Project Wingman MG-29: Cost Effective Multirole Master
Flight arcade games that have players purchasing aircraft as the story develops add a thin layer of money management to gameplay. This is mostly true for the first and second playthrough of their single player campaigns. Starting with a small pool of funds and facing an increasing number of enemies, buying a new aircraft for each sortie isn't always the best strategy. Saving up for highly capable late-game aircraft is ideal, but finding the right mix of less capable aircraft to get you there without wasting money is the challenge. I'm of the opinion that in Project Wingman, the MG-29 is by far the best mid-tier aircraft available early in its campaign and conquest mode. This is because of its weapon selection, ability to bring multiple weapon types in the same sortie, great all-around mobility, and an optional maneuverability-increasing part that can extend its usefulness in combat. Unlike most of its appearances in-flight arcade games over the past two or three decades, the MG-29 (patterned after the MiG-29 Fulcrum) is a solid multi-role platform in Project Wingman. With three weapon slots available, it can carry a mixture of anti-air and anti-surface weapons without compromising one for the other; something that the most flight arcade games force players to do frequently. Slot 1 is a dedicated air-to-air slot with active radar homing missiles (MLAA), semi-active radar homing missiles (SAA), or short-range multiple-purpose missiles (STDM). Slot 2 allows for more active radar homing missiles (MLAA), unguided bombs (UGBS), or rocket pods (URS, URBM). The unguided weapons can be used effectively on clusters of surface targets, with the rocket pods doubling as effective weapons against seaborne and airborne warships. Even against the occasional land battleship! Slot 3 can equip further active radar homing missiles (MLAA), small unguided bombs (UGBS) or guided air-to-ground missiles (MLAG, MLAG-2). All of this is available alongside the aircraft's highly effective internal cannon (GUN) and the usual multipurpose standard missiles (STDM). The typical "no compromise" loadout of the MG-29 combines medium or long ranged air-to-air missiles, unguided rocket pods or bombs and multi-target air-to-ground missiles which augment the already destructive internal cannon and standard missiles capable of attacking any target. Being able to carry this mixture of weaponry each sortie or prioritize one role over another depending on the mission highlights the MG-29's flexibility as compared to other aircraft in the game's roster. Whether it's maintaining a mixed loadout to take on any threat during a mission or doubling up on weapons for air battles or dedicated ground support, the MG-29 can handle it. While this aircraft does come with countermeasures to decoy guided missiles, its optional angle of attack limiter toggle is vital in extending its usefulness. Forgoing countermeasures to control the limiter lets players maneuver the aircraft beyond its standard performance ratings for a short time. Being able to quickly tap the limiter to enhance turns, evade attacks, or quickly point the nose and attack superior enemies are a part of the AOA limiter's offerings. Eventually the effectiveness of the aircraft will fall off when combating considerable numbers of superior aircraft. Expert use of the AOA limiter by the pilot will be the deciding factor in late game combat. Finally, the MG-29 is unlocked for purchase rather early in the story, making its entire package very desirable. Completing mission 05 and having enough credits on hand is enough to purchase it outright with all weapons and optional equipment included. Even in Conquest Mode it can be purchased early on though its viability comes into question much faster in this game mode as compared to single player. Mainly because of how rapidly the difficulty in Conquest mode can escalate in just two to four missions. Any attempt to fly the MG-29 long term in Conquest will heavily rely on the pilot's overall skill and expert use of the AOA limiter for defensive maneuvers. In a genre that has portrayed the Strike Eagle, Fighting Falcon and Hornet as the only true multirole platforms, it's great to see the "Fulcrum" finally be a solid contender in the race. About the Writer Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding Electrosphere.info, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. Read Staff Profile.