. The EAW WWII flight combat experience is a lesser game without it.

See my 'Joystick and Controls Help Document' for much in-depth support information on the controls.




EAW is as much a lesson in WWII aviation as a game. Reference material about the war, the crews, and the aircraft is provided to view and learn from. While there is no flight training component to speak of, there is more than enough reference material to give food for thought about how to survive the unforgiving European skies.

The well laid-out 256-page manual provides background information, aircraft statistics, covers the mechanics of flight, the workings of the game, the background to the three campaigns and the expected "how-tos" of playing. It's very useful, fairly consistent with the game itself, and relatively error-free. There is a Readme file included with the product installation that updates the manual and also lists some newer, undocumented features. A laminated three-fold keyboard reference card is also included. The full color keyboard guide (In the US release, the key guide occupies the back cover of the manual in the European release).

EAW includes an HTML-based "Flight School" (not integrated into the sim itself), which is a collection of 63 pages that provide more detailed lessons in WWII tactics, aircraft, and history. I found this information to be well-done, informative, and a nice addition to the sim.

Within the program itself, users will find a great amount of information about the war and the aircraft in the "Newsreel" and "View Objects" sections. Between the two, EAW contains about 20 minutes of video, most of it actual newsreel and gun camera footage from the war. I found this information to be absolutely riveting and have watched each video repeatedly. In Newsreel, five 3-minute videos of the war (Battle of Britain, the Allied bombing missions/campaigns of Berlin, Schweinfurt, and "Big Week," and the preparations for D-Day) provide excellent historical background, while the "View Objects" section offers 1 minute videos of the P-47, P-51, Bf109, FW190, Me262, Hurricane, Spitfire, and Typhoon. Users can also view more stats about sim's aircraft (flyable or not), as well as view the sim's model of each specific airframe, which can be magnified, rotated, and rolled for recognition purposes.

All three major information/media sources that the EAW Team included, creates an excellent documentation package.


EAW is an atmospheric, and involving flight/arcade type simulator with its dynamic campaigns and a multitude of mission options, EUROPEAN AIR WAR provides plenty of entertainment on a single CD. There's an epic quality to the depiction of the air war here with its large battles, and while some aspects could have been better, EAW has an unmatched immersion from the first loading screen (and other menu screens), it gives you the 1940's retro feel. With screens of Hangers and the Armament Board etc...it truly makes you feel like you're defending the skies of Europe, If you're a WWII air combat junkie, you're in for some fun filled game play.

At the time of release, EAW had used a lot of the newer technology available but didn't push the barrier. While this game certainly isn't the prettiest of the lot, nor is it the most sophisticated or innovative, it sure is fun to play. Nothing within EAW seems out of place and nothing's been added that wasn't supposed to be. Much of the game's beauty is in its commitment to historical accuracy. If you've always wanted to fly combat missions during World War II, you may be-able to find out what it must have been like by playing this game, and you'll have tons of fun in the process.

Stability and smooth running are among the things that make it popular, including a lot of action, like huge swarms of aerial battles with bombers and fighters zooming around without having to have a monster computer to run them. v1.2 even includes a option to have more control over even larger flights.

EAW certainly is a whole lot more today (2015) than it was when released (1998). After EAW aged 6 years from its release it still was going strong (2004). Today (2015) with all the add-ons and mods made by numerous authors, you can cherry pick them (for EAWv1.2 use) to make single packages to play. Like a bunch of new planes and terrain and skies , etc...Mostly improved and of higher quality than the stock game. (Most of the popular ones where made in 1999-2002, some even made up to 2005 and beyond those years).

For a treat, see my 'Files Help Document' page for more information regarding background on EAW and the community add-ons that improve the game beyond this review.

There are also EAW Community or Independent made versions based on the v1.2 exe and game data. See my 'First Use Help Document' for more details on those "Modifications/Patches" or "versions/types".

There's no doubt about it, European Air War is an excellent product with a few minor issues which many where corrected with the first patch, v1.1. Balanced against these issues is the fact that European Air War offers one of the most immersive flying experiences out there and the sensation of attacking 30 plus bombers while trying to keep an eye out for their equally numerous escort has to be experienced to be believed. There is no doubt that MicroProse have returned to the flight sim scene with a bang back in 1998.

Christopher Coon writes (2-02-2000):

Amazing...errr..."interesting" community here!

I don't think releasing the source code's completely out of the question, but it's kind of a tough sell to the higher-ups. Makes sense to me, though. Same with the terrain editor, it's just sitting on an archive drive somewhere.

Some EAW trivia:

The Birds are real, it's a random encounter if you keep flying below 3000 or 5000 feet or something like that. If you run into them they'll smack into your engine or crack your canopy.

The little people turn into green aliens if you type in the easter egg phrase, which I think is Friends From Out Of Town (note the caps). (Brandon Gamblin put that and the birds in).

There is a very extensive simulation of industrial output as it affects aircraft production, based on historical data combined with the results of the dynamic campaign (number of factories destroyed, rail lines disabled, etc). Though it may be tough sometimes to distinguish between those several months of work on a complex macro economic simulation and a simple Random 1-100.

Same with AI, I guess, how do you distinguish between a simulation of an AI pilot's ambitions, hopes, fears and dreams (EAW!?), and a random 50% turn left, 50% turn right?

The enemy placement, btw, happens before you take off, then they "wake up" about 15 miles away to essentially guarantee an encounter. More fun that way [sim-like], though yes in reality they often flew for hours without incident.



