FAQ/Walkthrough - Guide for Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
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Ace Combat 4 FAQ/Walkthrough Version 1.0 Written by: James Brodmyer (aka Frozensky) Email: [email protected] This FAQ may not be distributed in any form (be it physical or on a website or anything else) without my permission. My email address is above if you wish to ask to put it on your site or whatever. This document is also absolutely free for anyone to view. No one at all will be given any sort of permission whatsoever to sell this document or make people pay to view it. At the moment, this FAQ should only be found at the following: www.gamefaqs.com www.psxcodez.com www.cheatcc.com http://www.merqurycity.com/shatteredskies/index.html It should NOT be found anywhere else. If you do find this FAQ anywhere else, please send me an email. Ok, now that the legal stuff is out of the way, I should probably tell you that this is my first FAQ. It will more than likely be poorly organized. May I suggest that you make use of the "Find" feature on your internet browser if you cannot find what you are looking for. If you still cannot find it, send me an email or post on the GameFAQs Ace Combat 4 message board with your question. There are several people there that know the game as well, if not better, than I do, so one of them can probably help if I'm not hanging around the boards that day. === Contents: About Ace Combat 4 What's New Frequently Asked Questions Aircraft Weaponry Walkthrough Random Useless Info Hints and Tips Secrets Credits/Thanks to === What's New Version 1.0 -Finished the first walkthrough and put some interesting (or not) stats for the walkthrough game. -Added to and changed the Secrets section. I think it's a tad more accurate now. -Added a Random Useless Info section filled with deep and meaningful conversation about philosophy. Ok, not really. Version 0.7 -Progressed through mission 12. -Added a (sketchy at best) Secrets section. Version 0.51 -Added a Hints and Tips section. -Updated where this FAQ can be found. -Added mission walkthrough for Megalith. -Added a question to the FAQ about Megalith. === About Ace Combat 4 Ace Combat 4 is an air combat game. One flies around in a fighter plane, and destroys things. Sounds simple, I know, but the developers put quite a bit into this game. Take away the lighting effects, music, and storyline, and you still have a fun little game to play. These little things are what separate a good game from a great one. It should be noted however that this isn't a flight sim. If you're expecting ultra-realistic gameplay, this isn't your game. If you're expecting a fun arcade style game, though, you won't be disappointed. I'd recommend that the hardcore flight sim gamers give this game a try, regardless. It's fun stuff, to be enjoyed by anyone. === Frequently Asked Questions: (I will add more questions to this after the FAQ is posted. If you have a question that isn't covered, send an email to me.) -What kind of aircraft can I fly? Well, I'll list them with my humble opinions on them later on in the FAQ, but if you really must know now, they include the F-16, A-10, F-117, F-14, Su-37, and the Mig-29. There are many more, though. -What kinds of other aircraft are in the game? Well, most notable are the SR-71 and the XB-70. There are also E-767s, KC-10s and various choppers, among other things. -Can I fly those, too? Nope, sorry. -Why can't I hit Yellow Squadron on the Lifeline mission? You aren't supposed to hit them. I think I landed a hit once, though. Even if you did hit them twice, I doubt they'd be destroyed. You're not supposed to engage them anyway. It is possible to hit them on the Shattered Skies mission, however. If you land a hit or two, the Yellow Squadron will bug out (run away), making it easier for you to wipe out the rest of the fighters. You can't destroy any of them, though. Just make them run away. -Which viewpoint is best to fly from? Well, it varies from person to person, I guess, but I'd recommend the first person (no cockpit) view. If you like seeing your own plane, fly third person. If you want a challenge, fly the cockpit view. Your vision is severly limited here. I started flying the cockpit view recently. -What's the best bomb? Well, this one is also a matter of personal taste. I'll cover weapons later on in the FAQ, and you can make your own decision. -Why can't I play Free or Trial missions? You have to finish the game once to unlock these. I'm not sure what difficulty level you need to be on, though. I beat it on Normal the first time, and unlocked them. -How do I get the
S ranks? Keep trying. I'll go over each mission later on in the FAQ. If you still can't do it, even with the advice, I'd suggest a different aircraft or weapon. -How do I unlock alternate paint schemes for each plane? I'm not sure about the first alternates. I think you just play through the game a second time to get those. But for the second alternate, you have to shoot down an Ace. There's an Ace in each mission. They're identified the name of a person (I assume it's a person's name). Example: S-37 SMIRNOVA. When you shoot the Ace down, you'll get the second alternate paint scheme for the plane you shot down. -Ok, but where are the Aces? Usually out of the way. If you want to find them yourself, the only advice I can offer is to play the free mission first and search for it before actually trying to beat the mission. I'll give locations to each Ace later, as well. -I hit the generators on the left and right in the Megalith mission, but how do I get to the middle one? Simple, fly in from the left or right side. You'll see an arrow pointing to the way in. There are also two towers or something that you can use as marker. You can to fly between them to get to the passage. -Can I put your FAQ up on my website? Send me an email. If I give you permission, then yes. But don't put it up until you've received a reply giving you permission. (If there are any questions about this game that you need answered and they aren't covered in this FAQ, send me an email.) === Aircraft Ok, here's a rundown of each aircraft and what I think of them. If you have varying opinions, write up your own opinion, then send it to me. I may post it here, just to give readers more than one opinion on each plane. Weaponry will be covered in a different section, so if you're confused on what each weapon is, look it up there. Each plane can carry GUN, MSSL, and one of the other types listed for that plane at a time. First, the stats for each plane. I won't be able to type them up here, since it's represented visually, but I can explain each stat for you. Type- This is what the plane is designed to do. If it's an air superiority jet, it'll be a fighter. If it's specifically for mopping up ground targets, it's an attacker. There are some multirole aircraft, as well. This is a relative thing that I wouldn't really bother with, though. Speed- This is the acceleration of each aircraft. The higher the Speed stat, the faster it accelerates. All planes (yes, even the A-10, this isn't a flight sim, remember) can reach over 1000 MpH, though. Air to Air- I don't know how the developers came up with this rating. It doesn't mean that missiles do more damage or anything like that. I think it's just a rough estimate on how well this plane and its weaponry is suited for air targets. (If anyone knows otherwise, please email me.) Air to Ground- Same as Air to Air, except that this is in regards to ground targets. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the Air to Air and Air to Ground stats, though. Mobility- How well the plane turns. Stability- How slow a plane can go without stalling. The higher it is, the slower the plane can move without stalling. This kinda goes hand in hand with mobility, since you can pull tighter turns when flying at low speeds. Defense- How well armored the plane is. The higher this is, the more hits a plane can take without being destroyed. About the cost: There are two numbers here. The first is how much it costs to buy the plane. The second is how much the 2nd alternate (Ace) paint scheme costs. --- F-4E Type: Fighter Cost: 76000, 99000 Description: (description are taken straight from the game's descriptions) Large carrier-based jet designed to shoot down enemy aircraft and destroy ground targets. Weaponry: 650 GUN, 52 MSSL, 8 UGBM, 6 NPB Frozensky's Opinion: It's a flying bathtub, to quote my roommate. Unfortunately, this is the default, so you have to fly it at least once. May I strongly suggest, though, that you buy a better plane as soon as possible. --- F-5E Type: Fighter Cost: 52000, 68000 Description: Low cost, lightweight fighter with respectable capability in all areas. Easy to fly and maintain. Weaponry: 650 GUN, 48 MSSL, 12 UGBS, 64 RCL Frozensky's Opinion: Here's a decent plane for beginners. It doesn't have much when it comes to attacking ground targets, but at least it can turn. Be careful not to get shot down, though. This plane doesn't have much in the way of defense. --- F-16C Type: Fighter Cost: 97000, 126000 Description: Small and lightweight, this jet is a