Fly with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Element squadrons as you defend country and, eventually, Earth itself from attack. Pilot aircraft that span sixty years of aviation including WWII prop planes, Korean War jets, rare prototypes, and even aircraft from previous Konami games like the Vic Viper and TwinBee.
Between missions you can explore the base and talk to wingmates, buy new aircraft and special weapons, modify or repaint existing aircraft, and get mission briefings. Missions can have varied objectives, but any enemy crafts shot down will reward money used to buy, modify, and repair aircraft. While Ken Thomas is the main character of the game, other pilots can be used in missions as the game progresses, and using them can open up bonus missions as well as alter the story. The player can only play as Delta Squadron pilots, but the story is told from the perspective of both E.D.A.F.'s Delta Squadron and their O.C.C. Ace counterparts. Medals are awarded to each pilot as they reach milestones, such as number of enemy aces shot down or number of aircraft purchased.