European Air War's Credits; MicroProse EAW Team:


Martin De Riso  PRODUCER
Tsuyoshi Kawahito  GAME DESIGN
Tsuyoshi Kawahito  LEAD PROGRAMMER
Brandon Gamblin  PROGRAMMER
Susan Clausen  LEAD ARTIST
Rob Cloutier  ARTIST
Dave Thompson  ARTIST
Matt Bell  ARTIST
Erik Ehoff  ARTIST
Sam Laskowski  ARTIST
Thomas Nichols  MARKETING
Adrian Turner  MARKETING
John Possidente  DOCUMENTATION
Richard Henning  DOCUMENTATION
Tsuyoshi Kawahito  DOCUMENTATION
Tom Falzone - Supervisor  QUALITY ASSURANCE
Steve Purdie - Test Lead  QUALITY ASSURANCE
Mark Gutknecht - Test Lead  QUALITY ASSURANCE

Martin De Riso Producer
Tsuyoshi Kawahito Game Design
Tim Goodlett Design Support
Warren Capps Design Support
Tsuyoshi Kawahito Lead Programmer
Rob Hafey Programmer
Brandon Gamblin Programmer
Chris Coon Programmer
Will Gee Programmer
Rob Knopf Programmer
Susan Clausen Paquin Lead Artist
Dave Thompson Art
Rob Cloutier Art
Matt Bell Art
Erik Ehoff Art
Sam Laskowski Art
Evan Brown Art
Mike Reis Art
John Cameron Art
Stacey Tranter Art
Roland Rizzo Music Composer
Mark Cromer Audio Design & Recording
Mark Reis Audio Design & Recording
Jonathan Bryce Voice Talent
Brandon Gamblin Voice Talent
Mike Dubose Voice Talent
Dave Ellis Voice Talent
Mark Reis Voice Talent
Mark Cromer Voice Talent
Anne Stone Documentation
John Possidente Documentation
Tim Goodlett Documentation
Richard Henning Documentation
Reiko Yamamoto - Layout & Design Documentation
Tom Nichols - U.S. Marketing
Adrain Turner - UK Marketing
Thomas Sewing - Germany Marketing
Kathy Sanguinetti - Public Relations Marketing
Steve Purdie - Test Lead Quality Assurance
Mark Gutknecht - Test Lead Quality Assurance
Paul Ambrose Quality Assurance
Tim Beggs Quality Assurance
Matt Bittman Quality Assurance
Ellie Crawley Quality Assurance
Mike Davidson Quality Assurance
Rose Kofsky Quality Assurance
Charles Lane Quality Assurance
Jason Lego Quality Assurance
Brandon Martin Quality Assurance
Rex Martin Quality Assurance
Sal Saccheri Quality Assurance
Rick Saffery Quality Assurance
Jeff Smith Quality Assurance
Karen Ffinch Localization
Sarah Collins Localization
SDL Localization
Tom Basham Special Thanks
Brian Workman Special Thanks
Doug Jeanes Special Thanks
"Lad" Doctor Special Thanks
RAF Wing Commander James Isles (Retired) Special Thanks
Marisa Ong Special Thanks
Kathryn Lynch Special Thanks
Amanda Colliss Special Thanks
Christopher Eldridge Special Thanks
Ming Cheung Special Thanks
Sammy the Wonder Beagle Special Thanks


v1.1 Patch Credit - Special Thanks: The EAW Team would like to thank the following for their help and support in regards to the patch: MicroProse U.K. QA team, Mike Dubose, Chrispy Bowling, Andrew Luckett, Gabe Turk, David Vandervoot, Mike Dunn, Rrevved, Andy Hess, Ravi "Raaavi!" Mehta, Karen Ffinch & Matt Ployhar.


v1.2 Patch Credit - Special Thanks: to Chris (Coon), Brandon (Gamblin), Martin (?De Riso?), QA (?Quality Assurance?) and the Beta Testers for making 1.2 happen!

Chris Coon (2-02-2000):

There are basically two versions of EAW, a first version started in '94 through '97 when everybody quit because it wasn't working (and went to Meyer Glass where they did Missile Command PC), then a second version that was started with a new team, essentially from scratch, in late '97.

I think we really tried to keep sim-like wherever possible...there were some very hardcore simmers and history buffs on the project at various times. One thing was that we were under huge time and deadline pressure, so there were frequent decisions such as, do we spend the day coding rime ice effects on wing lift, or have little people run out of buildings when you strafe them?

Tsuyoshi Kawahito ("TK"), who was the lead programmer for the New Beginning phase and put in 100 hour weeks (literally) for over a year, also worked on EA's Longbow and Longbow2.

The EAW team has spread out a bit (since EAW): Brandon Gamblin is on the upcoming Gunship III and M1 Tank III projects (I did some work on it too); Myself and Will Gee are on the upcoming X-COM: Alliance project, and TK is founder of http://www.thirdwire.com doing an unnamed secret project of great interest to all.



In this Full Review of EAW, which is primarily based on v1.0, the version on the CD. I have included info and references, where notable, some, if not all of the changes provided by the only two official MPS EAW Team released patches, v1.1 and v1.2. The v1.1 patch has cleaned up a lot of the bugs and dislikes that people found in version 1.0. The v1.2 patch was a heavy follow up.

See my 'MicroProse Patches Help Document' for these changes listed on there own.