The A-10 Thunderbolt II (a.k.a. Warthog by pilots because if its ugly appearance) was developed after the Vietnam war with the need of close support aircraft that would be able to deliver large amounts of ordinance to their target and be able to withstand small arm ground fire, in other words, a tank with wings. Fairchild Industries won the contract in 1973 and the first A-10 took to the skies in 1975. The part of the A-10 that really sticks out is the GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling gun which fires 30 mm depleted uranium bullets through seven barrels at a rate of 2100-4200 rounds per minute. The GAU-8/A was designed for taking out tanks and lightly armored vehicles. The A-10 can carry a maximum weapons load of 16,000 lbs on 11 pylons which can consist of iron bombs, cluster bombs, laser-guided bombs, electro-optical guided bombs, Fuel Air Explosive (FAE), Maverick missiles, Sidewinder missiles, rockets, jamming pods, and drop tanks. The turbo fan engines are placed high on the plane which protects them from AAA fire and reduces its IR signature. The pilot is surrounded in a "tub" of titanium which can withstand 23mm shells. This "tub" protects not only the pilot but also the flight controls and avionics. The A-10 is designed to fly with only one engine and half a wing blown off.
The game takes place in 3 different settings: Korea, Gulf, and Columbia. Each of these settings are represented by realistic terrain detail. For example, in the Gulf setting, the terrain is vast and featureless, while the Columbian setting is rich in hills, valleys, dense forests and rivers. The game has a quick flight option as well as a campaign mode. It also has a training mission which provides a brief tutorial on how to use the different weapons effectively and how to navigate to different locations on the map. Alas, there is no mission creator or multi-player feature in this game. For each of the missions you can choose one of four pre-selected load outs, or you can customize your own.
Getting started is quite easy with the menu bar which contains all of the necessary features needed to setup and play the game. When you select a mission, you have the option to alter the threat level (mild, moderate, or aggressive), ammo (limited or unlimited), and damage (normal or invincible).
The object and terrain graphics are very good. The detail of buildings, vehicles, AAA's, SAM's, and airplanes are relatively smooth, except when viewed close up, which becomes a little blocky and pixilated. There are unlimited views in this game, which can be changed by using the mouse while in the outside view. The weapons can be seen quite clearly under the plane and you can see each individual weapon being dropped or fired. The explosions and smoke trails from weapons are excellent for a mid 90s sim. After the bombs, missiles, or rockets hit their targets, the ground is visibly scarred from the explosion and really adds to the realism. If the wings are hit from gunfire or missiles, better check your payload because the weapons may be knocked off or remain on part of the wing that was blown off. The music for the game is pretty good.