Attack on Pearl Harbour, like its name suggests, is an arcade-cross-WWII flight sim that gives you the ability to re-enact that fateful day on 7th December 1941 as either the US or Japanese air force. Although, unlike its name suggests, the actual campaign mode takes you on a whirlwind trip, beginning with Pearl Harbour through to the end of the war.
Admittedly, I’m not the largest flight simulator fan. However, I use the term flight simulator very loosely here as anyone dreaming of fiddling with various knobs and buttons to navigate your rackety old plane up in the air will be whole-heartedly disappointed with the rather rudimentary ‘space bar’ command.
Also, as a quick note, yes, the WWII game market is over saturated and yes, undoubtedly you have played a Pearl Harbour mission several times before but I believe this is quite an innovative take on a WWII game. It’s something I’ve never experienced before.
Now, start those engines…or press the space bar, I mean…and get on with the review!
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There are two campaigns available for each side, which lead you through the major events of the war after 1941. The majority of missions for the Japanese and US campaigns are on the same battlefield, allowing you to fight in various famous locations and battles, such as Midway and Iwo Jima, from the whichever side you choose.
The storyline is told through comic strips that appear at the start and end of the game and keep in with the arcade-esque feel of the game. I couldn’t help but feel this was a bit of a cop-out and was really just a way to get around making an animated opening sequence.
The US campaign puts you in charge of Douglas Knox, the lean, mean, fighting machine, although this is merely the default name and it is possible to add your own egotistical brute-hardy name if you so wish. The first campaign for the US, The Gathering, primarily sees you in dogfights as you defend your airways from the impending invasion of the Japanese air force.
The Japanese campaign, titled Pearl Harbour, is more bombing based as you rip apart the American fleets – cackling as you watch them billow smoke and plunge to the depths.
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An interesting point that I didn’t realise until later in the game was that you can actually fail the mission you are assigned to do and then progress onto the next one. This allows you to skip missions that are too difficult with the only detrimental factor being that you will not accumulate any points for that mission, stopping you from gaining bonuses such as extra planes to add to your hangar.
Still, it's a handy way to get past some of the more difficult missions.
Unlike the heading for this section suggests, there are no Kamikazes in Attack on Pearl Harbour but as a consolidation prize, I do allow you to shriek “KAAAMMMIIKAAAZEEEE” as you plummet your plane headfirst into an American ship – for all the good that it will do. Onto the wonderful physics engine later!