well-balanced fighting machine for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. Weaponry: 700 GUN, 52 MSSL, 14 UGBS, 12 XAGM Frozensky's Opinion: This plane isn't too bad either. I kinda prefer the F-5's stability, but this plane has better weaponry for ground targets. --- A-10A Type: Attacker Cost: 123000, 160000 Description: This ground attack fighter is well equipped for its role with a large Vulcan cannon and air-to-ground weapons. Weaponry: 850 GUN, 56 MSSL, 12 UGBL, 16 XAGM, 12 CLB Frozensky's Opinion: This thing mops up ground targets as well as any other plane. My only problem with it is a lack of mobility. It doesn't seem quite as bad as the F-4's mobility, though. Great defense too. --- MIR-2000 Type: Fighter Cost: 110000, 143000 Description: Great multi-role fighter that incorporates the latest technology to compensate for delta-wing design. Weaponry: 700 GUN, 52 MSSL, 16 UGBS, 10 LASM Frozensky's Opinion: Comparable to the F-16. This jet has LASMs and those are a big help when dealing with annoying SAMs. Stalls too easily for my taste, though. --- F-14A Type: Fighter Cost: 188000, 244000 Description: Carrier-based air superiority fighter. This jet can attack multiple targets simultaneously. Weaponry: 750 GUN, 64 MSSL, 16 XLAA, 10 UGBM Frozensky's Opinion: Excellent plane here. It's quick, it can move, it has great defense. One of the only cons here is that it doesn't have much in terms of ground weaponry. A good buy if you can't afford some of the higher-level fighters. --- TND-IDS Type: Attacker Cost: 172000, 224000 Description: Multi-role fighter that features both air-to-air and air-to-ground capability. Weaponry: 750 GUN, 58 MSSL, 12 BDSP, 8 PGB, 12 LASM Frozensky's Opinion: Surprisingly quick and devastating in air to air combat at close ranges. This thing can nearly slow to a halt without stalling and still turn. Excellent anti-ground arsenal, too. --- F/A-18C Type: Multirole Cost: 170000, 221000 Description: Multi-role carrier-based fighter. Able to carry virually every weapon ever made. Weaponry: 700 GUN, 60 MSSL, 10 UGBM, 14 LASM, 14 XMAA Frozensky's Opinion: One of my favorites. While it doesn't excel in any one area, it's nowhere near bad in any of them. This plane can do it all. --- F-15C Type: Fighter Cost: 272000, 354000 Description: With the perfect balance of power and maneuverability, this jet is the best air superiority fighter available. Weaponry: 800 GUN, 68 MSSL, 12 UGBM, 16 XMAA Frozensky's Opinion: While this isn't a bad plane, the F/A-18 performs just as well against air targets and even better against ground targets. This plane is a bit quicker and a bit more maneuverable, but not enough to make a big difference. --- MIG-29A Type: Fighter Cost: 259000, 337000 Description: Highly maneuverable mid-sized fighter with a large payload. Performs well in both air-to-ground and air-to-air roles. Weaponry: 750 GUN, 64 MSSL, 18 UGBS, 72 RCL Frozensky's Opinion: Much faster than the F-15C but doesn't turn quite as well. This jet has very poor weaponry, as well. It does get an honorable mention for having one of the best paint jobs in the game, though (I'm referring to the second alternate paint scheme). --- F-117 Type: Attacker Cost: 386000, 502000 Description: Although difficult to detect by radar, this Stealth attacker is limited by a small payload capacity. Weaponry: 650 GUN, 54 MSSL, 14 PGB, 14 UGBL, 14 CLB Frozensky's Opinion: Comparable to the TND-IDS. It holds more weaponry, though, and I happen to think it looks a lot cooler too. --- EF-2000 Type: Fighter Cost: 351000, 456000 Description: Delta-wing air superiority fighter with high-tech canards that adjust for different altitudes. Weaponry: 800 GUN, 68 MSSL, 16 XLAA, 14 UGBM Frozensky's Opinion: Very good plane. It turns well, and while it is lacking slightly in ground weaponry, you should have enough to get the job done. --- R-M01 Type: Multirole Cost: 370000, 481000 Description: Delta-wing carrier-based fighter with a large payload. Leading edge canards make it highly maneuverable. Weaponry: 800 GUN, 64 MSSL, 14 SOD, 18 XMAA, 16 LASM Frozensky's Opinion: This plane would be good had you gotten access to it earlier in the game. The F-15E is available right after this one, though. Save your money for that, if you need a multirole aircraft. --- F-15E Type: Multirole Cost: 505000, 657000 Description: Advanced air-to-ground avionics and weapons provide this air superiority F-15 with great anti-surface capability. Weaponry: 850 GUN, 72 MSSL, 14 UGBL, 20 XMAA, 14 CLB Frozensky's Opinion: The F-15E can last you through an entire game. Sure, there are better aircraft, but for its cost, this one works well. --- F-2A Type: Attacker Cost: 505000, 657000 Description: A great support fighter, this F-16 boasts advanced avionics and an alloy body. Weaponry: 800 GUN, 68 MSSL, 16 UGBM, 18 LASM, 80 RCL Frozensky's Opinion: It costs the same as the F-15E. Go with the F-15E. Though the LASMs here are nice... --- Su-35 Type: Fighter Cost: 589000, 766000 Description: An exceptional multi-role fighter. High-tech canards provide superior maneuverability in air combat. Weaponry: 850 GUN, 72 MSSL, 18 XLAA, 16 UGBM Frozensky's Opinion: Not worth it. Weaponry is really weak, when compared to other planes in this price range. --- F-22A Type: Fighter Cost: 643000, 836000 Description: An exceptional fighter with superior maneuverability, payload, Stealth, supersonic cruise, and thrust vectoring. Weaponry: 850 GUN, 74 MSSL, 22 XMAA, 16 PGB Frozensky's Opinion: Excellent. One of the best in the game, though weaponry is only slightly lacking. --- Su-37 Type: Fighter Cost: 618000, 803000 Description: An improved version of the Su-35. Rear-radar and thrust vectoring nozzles provide unrivaled power in air combat. Weaponry: 850 GUN, 78 MSSL, 8 QAAM, 16 UGBL, 20 LASM Frozensky's Opinion: Very highly recommended. This plane probably has the best variety of weapons, not to mention that it's uber-quick and turns on a dime. The best overall, if not a bit lacking in stability. Also the jet that Yellow Squadron flies. --- F-15 ACTIVE Type: Fighter Cost: 620000, 806000 Description: The most maneuverable F-15 with thrust vectoring nozzles, ACTIVE, and forward-swept wings. Weaponry: 900 GUN, 78 MSSL, 22 XMAA, 8 FAEB Frozensky's Opinion: Fear the mighty Fuel-air explosive bomb. My personal favorite, but I will grudgingly admit that this plane is lacking in weaponry. Looks really cool, though. --- S-37A Type: Fighter Cost: 889000, 1560000 Description: Unique forward-swept wings and canards provide unmatched turning ability. It also has some Stealth ability. Weaponry: 900 GUN, 78 MSSL, 10 QAAM, 18 UGBL Frozensky's Opinion: A bit overpriced. It doesn't really perform any better or worse than say, the F-22 or the Su-37. It does have QAAMs, though. --- X-02 Type: Multirole Cost: 1414000, 1838000 Description: A Stealth aircraft built with the latest technology. Boasts total air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capability. Weaponry: 950 GUN, 82 MSSL, 26 XLAA, 24 BDSP, 16 QAAM Frozensky's Opinion: This thing is ridiculously good in air-to-air combat. However, the hard-to-use bomblet dispensers limit its ground performance. Very cool wing design. === Weaponry This section covers all of the various weapons for each aircraft. I shall also give you my opinion on these, too (that's assuming you aren't completely sick of my opinion yet ;) GUN- This is exactly what the letters say. The plane's gun or guns. Not really effective, since it's a very close range weapon, but they'll do when you're out of missiles. MSSL- These are your best friends up in the air. They lock on at relatively decent range. Not the most accurate weapon against aircraft, and not the most effective against ground targets, but you get a helluva lot more of these than you do of other weapons. -Note: All aircraft have guns and missiles. UGBS- Small unguided bombs. I wouldn't bother with these. They don't lock, and their area of damage is as implied: small. UGBM- Medium unguided bombs. Decent weapon. Not much to say other than that. UGBL- Large unguided bombs. Fun stuff here. Drop 'em and watch things go boom. Excellent explosive area. NPB- Napalm bombs. Exclusive to the F-4. Not a bad weapon, somewhat comparable to the UGBL. You only get 6 of them, though. RCL- Rocket launcher. I'd prefer the UGBS over these. You fire off several rockets at a time. The range of damage is very limited. Really only good if there are several large targets lined up. XAGM- Advanced Air-to-Ground missile. Good weapon. They lock on to up to four targets at a time. Effective against targets that aren't really clumped together. Unfortunately, there's no spread damage. CLB- Cluster Bombs. I'm not sure what to think of these. They're kinda hit and miss. You fire at a target (or group of targets) and sometimes they're all destroyed, and sometimes you only hit one or two. I think that overall it covers a wider area than the UGBL, but it doesn't necessarily destroy everything in that wider area. I'm not sure. Gotta experiment some. LASM- Long Range Air-to-Surface missile. Locks on and fires at disgustingly long ranges, approximately 3 times that of a normal