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Pearl Harbor: Can You Change History?

You can fight in either the American or Japanese campaigns in this game.
You can fight in either the American or Japanese campaigns in this game. (Cdv Photos)

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Friday, December 7, 2007

The attack on Pearl Harbor, 66 years ago Friday, has spawned a slew of games attempting to re-create the epic events of that day, but most of the efforts have not been very good.

Attack on Pearl Harbor is the latest title, and although it might not be an overwhelming success, the flight simulation is fun and easy to learn. Actually, flight sim isn't the best description of the game; it's more of an arcade shooter aimed at those who want to jump into the fray immediately. Although the first mission in both the Japanese and American campaigns starts at Pearl Harbor, the game move on to other battles.

Realism suffers in the name of fun. You have unlimited ammunition and fuel, and your aircraft can take tons of hits before going down. In one mission, I dropped 24 torpedoes from my Avenger bomber (in real life they carried one) and sank half the Japanese fleet single-handedly. In another, I saved Gen. Douglas MacArthur's PT boat by shooting down 16 enemy dive bombers.

Flying is easy: You use the mouse and two keyboard keys to adjust your throttle. Your left mouse button fires your guns, and your right drops bombs or fires rockets, depending on your aircraft. Graphically, the game looks good, although sometimes the ships are a little small in terms of scale.

Missions take between five and 10 minutes, so you can play even if you have only a little free time. There are about 20 missions for each side, and the course of the war changes based on how well you perform. You have a core character who earns medals and rank as you work your way through the campaigns. Losing a mission does not stop the war, which is a cool touch. If you can't beat one, you can admit defeat and move on, though your country will be worse off for it.

Attack on Pearl Harbor offers solid, fun gameplay that should appeal to casual gamers.

-- John Breeden II

Attack on Pearl Harbor Teen; PC Windows 2000/Vista/XP ($30) CDV Attack on Pearl Harbor Teen; PC Windows 2000/Vista/XP ($30) CDV


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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