Carrier Air Wing
Capcom’s 1990 Carrier Air Wing is a fairly standard side scrolling plane shooter. Except for one thing that elevated it massively in my eyes. That’s the surprisingly detailed and (in a visual sense) accurate depiction of military hardware. You can control either a Hornet, a Tomcat, or an Intruder (which is marked as an A-6F. Wonder if they knew of the never-was upgrade or if it was a happy coincidence because they chose the next letter after E.)
When I saw Tu-22 Blinders as enemies in the first level, I was in love. When I saw Yak-38s in a later stage, I was even more in love. This is quite possibly the most Fuldapocalyptic shmup there is, and I loved playing every second of it. Yes, there’s the sci-fi superweapons (such as a final boss that includes a Buran shuttle) but it’s otherwise very grounded-looking compared to other games of its time and nature.
This is basically a video game adaptation of a Mack Maloney novel. What’s not to like?