missile. I'm not sure, but I think this thing does a very limited amount of spread damage, or at least, enough to destroy multiple targets on a ship. Great for picking off those annoying SAMS. XMAA- Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. These work like the XAGMs, except that these fire on air targets. Can lock on at up to four at a time. Only problem is that they aren't terribly accurate. You may land one or two of the four shots, but then again, that's better than nothing. They have twice the range of a normal missile. XLAA- Advanced Long Range Air-to-Air Missile. Same as the XMAA, but they lock on air targets at the same range as LASMs. BDSP- Bomblet Dispenser. Sorta like a CLB, but they do damage in a line, as opposed to a circle. Very hard to use efficiently, and you can only fire one at a time. Not recommended. PGB- Precision Guided Bomb. I think this is comparable to the UGBS or UGBM, except that these lock on to ground targets. Good if you're flying in at high speeds and don't have time to make minute adjustments. SOD- Standoff Dispenser. Only found on the R-M01. It's a guided bomblet dispenser. It doesn't deploy the bomblets unless locked on to a target either. Kinda useless, in my humble opinion. QAAM- Quick maneuvering Air-to-Air missiles. These things are great. They have the same range as a normal missile, but if they miss the target, they'll turn around and come back at it. They'll pretty much do this until they hit or just run out of fuel. They rarely miss. FAEB- Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb. Absolutely devastating. Exclusive to the F-15 ACTIVE. These things have an incredible explosive area, and I think they're even capable of taking out low-flying choppers in the blast area too. The only problem I have with them is that they don't detonate on the ground. That means that if you're flying low and fire one aimed at a target in front of you, it'll just explode where you drop it. === Walkthrough I'm not quite sure this'll stay the way it is. I might rearrange this section, as is the case with most of the FAQ. I intend to take you through the missions twice: Once in a detailed walkthrough on normal, and then I'll make an outline of what you should fly, as well as what aircraft and weaponry you should spend your money on, for each mission on hard difficulty. You can play down a difficulty level or two, but normal's easy enough, and you don't earn as much money on the easier difficulty levels. Note that the money you earn depends on your score and rank. You get a C rank for completing a mission, and as you destroy more targets than was what needed to complete the mission, your rank will go up to B, A, and then S. --- First Play Through (Normal Difficulty) --- Mission 1: "Sitting Duck" Objectives: Destroy the six bombers in the alloted time. Recommended Buys: None. You don't have money yet. Recommended Aircraft: F-4 w/ UGBM (You don't have a choice here.) Ok, after watching that really cool cutscene that I completely forgot about, nail the afterburners and head straight towards your targets. You'll see that they're arranged in a formation like this: X X X X X X Line yourself up with one of these columns and take out the first two bombers (they require two missiles) in one of the columns, then get off of the afterburner and take out as many fighters (which should be right in front of you now, and also require two missiles) as you can before your allies destroy them. You still have plenty of time to take out the bombers, so don't worry about them for now. When all of the fighters are down, mop up the remaining bombers. That's it. If you're wondering why you should take out the fighters, they earn you more points. More points means more money. My score/rank: 840/S Money earned: 54000 --- Mission 2: "Imminent Threat" Objectives: Destroy the bombers at Rigley Air Base. Recommended Buys: Ok, this is a matter of personal taste. I went ahead and bought the F-5. It doesn't have the ground capability that the F-4 has (which you might need here), but that thing turns like... er... something that doesn't turn well... (Fortunately, you can sell aircraft for the same price you bought them for, so you won't have to worry about making a purchase you regret.) Recommended Aircraft: F-5E w/ UGBS When you start out, you'll notice a single target to the north, and Rigley further north. Fly full throttle and take out this lone target (Substation) as you pass by it with a missile. You may want to approach it from the Southwest (the left), because a power line might block your shot. After you've taken out the substation, take out the F-5s that appear in front of you. You have plenty of time, so don't worry about Rigley just yet. If you had to get off the afterburner to hit the F-5s, get back up to full throttle, and head to Rigley. Rigley is target rich. I suggest that you destroy every last one of them, and not even bother with the bombers 'til everything else is wiped out. Take out the fighters that are taking off and the AA guns first. After all fighters and AA guns are eliminated, take out the hangers and control tower, then go for the bombers. My score/rank: 2370/S Money earned: 135000 --- Mission 3: "The Northern Eye" Objectives: Take out the radar stations. Recommended Buys: None. There isn't anything worth buying. I could've sworn I'd be able to buy the F-16 for this mission. Apparently, I was wrong... Recommended Aircraft: F-5 w/ UGBS Fly out with afterburners as usual, and take out the F-4 in front of you. There are two F-5s for you to take out shortly after that. Proceed to mop up the first radar base. Take out everything. Destroy the F-4 that comes flying in, too. After the first radar station is out, hit the afterburner and head toward the second station. There's an F-16, followed by two more F-16s, and then an F-5 along the way that you should kill. When you get to the second radar station, take everything out. Don't forget to take out the white and yellow targets before the red ones. If you destroy the red ones, the mission is over, and you'll have lost out on some money. After you destroy the targets, you'll have to head back to base. Listen to what your AWACs says here. You'll be returning to base quite a bit in the later missions. Nail the afterburner and head south, then land. Don't worry about crashing. If you do crash, you'll just get another chance to land at no penalty. If you just want to skip the landing, press start. My score/rank: 1520/S Money earned: 92000 --- Mission 4: "Blockade" Objectives: Destroy the enemy transport planes. Recommended Buys: F-16, and XAGMs for the F-16. Recommended Aircraft: F-16 The first thing I recommend you do is take out the E-767s that are blocking out your radar. You can find them by flying toward the center of the circle that is blocking your radar. You'll be able to target it just fine, so nail the afterburners and destroy the 767s as you pass (I destroyed the two F-16s that you encounter just within the blocking area before wiping out the first 767.) After taking out both E-767s, mop up all fighters in the area for extra points. When there are no fighters left, destroy the C-17s. I was surprised how much trouble the fighters in this mission were, especially the Mig-29s. Be careful. When you destroy one of the C-17s, more fighters will appear. Take these fighters out before destroying the next C-17, if possible. The mission's over when you've destroyed the last C-17. My score/rank: 1420/S Money earned: 124000 --- Mission 5: "Lifeline" Objectives: Destroy as much of the oilrig as possible, given the alloted time. Recommended Buys: If you haven't bought the F-16 and it's XAGMs, now is the time. Recommended Aircraft: F-16 w/ XAGM or F-4 w/NPB (I'm flying the F-16) Ok, the missions start getting pretty tough from here on out. You'll have your first encounter with SAMs here. I highly recommend that you destroy any SAMs you encounter before trying to take out any other targets. Pay attention to your radar as well. The missile with show as a small flashing dot, and if you haven't located the SAM firing at you, you'll be able to see where the missile is fired from on your radar. SAMs are usually white dots on your radar, though sometimes they are yellow, as well. Be on the lookout. The first time I played this mission, I got shot down by SAMs over the oilrig. May I humbly suggest that you attack the ground facilities to the west first. They aren't defended as heavily as the oilrig. The first thing you wanna do is nail the afterburner and destroy the nearby tanker. It only takes one standard missile. Save your special weaponry for later. Ignore the fighters for now. You probably won't have time to destroy them. You can try and fire two missiles as you pass one, but if you don't destroy it, don't go back around. When you approach the ground facilities, switch to your secondary weapon. Hit the ground targets as efficiently as you can, and when you are unable to fire your secondary weapon, switch back to missiles and take out as many targets as you can. Just wipe out as many targets as you can, until you either run out of missiles (you will definitely run out of your