One cannot talk about classic combat flight simulations without mentioning Red Baron. This sim was the first in the Dynamix Aces series, which set the bar high for the rest of the collection. Initially released in a 16 color EGA version, it was soon updated to a 256 color VGA version.
Red Baron features a wide range of aircraft from both the German Air Service, and the Royal Air Corps. You can go on various single missions, such as escorting bombers, balloon busting, or dogfighting a famous ace, or you can start a campaign and fly missions for the Germans or French and British through the war.
As you fly the different aircraft, you will notice the handling characteristics are unique to each plane. Some are fast and good climbers, others are slow and can turn on a dime. There are a multitude of realism options that can make the game as deadly, or as arcade like as you wish. Each option can be turned on or off independently of others, and you can even change options in the middle of a flight.
When starting a campain, you will get to choose your rank, airplane, and aerodrome, based on several dates throughout the war. As you progress through the war and become successful, you will be offered promotions, and be able to move to different aerodromes, and fly in new planes. If you land in enemy territory, or crash there and survive, you will be captured and held in a prison camp. Months will pass by until you are able to escape back to your side.
The damage model works quite well in Red Baron. As your plane is hit by bullets, you will see holes appear on your fuselage and wing canvas. Your engine may start to smoke, or your fuel lines may be hit, and you will lose fuel rapidly. Also, the pilot may become wounded, and the screen will turn red for a few seconds. If you don't get the plane down safely soon after, you will surely crash.
Dynamix included a mission builder that lets you create any scenario you could imagine. You choose a map from several available, create flights, and give them waypoints. You can even add balloons and zeppelins to your missions. There also is a mission recorder that will let you record your mission and play it back later.
Overall, Red Baron is a top notch flight sim that still is a blast to play. If you only play one game on this site, make it Red Baron.
Zeppelin Attack (3 MB)
Balloon Busting (9 MB)