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Video Game / Air Combat

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"Win one for the free world. Good hunting."
— Back of case

The first game in the Ace Combat series. Released on the PlayStation in 1995, which was meant to be a port of the 1992 arcade game Air Combat (which spawned its own sequel, Air Combat 22, also in 1995). You fly as the leader of an elite mercenary unit out to stop a terrorist threat.

Tropes pertaining to the PS1 version:

  • Ace Custom: Every plane you use has the unique paint scheme shown on the box art, white with purple highlights and red-and-purple flames on the wings. When you're looking over planes to purchase in the hangar, they have standard paint schemes, but then are replaced with the above scheme if you buy them.
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: Averted. All of the player's aircraft have a fuel gauge, and if it empties then the aircraft crashes and is lost permanently.
  • Captain Obvious: Especially grating when compared to other games in the series, but at least your wing-man was the only annoying one yammering you.
  • Collision Damage: Flying into aircraft, buildings, and terrain causes major damage to your plane. Even the most defensive planes go down after just three collisions.
  • Critical Annoyance: Did your plane get struck by a pebble? Enjoy hearing "Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage! Alert, body damage!".
  • Critical Existence Failure: Bullets and missiles can severely damage aircraft and buildings without leaving a mark or affecting the performance of planes in the slightest. But, the moment an aircraft or building takes too much damage it explodes. Subverted with the final boss, which loses parts as the player damages it but still doesn't have its performance affected.
  • Defenseless Transports: The C-5 aircraft lacks any offensive weaponry and is primarily used for transportation.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The game features many differences from the rest of the series.
    • If you lose a plane, it's gone for good. To balance this, the shop may sell multiple units of the same plane.
    • Repair cost is deducted from mission pay.
    • Wingmen cost money to hire. They can be shot down and become permanently unavailable.
    • The game employs a map system with branching paths at certain junctions, allowing the player some control over the order the missions are played.
    • The game has no fictional plane designs, with the exception of the air fortress that serves as the final boss.
  • Excuse Plot: Compared to the later entries of the series having international conflicts and the various pilot's personal recollections of the conflicts, this game boils down to, "Fight the terrorists, save the free world." Probably in due part to its arcade origins. Later Canon Welding would recontextualize it as a small-time conflict in the greater timeline of Strangereal.
  • Final Death Mode: If you crash a plane or get shot down, you lose that plane for good and, with very few exceptions, cannot buy another one. If you crash all the planes, then it's game over. Although, it's easy to avoid this.
  • Fragile Speedster: The F-16 among other planes has strong firepower and great mobility but can't take many hits.
  • Mighty Glacier: Aircraft like the MiG-31 can take and deal great damage but are slow to maneuver.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The enemy is supposedly a terrorist group, though the country you're fighting for is apparently a small one (the tiny Skully Islands to the south of Usea, according to Aces at War).
  • Save Scumming: Players can save their data right before doing a mission and if they crash their plane then they can load the save to try again. This in turn completely negates the final death mechanic should the player choose to do so.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Averted, and setting the standard for most of the rest of the series when it comes to revolutions and the like, as you're fighting for the government.
  • Title Drop: One of the songs on the OST is titled "Ace Combat".

Alternative Title(s): Ace Combat 1