secondary weapon) or until you AWACs tells you to switch to attacking other facilities. Do not forget about the Pump Station that's a ways west from the rest of the targets. Your guns are quite useful for taking out some of the fuel tanks here. You can fire a missile at one target and take out the others with guns. Be careful not to fly too low and crash, though. Ok, I managed to take out the entire refining (ground) facility with over 6 minutes left in an F-16 armed with XAGMs. You may or may not do as well as me (the first time I ever played this mission, I barely got a C rank at the end of the ten minutes), but if you just destroy the ground facility and some fighters, you'll have enough points for a C rank. That means there's no rush involved in destroying the ground facility. Don't take risks that you might crash or get hit by missiles if you don't have to. After you destroy the ground facility, nail the afterburners and head south to resupply. Once you've resupplied, head for the oilrig. Don't forget the afterburners. They save you so much time. When you get to the oilrig, just drop bombs into the middle of the platform (or wait 'til you've locked on with XAGMs or missiles and fire those). Try not to drop below 500 MpH so you can get in and out of the range of SAMs without being fired at. There are also more fighters here than there were over the ground facilities. After you've made your first pass, destroy the tanker that's sitting out there by itself, and then come back around. Destroy the SAMs if you can, but don't slow down and look for it. After my second pass at the oilrig, I'm going about 1000 MpH facing south, and out of XAGMs, so I'm going to resupply again with 3 minutes left. My score is 3280/A. You can do what I'm doing, or just hang around the oilrig and use missiles to destroy the rest of the targets. I'm actually not sure which would earn you more points... After resupplying again (if you needed to/had enough time), just continue to do what you've been doing, mopping up any and all targets. If you do run out of ground targets to hit, spend the remaining time on the fighters. When you've run out of time, you'll be finished the mission... Or will you? Here is your first encounter with Yellow Squadron. It's not possible to destroy any of them at this point in the game. I've even tried it in an Su-37 on Very Easy. It's not possible. You can land hits on them if you're good/lucky, but they won't be destroyed. My recommendation, especially if you're fond of your score, bug out and head south as fast as possible. Not only is it my recommendation, but you HAVE to head south. It's your only option. Once you've crossed the "Return to Base" line, the mission will be over. My score/rank: 4520/S Money earned: 282000 --- Mission 6: "Invincible Fleet" Objectives: Destroy as much of the "Invincible" Aegir Fleet and Comberth Harbor facilities as possible within the time limit. Recommended Buys: A-10 (The UGBLs are good enough, but go ahead and buy the XAGMs if you have the money. Don't forget that you can sell other aircraft and weapons for the same price you bought them at.) Recommended Aircraft: F-16 w/ XAGM or A-10 w/ UGBL/XAGM (I'll be flying the A-10 w/ UGBLs) Don't forget that you can change weapons when you resupply. If you want to take out one area with XAGMs and a different area with UGBLs, feel free to do so. I'm going to stick with the UGBLs for the entire mission, though, since XAGMs run out too quickly. The first thing you wanna do is turn east and head full throttle at the ships that have already set sail. Climb to about 10000 feet, and when you're directly over the ships, nail the brakes and point downward. Destroy as many ships as you can while divebombing. Don't worry about stalling too much since you're pointed downward anyway. It only takes one UGBL to take out an entire ship. Ignore the fighters for now. Take out all of the ships (be careful, most have SAMs) and then resupply, regardless of how much ammo you have left. You'll need every bit of it later. Make a pass on whatever fighters are in your way when you head to the shipyard facilities just north of the ships you just destroyed, but don't turn back if you miss. Head full throttle towards the facilites, using missiles to destroy the cranes lined up along the way. The best advice I can offer you when you get to the shipyard facilities is climb up high and divebomb (Just fly in fast and low if you have XAGMs). There are fighters and SAMs everywhere; you'll just have to do your best to avoid them (pay close attention to the radar for which way to turn to avoid the missile), though you should be able to hit the SAMs with missiles as you pass. Use bombs on clumped together targets, use missiles to mop up what the bombs didn't destroy. When you've destroyed the most or all of the shipyard facility and are out of bombs/XAGMs, resupply. If a fighter is in your way, take some shots at him as you pass. You never know when it'll score you an extra 60 points. After resupplying, head out to the westernmost group of targets. You'll just make a pass on these targets for now. Don't waste too many bombs as you pass. You'll need them for the northernmost group of targets. Careful about flying low. I scraped the ground just now, and somehow managed to survive (but I have 68% damage). Once you've passed that group of targets, fly up to about 10000-15000 feet in preparation for your next group of targets. Once you're over the targets and starting to divebomb, don't hesitate about firing bombs. Shoot them off as fast as you can in any place that has two or more targets grouped together. Once you get down to lower altitudes, you'll probably be hounded by TND-IDSs (Tornados). You'll probably want to take these out before resuming your bombing. Take out lone targets with missiles. If you have any time left at all by this point, head back to that group of targets you made a pass at and destroy those with whatever you have left. Be careful. There are many SAMs and fighters here. Don't let up off the afterburner as you make passes with missiles. If you're satisfied with your score and rank (You should have an S rank and over 5000 if you've destroyed all of the other areas) and don't want to get shot down, than just fly out and away from the combat area until time is up. I finished the mission with 0 bombs, 0 missiles, and 68% damage that I took when I scraped the ground. My score/rank: 7080/S Money earned: 438000 --- Mission 7: "Deep Strike" Objectives: Destroy the Power Plant facilities. Recommended Buys: At this point, the F-14, TND-IDS, and the F/A-18 have all become available for purchase. All three are excellent purchases, though you might not have enough money for them all with weaponry. I'd suggest the F/A-18 because it performs well in all situations (UGBM, XMAA, LASM... enough said), though the other two are versatile as well. If you have to, experiment with each aircraft to see which one you like best. You can always just sell it back if you don't like it. Recommended Aircraft: F/A-18 w/ LASM, TND-IDS w/ any weapon, A-10 w/ UGBL. I'm going to fly the F/A-18. Nail the afterburners and head north until you encounter fighters. Slow down and engage them. Destroy any and all fighters you come across. Note that you probably won't get them all, since your allies are quite competent when it comes to destroying fighters. You'll encounter more Tornados as you approach the first group of targets, as well as some F-15Cs. You'll also have your first encounter with Flak Guns. I'd place a bigger priority on destroying these than even SAMs. They fire shells that explode at low/mid altitudes and if one hits your plane, you're taking serious damage. Either fly in very low and hit them with missiles, or divebomb them from 10000 or so feet. Of course, they're not too big of a problem when one has LASMs. If you have LASMs, just fly really slow and keep switching targets until you get the flak guns. There are two flak guns, one AA gun and one SAM. After destroying those, ignore the rest of the targets for now, except for the radar, and head to the second group of targets. Take out the two F-15Cs here, as well as the AA gun and SAM. Take out the pillboxes next, and then you're free to wipe out the solar panels. There aren't worth much, but they're easy to destroy, even with guns. Since there aren't any other ground targets left (besides the ones you must destroy), you can use your secondary weapon to destroy some of the panels. I personally find it easier to use guns or missiles, though. Once you've destroyed the solar panels, go ahead and mop up the targets you came here to hit. This one sure was easy, right? It would be, except for one little thing: Stonehenge opens fire on you after you've destroyed the power plant! The only way to avoid Stonehenge's attack is to fly below 2000 feet. That means that you'll have to fly inside the ravines to get back to base. Find the nearest ravine, make sure you're heading south, and get in there. You might want to switch to 3rd person view for this. Just keep flying south at whatever speed suits you. Sometimes, an enemy plane may fly above you at high speed. He'll