In spite of having appeared in 1990, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe it’s still one of the finest combat flight simulators of all times. It was one of the first flight sims to feature textured airplanes, although it was accomplished by using bitmaps instead of polygonal textured aircrafts.

This Lawrence Holland / Lucasfilm game was preceded by Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain (1989) and Battlehawks 1942 (1988). The three are known as Lucasfilm WWII Air Combat Trilogy.

SWOTL had it all: it featured a dynamic campaign for both sides (the Allies and the German Luftwaffe) and a mission editor. Moreover, all the experimental airplanes that Hitler was trying to rush into the war are flyable!: the Messerschmitt Me 262 was the only jet plane that actually had the chance to fight over the skies of Europe, but the game allows you to pilot the more exotic Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and the Gotha.

My best memories of the game come from one of the myths of WWII: the simulation of the B-17 bomber, complete with playable gunners positions! To say that it was exciting is an understatement, I was soaked in sweat every time my formation of B-17’s bombers was attacked, as I had to cycle through the gunner positions to follow the targets and get kills (the AI controlled the rest of the crew, but you had to do it by yourself, and I suppose the AI of the crew wasn’t so advanced.)

A classic of the now almost extinct hardcore sims genre…

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