50 Mission Crush

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50 Mission Crush

50 Mission Crush cover.jpg

Cover art of 50 Mission Crush
Developer(s) John Gray
Publisher(s) Strategic Simulations
Platform(s) Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, MS-DOS
Release 1984
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player
Screenshot FiftyMissionMap.png
Screenshot

50 Mission Crush (sometimes Fifty Mission Crush) is a turn-based strategy game published in 1984 by Strategic Simulations (SSI) that simulates the career of the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber during World War II. The bomber is based out of the RAF Thurleigh base just north of London, and is part of the 8th Air Force. While most of SSI's games emphasized long-term strategic planning, 50 Mission Crush was marketed explicitly for its quick, comparatively fast pace: each mission takes no more than about 10 minutes. SSI described it as a "role-playing game". [1]

Strategic Simulations Video game developer

Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) was a video game developer and publisher with over 100 titles to its credit since its founding in 1979. The company was especially noted for its numerous wargames, its official computer game adaptations of Dungeons & Dragons, and for the groundbreaking Panzer General series.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

RAF Thurleigh

Royal Air Force Thurleigh or more simply RAF Thurleigh is a former Royal Air Force station located 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Bedford, Bedfordshire, England. Thurleigh was transferred to the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force on 9 December 1942 and designated Station 111, and used for heavy bomber operations against Nazi Germany.

Contents

Gameplay

As compared to many of SSI's other games, 50 Mission Crush is a fairly "light" play, and does not require grand strategic planning. Each mission is self-contained, and the player does not have to worry about resupply or repairs in between missions. Every position on the plane (for example, tail gunner, ball gunner, radio operator, and so on) is manned by a character named by the player who gains experience with each mission survived. The more missions a character survives, the more competent he becomes.

Tail gunner flight crew responsible for operating defensive armament located at the tail of the aircraft

A tail gunner or rear gunner is a crewman on a military aircraft who functions as a gunner defending against enemy fighter attacks from the rear, or "tail", of the plane. The tail gunner operates a flexible machine gun emplacement in the tail end of the aircraft with an unobstructed view toward the rear of the aircraft. While the term tail gunner is usually associated with a crewman inside a gun turret, the first tail guns were operated from open apertures within the aircraft's fuselage, like in the Scarff ring mechanism used in the British Handley Page V/1500, and also, in the most evolved variants of this type of air-to-air anti-aircraft defense, they may also be operated by remote control from another part of the aircraft, like in the American B-52 bombers.

Each mission requires that the player bomb a specific target from a specific altitude. There is no strict time limit, but the amount of fuel the plane can carry is limited. The player decides upon take off how much fuel to carry and whether to carry an extra-heavy load of bombs. The player then moves his plane to the target using the number pad keys, and on each turn may ascend or descend in 5,000 foot increments. When the bomber is over the target, the player is meant to wait until there is no cloud cover before dropping the bombs. When the player is over an enemy target and there is no cloud cover, the enemy will typically fire flak, which can damage the plane, injure or kill crewmen, or set the plane on fire. The lower the bomber's altitude, the more intense the flak will be. The bomber may also be strafed by enemy fighter planes, such as the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Messerschmitt Bf 109, or Messerschmitt Bf 110.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 airplane

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger is a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s and widely used during World War II. Along with its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Fw 190 became the backbone of the Luftwaffe's Jagdwaffe. The twin-row BMW 801 radial engine that powered most operational versions enabled the Fw 190 to lift larger loads than the Bf 109, allowing its use as a day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft family

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is a German World War II fighter aircraft that was the backbone of the Luftwaffe's fighter force. The Bf 109 first saw operational service in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War and was still in service at the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II in 1945. It was one of the most advanced fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. It was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine. From the end of 1941, the Bf 109 was steadily being supplemented by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. It was commonly called the Me 109, most often by Allied aircrew and even among the German aces themselves, even though this was not the official German designation.

Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter

The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often known unofficially as the Me 110, is a twin-engine heavy fighter and fighter-bomber developed in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Hermann Göring was a proponent of the Bf 110. It was armed with two MG FF 20 mm cannon, four 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns, and one 7.92 mm MG 15 machine gun or twin-barrel MG 81Z for defence. Development work on an improved type to replace the Bf 110, the Messerschmitt Me 210 began before the war started, but its teething troubles from its aerodynamics resulted in the Bf 110 soldiering on until the end of the war in various roles, alongside its replacements, the Me 210 and the significantly improved Me 410 Hornisse.

The term

The name "50 Mission Crush" is an allusion to a type of hat. The game manual states:

A "fifty mission crush" is an Army Air Corps, or Air Force, service cap that has the stiffening ring removed, and is worn crushed and battered. This cap is obviously out of uniform, however steeped in tradition. This tradition was started by the 8th Air force flying personnel as a mark that separates the fledgling from the battle hardened survivor of 25+ combat missions. This mangled cap was frowned upon, but tolerated for those who earned the right to wear it.

Normally, this cap had stiffeners a support piece behind the cap device and a wire around the inside top perimeter to maintain the cap's round shape. These kept the cap in its proper, regulation military shape and angle. However, since pilots wore headsets over their caps during flights, they would remove the wire stiffener to make headset wear more comfortable, causing the sides of the caps to become crushed. Eventually, the caps retained their floppy "crushed" look, giving the pilot who wore it the look of a seasoned veteran. The crush cap identified its wearer as an experienced pro, and was as much a part of his identity as his leather flight jacket. Army regulations authorized wear of the service cap in this manner in the Army Air Forces, although ground Army officers hated that manner of wearing the cap. Since most AAF general officers likewise wore the crushed caps, the ground Army could do nothing about it. The wear of the "50 Mission" cap is prohibited in the current USAF, since headsets are no longer worn over headgear.

Reception

Antic in 1985 liked 50 Mission Crush's detailed combat simulation, ease of use, and quick game play, but criticized the "very simple" graphics, slow speed, and overreliance on random events over skill. [2] The game's realism, however, impressed a former American B-24 bombardier for the Fifteenth Air Force. In a 1987 article for Computer Gaming World in which he recounted incidents from his World War II career that playing the game reminded him of, the author stated "it was all there: bomb load, ammo load, gas load, route out, fighter escort, flak at the target, cloud coverage, bombing accuracy, battle damage, fuel and ammo conservation, route back, more fighter encounters and finally, 'enough fuel to make it across the pond?' I was confronted with decisions, decisions!" The bombardier, shot down during his 50th mission, was killed in action during his seventh simulated mission. [3] A writer for the magazine, however, rated the game two of five points that year, calling it "realistic but dull, with little room for player abilities". [4] A 1993 survey in the magazine of wargames gave the game one-plus stars out of five. [5]

<i>Antic</i> (magazine)

Antic was a home computer magazine devoted to the Atari 8-bit family. It was named after the ANTIC chip which provided 2D graphics in the computers. The magazine was published from April 1982 until June/July 1990. Antic printed type-in programs, reviews, and tutorials, among other articles. Each issue contained one type-in game as "Game of the Month."

<i>Computer Gaming World</i> American video game magazine

Computer Gaming World (CGW) was an American computer game magazine published between 1981 and 2006.

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References

  1. 1985 SSI Catalog
  2. Wiegers, Karl (May 1985). "50 Mission Crush". Antic. p. 83. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  3. Newby, Leroy W. "Ted" (March 1987). "50 Mission Crush: A 50 Mission Recall". Computer Gaming World. pp. 20–21,54.
  4. Brooks, M. Evan (April 1987). "Kilobyte Was Here!". Computer Gaming World. p. 6.
  5. Brooks, M. Evan (September 1993). "Brooks' Book of Wargames: 1900-1950, A-P". Computer Gaming World. p. 118. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
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