probably take a shot at you, and there isn't much room to avoid that shot. The best advice I can offer is slow to the point that you're stalling. The missile should fly just across your front. Try your best to return fire as he passes over you. Depending on which route you took through the ravines, you may or may not come across some targets, like choppers. Shoot them down for extra points. When you've crossed the "Return to Base" line, the mission's over. My score/rank: 2135/S Money earned: 209500 --- Mission 8: "Shattered Skies" Objectives: Destroy as many fighters as you can and clear the way for the rocket launch. Recommended Buys: Tornado, F-14, or F/A-18 if you haven't bought those yet. Recommended Aircraft: F-14 w/ XLAA, F/A-18 w/ XMAA. I'll be flying the F-14. My favorite mission. No ground targets here, just a big mess of dogfighting. Fun stuff. When you first start, you'll see that you're targeting something really high above you and really fast, and then you're not targeting it anymore. This is the SR-71 Blackbird. Follow it on your map (it heads way out north, so you'll see it easily), nail the throttle down, and fly to about 40000 feet to get to it. It'll turn around, and chances are you'll encounter it head on. Just turn around and hit it with an XLAA or missile. All you need to do is hit it with one missile, and it's worth quite a few points. Ok, back to the fight. Northwest of most of the fighting, you'll see some more targets. Hit these first, because there's an E-767 and KC-10 among them. Big points. The rest of the time is up to you, destroying fighters. You'll notice that Yellow Squadron is among the fighters. No, you can't destroy them, but if you land a hit, they'll all bug out. This means that they won't be at your back the entire time firing at you. Once time is up, you'll find that there are several bombers closing in from the west. You should probably resupply at this point (I was out of everything except guns), and then fly as fast as possible toward the bombers. These are easy pickings. Just use regular missiles. When you've destroyed all of the bombers, just go back to destroying fighters until the rocket is launched. Go all out with your secondary weapon here. The mission is over when the rocket reaches 40000 feet. My score/rank: 3250/S Money earned: 275000 --- Mission 9: "Operation Bunker Shot" Objectives: Provide air support to the troops landing on the beaches. Destroy as much as possible within the time limit. Recommended Buys: The F-15C isn't a bad plane to have, but you'll probably do fine with the F/A-18, the TND-IDS, and the F-14 for now. Recommended Aircraft: F/A-18 w/ LASM, TND-IDS w/ any weapon, A-10 w/ any weapon. I'll be flying the F/A-18. Fly at full throttle northeast to eastern beach. You can make a pass at fighters if you want, but don't turn back if you miss. Hit the Radar that's roughly along the way with a missile. Continue on and you should come up upon another radar, a battery and an AA gun, the first of the targets at that beach. Hit those and whatever else you can to the best of your ability as you fly over the beach. You might want to hold back just a bit with your weaponry, but not much. Watch out for SAMs as well. You'll definitely want to hit any batteries, pillboxes, or radars you come across, so keep your eyes peeled for those. Fly north of the beach and pick off the launchers and howitzers that are located there after you've made a pass on the beach. When you've destroyed those, come back around and hit any other yellow or orange targets you missed earlier. Fly back across, hitting what you can on the way to the central beach. When you get to the central beach, take out whatever you can, using up what's left of your weaponry. When you're out of your secondary weapon, resupply. Head back out to the central beach at full throttle. Angle your flight toward the beach so that your pass will be from east to west. Let up off of the throttle to make a pass at at the beach, destroying what you can (go for batteries and radar especially). Don't bother turning back if you miss, though. Hit the afterburner again once you've passed the central beach and destroy whatever you can on the western beach before time is up. When time runs out, you'll get a new objective: Destroy the A-10s that are attempting to bomb the landing forces. They should be easy to wipe out. When you've destroyed the third one (there are six), two Mig-29s and two F-15Cs will appear. Destroy these for more points before finishing off the A-10s. When the last A-10 is downed, the mission is over. My score/rank: 4980/S Money earned: 308000 --- Mission 10: "Tango Line" Objectives: Destroy as much of Istas Fortress as possible within the time limit. Recommended Buys: None, unless you haven't gotten the stuff I recommended before. Recommended Aircraft: F/A-18 w/ UGBM/LASM, A-10 w/ UGBL As you can see, there are four main groups of targets here. The resupply base is furthest west, the submarine base is north, the VTOL bases are east, and the air base is southernmost. I'm not sure if there is any particular order of taking them out that will earn more points than any other, but I usually do it in the same order anyway. If you find that taking them out in an order that's different from mine is easier, go with that. Whatever works. Piece of advice: Don't bother with any targets that appear white on your radar. Not even SAMs, unless you have to stay within range of it for an extended period of time. I think one of the only ones I bother to hit on this level is the one at the air base. Back to white targets, only fire at them if they are directly in your flight path. Don't waste a bomb on them, either. More on that later. When the mission starts, immediately go full throttle and head toward the resupply base (the western group). Angle upwards a bit so that you're at around 10000-15000 feet when you get there. Yep, you guessed it. Divebomb. You'll want to slow down before you dive. Be careful because there are SAMs and flak guns in the area as well. Drop as many bombs as you need to in order to wipe out targets. When you've destroyed all of the yellow/orange targets in the area, hit the throttle again and head for the air base (south). Use up your remaining bombs here. I recommend using bombs on the barracks and fuel tanks located at the base of the mountain that the air base is on. There's also another big chunk of targets at the base itself. I had six bombs and I was able to take out most of it. If you've wiped out a good chunk of the airbase with your remaining bombs, stay around and destroy the rest of it with missiles. Hit the EF-2000s and the C-130 before they take off, if possible. Once you've destroyed all of the important ground targets, resupply (You can engage the fighters if you're flying the F/A-18, but I wouldn't recommend it in the A-10. It just takes too long sometimes.). You'll get a warning about a Stonehenge attack with 15:30 left in the mission. Luckily, I'm heading back to resupply at this point, so flying low is no big deal. You'll get a 30 second warning. If you're bombing, just go ahead and finish up on the targets you're hitting. You should have enough time. When the 10 second warning comes, you'll definitely want to get under 2000 feet, though. Careful not to fly into a mountain. When you return from resupplying, fly back over the airbase at high speed and take out any targets you can as you pass. Don't use bombs (unless it's a big group that you haven't hit yet), and don't turn back. Climb to at least 8000 feet after passing the airbase. Divebombing is almost necessary for the VTOL (east) bases. Make sure, though, that you're not flying fast. If you do, you'll smack the ground before you realize what's going on. You'll see them in what looks like a hole or a crater. There will be several harriers and choppers here. Shoot these down if they take off, since they're easy to kill. You should be able to get most of them on the divebombing, though. It might take two bombs to destroy all targets in a base. And you'll have to use missiles for a target that's already taken off, but they're easy to kill. Anyway, take out any Harriers or MI-24s you find flying around. Easy kills for big points. If you don't know yet, it only takes one missile to destroy a chopper. Stonehenge will strike again with about 9 minutes remaining in the mission. I was just finishing the VTOL bases and flying to the submarine base when it hit, so once again, I had no problems avoiding it. I approached the submarine base from the south, flying low. You can divebomb if you feel more comfortable with that, or if you can't take the AA damage that goes with flying low. I took out some of the white targets in the way, and then took out one of the submarine docks with missiles. After that first pass, fly up and away from SAMs and such and ready yourself for another run. Use any and all bombs you have left. I managed to wipe out the major targets with 3 bombs. After that, you're free to do whatever with any time you have left. I recommend taking out any harriers or choppers you missed. Otherwise, just take out fighters. I ran out of missiles, so I'm