top of page

A-10 Tank Killer: A version retrospective

Version 1.0 splash screen
Version 1.0 splash screen

This post will be taking a look the versions of A-10 Tank Killer that have been released, what some of the changes are and what it means for playing on modern machines.

For the sake of clarity it's worth noting the title of the game changed. For versions prior to v1.5 the game was named 'A-10 Tank Killer', for versions 1.5 and later, it became 'A-10 Tank Killer Version 1.5'.

A-10 Tank Killer

Version 1.0 menu
Version 1.0 menu

The original game had a neutral / Western Europe interface. There was only a single Western Europe campaign of 7 missions and the game intro was different. During flight there were no engine noises resulting in a different audio landscape.

Physical releases of A-10 were versions 1.0 and 1.1. Usually released on both 2 x double density (DD) 3.5" (720k) disks and 4 x double sided, double density (DS, DD) 5.25" (360k) disks. My original UK copy of A-10 is version 1.1.

These days, disk images are more likely to be available. 2 x 720k or 4 x 360k disk images would normally be version 1.0 or 1.1.

This version isn't recommended for DOSBox, it is very speed sensitive and requires a lot of cycle tweaking to get it to run 'acceptably'. Setting cycles too high results in weapons always missing their target and SAM's that never do!

Version 1.4

If there's a definitive version of 'A-10 Tank Killer' this is it. Speed sensitivity issues are resolved and the joystick and mouse handling routines are improved. The game 'look and feel' remains the same.

Version 1.4 is available as a patch (and I've only seen it as a patch). You'll need to google and look for A1014.ZIP or A1014.EXE and apply it to an existing v1.0/1.1 installation with DOSBox.

If you want to run the original 'A-10 Tank Killer' in DOSBox, you'll want to use this version. The joystick handling doesn't get any better than this in the series, so a joystick is usable!

A-10 Tank Killer Version 1.5

Version 1.5 menu
Version 1.5 menu

This is the version most people are probably familiar with. The UI is different with the 'Desert Storm' make-over. There are now 3 campaigns the original Western Europe, a second Western Europe and the Desert Storm campaigns. Engine noises are now present leading to a better audio landscape.

MobyGames shows a v1.51 release although I'm not sure what the differences are. Version 1.5 is most likely be be encountered as a 4 x 720k disk images or a zipped installation folder.

This version runs perfectly well under DOSBox, but suffers from the updated v1.5 joystick code. The developers added a huge dead-zone (approximately 10%) to the centre of joystick movement. Changing DOSBox settings doesn't help as the problem is in the game, not DOSBox, as Version 1.4 proves. It makes for a really spongy flying experience to the point many people are more comfortable playing with keyboard (myself included).

Version 1.52b1

The final version, included revised joystick/mouse handling code. From the README introduction:

This patch file will update your current version of A-10 Tank Killer to include a new joystick driver which corrects joystick problems, primarily those associated with using a fast computer (i.e. 386/33) with a game card that does not offer speed calibration. In addition, it corrects the problem of certain mouse drivers not being recognized in the simulation.

This version is available as a patch, for existing installations, google for A10PATCH.ZIP. The A-10 v1.5, included in the cd compilations 'Aces: The Complete Collector's Edition', 1995 and 'Aces: Collection Series', 1997 already include this patch.

This version runs perfectly well under DOSBox, but like the earlier v1.5 suffers from the large joystick dead-zone making keyboard controls the preferred control scheme.


bottom of page