European Air War sports three campaigns: the Battle of Britain in 1940 and Battle for Europe campaigns set in 1943 and 1944. In the Battle of Britain, you can fly for the English or Germans. In Battle for Europe, you can fly for the Americans, English, or Germans. Enlist in a Pilot Career, and you'll choose a squadron, which in turn will select the plane you fly and the base you'll fly from. The campaigns are dynamic rather than prescripted, with missions generated on the fly by the computer. If you take out a target, it will remain destroyed when you fly over it again in a later mission. If you fail to successfully defend your airbase from a bomber attack, in the next mission, you'll find yourself flying from a new base. The dynamic nature of the campaign keeps you from ever getting the same mission twice. Be warned, however, that the mission tasking is fairly realistic, so missions can be repetitive. For instance, RAF pilots will spend most of the Battle of Britain performing bomber-intercept missions.
In addition to the campaigns, there's an instant action mode as well as a quick mission builder that lets you select between various types of missions (such as escort, interdiction, and intercept) and the types and numbers of friendly and enemy planes. To MicroProse's credit, this latter interface is also used for multiplayer, letting you fly real missions with and against other human players when you grow tired of the deathmatch mode.
The game features 20 different models of 11 flyable aircraft, including the Spitfire, Hurricane, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, FW-190D9, and the ME-262 jet. The flight models aren't as refined as those in Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator, but the performance variations between aircraft are accurately represented. You can fine-tune realism by toggling details such as stalls and spins, torque, structural limits, blackouts, and engine overheating. There are excellent audio indications of impending stalls and overheating engines.