just going to resupply and take out the EF-2000s over the air base with what time I'll have left. Stonehenge will strike again with about 1:30 left. Shouldn't be a big deal though. Once time runs out, the mission is over. (Ow. I crashed into a mountain with 1:00 left. So my score and rank won't exactly be what I had with this walkthough.) My score/rank: 6270/S Money earned: 357000 --- Mission 11: "Escort" Objectives: Protect the civilian aircraft by destroying enemy fighters. Recommended Buys: F-117 and EF-2000. Don't worry about weaponry just yet. Recommended Aircraft: EF-2000 w/ XLAAs, F-14 w/ XLAAs A relatively short and fun mission here. No ground targets to worry about. As soon as you get control of your aircraft, nail the afterburner and angle upward slightly. There will be an F/A-18 attacking one of the flights, at 23000 feet. Don't worry about the missile it fires. I've never once gotten there in time to stop it from firing at least once on the civilian aircraft. It only takes one XLAA to destroy an aircraft, so don't fire more than one at a time. After taking out the F/A-18, two Mig-29s will appear from the east at 6000 feet. You should reach these before they can do any damage. Take 'em out however you can. When you destroy the Migs, 3 F-14s will appear at 23000 feet. I'm not sure about this, but it seems like once you've locked onto them and fired, they'll go after you instead of the guys you're protecting. So if you have to, fire off some XLAAs at them, even if you know they'll miss. Once you've taken out the F-14s, 2 Su-35s and 2 more Mig-29s will appear. Don't hesitate to use up your weaponry now. Once you've destroyed these guys, the mission will be over. My score/rank: 600/S Money earned: 78000 --- Mission 12: "Stonehenge Offensive" Objectives: Destroy the Stonehenge Cannon. Recommended Buys: EF-2000 and/or F-117 if you haven't picked up those yet. Recommended Aircraft: F-117 w/ PGB, F/A-18 w/ LASM (I'll be flying the F/A-18) After watching that cool opening cutscene, dive below 2000 feet and nail the afterburners. For extra points, knock out the AA guns along the way to Stonehenge. Note: You won't necessarily be hit by Stonehenge if you fly above 2000 and you may get hit even below 2000 if you're close enough to the cannon. Try not to be intimidated by the cannon. It isn't as tough as it looks. When you get there, you'll note that you can't lock on to anything. You'll need to destroy the radar jamming thingy (trademarked technical term there) to be able to lock on. Do so quickly, and then take out every last SAM and AA gun surrounding the cannon. Take out the F-15s and the R-M01s for extra points. I recommend (even though I didn't actually do this) destroying all but one cannon before engaging fighters. The cannons move around, so sometimes you might not land a hit. It takes two PGBs to destroy a cannon, I think, and two LASMs as well. The missiles for some reason, don't always hit or something. Hit the base of the cannon (each cannon has 3 targets to lock on to) with PGBs or LASMs. When you run out of those, use missiles to lock on anywhere and fire. Guns work too, but it takes a lot of gunfire to wipe out a cannon. After you destroy some of the fighters, more will appear in the form of F-15Es and F-2s, as well as more R-M01s. When you've destroyed the last cannon, Yellow Squadron will show up. If you don't have more than 20 missiles, resupply. If you're in an F/A-18 or anything with XMAAs or XLAAs, switch weaponry to those at this time. When you come out, they're gonna be heading straight toward you. All you have to do is shoot down one of them. Keep firing XMAAs and you're bound to hit something. When you've destroyed one of them (doesn't matter which, because for storyline sake, it will always be the same plane), the mission is over. My score/rank: 2690/A Money earned: 114000 --- Mission 13: "Safe Return" Objectives: Destroy as many radar-jamming airships as possible. Recommended Buys: At this point, the F-15E and the F-2 is available. The biggest difference is that the F-15E carries better bombs, but the F-2 carries LASMs. By this time, you'll also have developed your own style. Whichever you like more, buy. Or if you're happy with what you have at the moment, save your money. Recommended Aircraft: Anything w/ XMAAs or XLAAs. There are no ground targets here, but you'll be using guns nearly the entire time. Whatever you'd like to fly. I'll be flying the EF-2000 w/ XLAAs. I'm not really sure how to walk you through this one. I think the best I can do is offer advice on how to locate the targets. You can't get a lock on them, and they occasionally flash on radar. Problem is that radar doesn't indicate altitude. I suggest that you make use of the right analog stick to look around as you fly. I fly low and look around until I see one against the sky. You can see them as black dots against the sky, but they're colored the same as the ground almost, so if you're looking for one from high up, you'll have trouble picking it out. Another piece of advice, when you see one, fly straight at it and take it out. Don't search for one that's near you on radar if you can see one from afar. If it's far away, use the right analog stick to look around for others as you fly to take out the one you've already seen. Don't hesitate to hit the afterburners either. The faster you go about destroying them, the more you can take out within the time limit. Remember that it only takes one hit to destroy them, and you can hit them as soon as you can make out the features of the target (more or less). Even if the radar doesn't tell altitude, it can tell you where the target is roughly located. If you can't visually locate a target, use the radar to align yourself with them and then look around. Once the time is up, two F-15Es and two EF-2000s appear. Easy pickings. Wipe 'em out to finish the mission. My score/rank: 3240/S Money earned: 224000 --- Mission 14: "Breaking Arrows" Objectives: Destroy the cruise missiles before they fly south off of the map. Recommended Buys: Same as before. Recommended Aircraft: Anything w/ XMAAs or XLAAs. This is a rather odd, and rather tough mission. You have to destroy a number of cruise missiles. Sometimes, they alter their path when you fire a missile at them, and you'll miss. They also fly quite fast. When the mission starts, you'll want to nail the throttle and head north. I fired XLAAs at the missiles head on. Not one hit. You may or may not have better luck. Anyway, loop around and destroy them from behind (one standard missile'll do it). If you feel pretty confident that you can catch them and destroy them in time, you can intercept and destroy the XB-70 that's flying across the map. You'll see it on your map. It's the only target that's not red, and it's worth big points. Two missiles will take it down. Be warned, it's flying high and fast. With about 18:45 left, more missiles will show up. If you haven't destroyed the first set, I recommend you do so now. Turn around after destroying the first set and do the same with the second. The second set's a bit trickier. They'll split off into two groups. Pick a group and follow it. Destroy the missiles there, and then intercept the other group. Remember that the missiles are rather hard to hit, and you'll probably have to be directly behind them to hit them. When you've destroyed these missiles, one more will appear. This one is tough. It will zig zag at incredible speeds. It's quite hard to hit as well. If you feel confident in your ability to destroy that last missile before you pass the return to base line, then engage the two F-22s that come at you. Don't play around with them though. Knock 'em out and get back to that missile ASAP. The best I can offer you to destroy the missile is to fire one, and when it changes course to avoid it, fire another. If you fire just as it is changing course, your missile might be able to close in and hit it before it turns again. I can't really offer anything else. Good luck. When you destroy that missile, the mission is over. My score/rank: 2020/S Money earned: 62000 --- Mission 15: "Emancipation" Objectives: Wipe out as much of the defending Erusian forces within the time limit. Recommended Buys: Nothing new. I'd save my money at this point. Recommended Aircraft: F-15E w/ UGBL, F-2 w/ UGBM/LASM. I'll be flying the F-15E. Alright. Back to ground targets. Nail the afterburners and head to the westernmost group of targets. There are two choppers to take out, and three launchers, for big points. Use missiles for now. When the launchers are destroyed, head to the nearest group of targets. There are several tanks, AA guns, SAMs and choppers here. You'll also note a familiar presence. Yellow Squadron. You can destroy them, but it's quite tough. Sometimes you'll hit them rather easily, sometimes it'll eat up your time. If you're having trouble destroying them, I recommend ignoring them. It's easier to drop a bomb on 3 tanks, and you get the same amount of points. Don't spend too much time on this group of targets. Hit the choppers (they're wedged in between some buildings and are pretty hard to hit) and whatever tanks you can and get out of there. If you're not having problems avoiding SAMs, then ignore them. Fly to the northernmost group of targets, hitting SAMs and such that are in your way as you pass. Be liberal with your bombs at the airport. Lots of grouped targets, lots of big points. Ignore the fighters (other than Yellows) for now. After you've gutted the airport, head to the last group of targets. I chose to make a quick pass at them and then resupply, but you may not have to. If you don't absolutely have to resupply, then don't, 'cause chances are you don't have enough time left. You can bomb them all in a row from high altitudes here. I wouldn't worry about SAMs unless you just can't avoid the missiles. If there's any time left and no important targets to destroy, engage the two Yellow Squadron planes in the area. On this walkthrough, I managed to destroy four, and the fifth Yellow bugged out. I couldn't catch him before time ran out. At this point, Erusea will realize that they've lost the city, so they'll send in bombers to wipe it out. Your objective now switches from attacking the city to defending it. They're flying quite fast so don't slow down when you engage. Destroy the six TU-160s and the mission will be over. My score/rank: 4430/S Money earned: 273000 --- Mission 16: "Whiskey Corridor" Objectives: Destroy as much of the Erusian forces as possible within the time limit. Recommended Buys: The SU-35 is available now, but I stronly suggest you save your money. Recommended Aircraft: F-117 w/ UGBL/PGB, F-15E w/ UGBL, F-2 w/ UGBM/LASM. If you feel more comfortable with PGBs or LASMs, fly the F-117 or F-2. I'm flying the F-15E. More bombing. Personally, this is one of my least favorite missions. There are five groups of targets, and you have to be absolutely ruthless to score an S rank here. The targets are the western line, central line, eastern line, artillery line north of the eastern line, and the HQ furthest north. I prefer to take out the western line with everything I've got. Then I head to the where the SR-71 is (southwestern corner of the map at 20000) and shoot that down before resupplying. Then hit the HQ and swing down across the artillery (destroying everything at the artillery line) and eastern lines before resupplying again. Then I'd go to the central line and mop up there and head back to the eastern line with what time is left (if any). If you find a better order (I wouldn't be surprised if you did), then go by that. On a side note: If anyone knows anything special about the F-2 that hovers over the crater, let me know. You can see it on your map, sitting by itself between the eastern and central lines. Nail the afterburners. About halfway to the western line, you'll come across two tanks. Destroy those with missiles. Easy 100 points. Fly up to about 5000 and drop everything you've got across the entire line. Swing back around without slowing too much and do it again, and then mop up whatever's left with missiles. Make sure to hit the pillboxes and tents, if nothing else. You can go resupply now or hang around and wipe out fighters. After taking out the 5 Tornados (sheesh these things are tough), 3 F-2s will appear. Head southwest to the corner of the map and you'll see a target appear. This is the SR-71. It's flying at about 20000. Destroy it before resupplying. If you fly north of the center of the western line, you'll come across sets of targets like two tanks or a chopper. You can fly at pretty high speeds (I'm at about 1000) and take most of these out with missiles on your way to the HQ. Pay attention to the radar to see where the next set is. The lead north, and then turn west. When you destroy the last set, you'll be directly south of the HQ. Gain some altitude and slow down when you're over the targets. Drop as many bombs as you need to. Target the flak guns, especially. Destroy everything here. It shouldn't take very long. Head to the artillery line now, which is north of the eastern line. The targets here are very easy to destroy and they're worth pretty good points. After destroying the artillery, take out the R-M01 on the way to the eastern line. Just north of the eastern line, you'll see 4 howitzers. Two bombs oughtta take care of it. There are just a few tanks and stuff here at the moment. Take them all out and a massive number of ground targets will appear. You can hang around and use missiles to destroy them, but if you're like me, you're out of bombs and you'll be wanting to resupply now. After resupplying you can either fight the central or eastern line. You probably won't have time for both. I prefer the central line. Just drop bombs on each group. After you destroy enough of them, more groups will appear, as well as two F-117s and 2 F-22s. The F-117s actually engage you for some reason. If you're out of ground targets, take out the fighters. At this point I ran out of time. When you run out of time, the mission is complete. My score/rank: 7240/S Money earned: 404000 --- Mission 17: "Siege of Farbanti" Objectives: Destroy as much as possible before time runs out. Recommended Buys: The F-22, Su-37, and F-15 ACTIVE are all available at this point. These are three of the best. Buy whichever one suits your style. The F-22 has XMAAs and PGBs, the Su-37 has QAAMs, UGBLs, and LASMs, and the F-15 ACTIVE has XMAAs and FAEBs. All three are very useful in any situation, so it's just a matter of which weapon you're most comfortable with. If you don't have enough money to buy at least one of these and its weaponry, I suggest you sell some planes. Note: If you're more comfortable with anything else at this point, and you're doing well with that plane, you can stick with that. On my first play through, I flew an F/A-18 for nearly every mission after I got it. Recommended Aircraft: F-15E, F-22, Su-37, F-15 ACTIVE. Use the ground weapon of your choosing. I'll be flying an Su-37 w/ UGBLs. Alright. You know the drill. Full throttle. Two EF-2000s will appear in front of you. Two F-22s are close behind. As you get closer to the mainland, there are two more EF-2000s and two more F-22s. Engage if you want, but don't waste too much time on them. One of the first things you'll note (especially in the Su-37) is how quick your new plane turns. It kinda startled me when I turned to hit one of the EF-2000s and had to turn back the other way, cause my plane turned too quickly. After destroying/passing up the fighters, fly to the eastern group of targets. You'll see a battleship, and some tanks on a bridge. Drop one bomb on the middle of the ship to wipe it out, and then take out the tanks. Save your bombs for when there are two or more targets grouped together. There's a SAM north of the bridge that you might wanna hit before turning to take out the rest of the tanks. After this, just wander on west, destroying whatever's in the way. Head to the northern group of targets, and you'll see another bridge. You can target and destroy this bridge. Do so, and hit any other tanks in the area. For now, ignore the fighters. You'll want to head to the eastern group of targets now. You'll see a buncha tanks and stuff and offshore, you'll see the underwater remains of the municipal district (Farbanti was hit by an asteroid. This may be why the Erusians built Stonehenge in the first place.). There are two submarines wedged between the buildings. You can destroy them by either flying in between the buildings, or attacking from above. Come back and hit whatever tanks and choppers are left. You shouldn't need to resupply yet. After most of the tanks are destroyed, spend the rest of the time picking off fighters. Resupply when you're out of missiles. If there are less than 5 minutes left or there aren't many ground targets left, switch to your plane's air-to-air weapon. Just keep mopping up. Toward the end of the mission, some choppers will appear over the western bridge (the first area you hit), and other choppers will appear over the headquarters. Just keep fighting until time is up. Yellow Squadron will show up at this point. You have to take all 5 of them out without any help from allies. If you have damage or are out of your secondary weapon, you should probably resupply. Take out the choppers that are evacuating if you haven't already. My suggesting for fighting them? Don't ever slow to engage them. Stay above 800 at all times, and just make passes at them what whatever you have. You'll eventually destroy them. Don't really have much else to offer you. Do what you've been doing and you should be fine. My score/rank: 5430/S Money earned: 363000 --- Mission 18: "Megalith" Objectives: Destroy the three generators, and then destroy the giant missile within Megalith. Recommended Buys: The S-37 is available now, but personally, I prefer the F-22, Su-37, and F-15 ACTIVE over it. It has more QAAMs and UGBLs than the Su-37, but it doesn't have any other weapon, nor does it perform as well as the Su-37. It does have Stealth, whatever bonus that gives you. Recommended Aircraft: Anything with XMAAs, XLAAs, or QAAMs (preferably QAAMs). You start out with 9 allies (Mobius Squadron) here. Fly north and you'll encounter Yellow Squadron. There are 15 of these guys in Su-37s, but they aren't as difficult to shoot down as the Yellow Squadron aircraft in previous missions. For extra points, you can destroy as many of these as you can, but they aren't your main objective. I almost always fight them, though. When you approach Megalith, you'll see that there are 3 tunnels in front of the facility. You can't fly into the middle one just yet, but the tunnels to the left and right lead to the generators on the left and right. You have to fly low (20-100 feet, roughly) to enter the tunnels. For the generator on the left, fire as soon as you have a lock. If you wait, your missile will probably miss. Don't fly toward the generator, either. Just fly straight. For the generator on the right, fire at it and then fly through where it once was to exit. (Note: Make sure you have the correct generator targeted when you fly in. If you don't, then change targets until you do have the correct generator.) For the middle generator, you have to fly in through the side of Megalith. I recommend flying in from the west, though it really doesn't matter. Fly low into the passageway, and destroy the generator. When the third generator is destroyed, you'll have some extra targets (missiles) to fire at for big points. Fly on through the passageway and hit the two targets. If you miss the first one, don't worry. Make sure you hit the second one, though, and pull up. Turn around and fly back along the passage (not in it, but above it, so you get a better shot at the missiles) and hit each of the missiles as you pass. You have to do this fairly quickly, because they launch within a minute, and you can't hit them once they've launched. After you've destroyed all of the other missiles, fly around to the front of Megalith again. You'll see that the tunnel in the middle has opened. Fly in just like you did the others. When you get to the missile, destroy it. Your exit doesn't open up until you actually get into the room that the missile is housed in. You'll see the ceiling open up when you get there. MAKE SURE YOU'VE DESTROYED THE MISSILE BEFORE EXITING. Fly on through and the mission will be over. Enjoy the ending, you've certainly earned it. ;) My score/rank: 5040/S Money earned: 258000 === Random Useless Info Results of the Walkthrough Game I scored S ranks on every mission with the exception of Stonehenge Offensive. I still can't believe I didn't get it. I even got it on my first try on Ace difficulty... For the first time ever, I killed all 15 Yellows by myself on Megalith. Number of times I scraped the ground and survived: Once. Number of times I crashed: Five. Number of times I got shot down: Zero. Total Flight Time: 3:07:38 I flew the following: F/A-18C 3 times. EF-2000 3 times. F-5E twice. F-16C twice. A-10A twice. F-15E twice. Su-37 twice. F-4 once. F-14 once. Air targets destroyed: 356 Ground targets destroyed: 621 --- Here are the results (score and rank) of my very first play through on normal: 1: 780/A 2: 2310/S 3: 1280/A 4: 1420/S 5: 2340/C (ouch) 6: 3240/C (double ouch) 7: 1035/A 8: 2330/A 9: 3060/C (I sucked at hitting ground targets.) 10: 3130/C (Need any more proof than these 4 C ranks?) 11: 600/S 12: 2690/A (How strange. I got the very same score on my first try as I did on the walkthrough game...) 13: 2940/S 14: 2020/S 15: 3410/B (At least it isn't a C rank.) 16: 5560/A 17: 3590/A 18: 4170/A My high scores on Ace Difficulty (all of these are S ranks): 1: 1080 2: 2610 3: 1760 4: 1540 5: 5350 6: 7350 7: 2265 8: 3790 9: 4720 10: 6650 11: 840 12: 2990 13: 3880 14: 2260 15: 5010 16: 6430 17: 5100 18: 5100 Trial Mission high scores/ranks: 1: 5050/A 2: 1740/S 3: 1000/S 4: 1:01:43/S 5: 0:19:36/S --- You can have a look at your plane (or the weaponry for your plane) on the select aircraft screen by pressing the Square button. Similarly, you can remove all of the flight stats during the replay that shows the flight paths of everyone by pressing Square. Fly straight north on Invincible Fleet. Watch the ground carefully. You'll eventually spot a Namco logo. F.E.A.F stands for Free Erusea Air Force. It's on the Ace paint schemes for nearly every plane. It's probably on the paint schemes for regular Erusean planes too, but it's hard to get a good look at those when you're in combat. The dead man at the end of Mission 17 is the Erusian Supreme Commander. Evidence of the Ulysses asteroids are nearly everywhere from North Point to Farbanti. This is why part Farbanti is underwater. I'm guessing that they built Stonehenge after their capital was nearly demolished by the asteroid. On the last movie for the game, the narrator explains why he writes the letter to you. At the very end, for only a few seconds, you can see a harmonica and a picture of his family. I assume the woman is the barkeep's daughter. I think that the cutscene in the beginning is the base of a flagpole, showing the pulley and ropes on which the ISAF flag is being raised. Number of times I collided with a chopper and survived: Once. More to come here. === Hints and Tips -Make use of the L2 and R2 buttons to yaw. If you need to drop a bomb and you can't quite get the aim right, try these instead of the analog stick. It's better to Yaw instead of actually trying to maneuver inside of the Megalith tunnels as well. -Also make use of the autopilot feature if you're having trouble in the Megalith tunnels. You have to press Up on the D Pad. When you're on autopilot, you can't move, so if you need to yaw left of right to correct yourself, let go of the Up button. -You can pull tighter turns if you're flying slowly. -A really quick way of pointing yourself toward the ground is stalling. If you can't get a fighter off your back, nail the brakes and pull straight up until you stall. When you point down, let go of the brake and pull out of the stall, hopefully behind the fighter. -A good way to take out SAMs with missiles is to fly straight above them with the throttle wide open. Even if they fire a shot before you destroy it, by the time the missile has gained altitude, you'll have already passed by it. If anyone has any they'd like to add, send them to me. === Secrets Expert and Ace difficulty levels: I think all you have to do is beat the game on hard to unlock expert, and then beat the game on expert to unlock Ace. Unlock Free Mission and Trial Mission modes: Beat the game once. Unlock Music Player and Scene Viewer: Beat the game once. Unlock Alternate Paint Schemes: Each aircraft has two alternate paint schemes to buy. For the first alternate, I think all you have to do is score S ranks for each mission. For the second alternate, you have to shoot down the ace of the plane you want the second alternate of. The Aces are identified as orange targets on the radar, and can't be detected unless you get close to them. They are identified by the plane they are in and the pilot's name (e.g. F-5E Wang). For example, if you shoot down the Ace "F-5E Wang", you'll get the 2nd alternate paint scheme of the F-5. Unlock Yellow Squadron paint scheme: Shoot down all of the Aces and you'll unlock the second Su-37 paint scheme. Ace Locations: I'll do this later. If you're looking for a certain Ace, check Halo00to14 or SDumblauskas' FAQs. Unlock the X-02: Score all S ranks on normal to unlock the X-02. To unlock the alternates, score all S ranks on the higher difficulty levels. I think you have to have beaten the game twice, also. See the SR-71: The SR-71 makes two appearances in this game. In Shattered Skies, it will be the very first thing you target in the mission (before you can even control your plane), and it flies very fast at about 40000 feet. You can follow it on your map pretty easily since it's the really fast moving dot. In Whiskey Corridor, fly to the western side of the map, just north of the return line, and it will appear at about 20000 feet. See the XB-70: The XB-70 is a relatively obscure supersonic bomber that was never put into production. In the Breaking Arrows mission, you can see it flying from east to west at high altitudes at the northern end of the map. Additional VS mode maps: Beat the game once to get three new VS maps. One is a competition to see who can shoot down more Yellow Squadron aircraft, and the other two are one-on-one maps. (Was there anything I left out?) === To do list Outline for second play through Fill in the aircraft descriptions with my own Organize this better Ace locations Confirm secrets === Credits/Thanks to: Jeff "CJayC" Veasey for making such a cool website that gave me the idea to write this FAQ in the first place. (www.gamefaqs.com) grandmort, just for having a really cool Ace Combat 04 site. (http://www.merqurycity.com/shatteredskies/index.html) The AC04 Development team for making this game. My roommate, for letting me use his computer to write this FAQ, as well as for letting me play his copy of Ace Combat 4 on his Playstation 2 on his TV. Frozensky (that would be me) for writing this FAQ. The GameFAQs Ace Combat 4 message board community. These guys provided massive amounts of help and info (whether they meant to or not ;). Check out Halo00to14's and SDumblauskas' FAQs on this game as well, for more strategies and info about this game. === End of FAQ