Move over, Combat Flight Simulator, for what may very well be the
best World War II flight sim to be published.
The backdrop is the Eastern Front—Germans vs. Russians. The
Il-2 Sturmovik, known as “the Flying Tank,” was not
a real thing of visual beauty, but one brute of an aircraft that
was feared by its enemies.
Built to provide ground support—read that as tactical air
support—it was Russia’s answer to the German Stuka.
The scope of this sim not only includes many unique Russian aircraft,
but also most of the best-known German fighters and bombers, including
the Me-262 and He-162 jets. Both the air war and ground action are
included. You can choose from 31 different aircraft, in addition
to another 41 different models in action.
The developer’s obsession with detail is everywhere—cockpits,
skins, damage modeling, terrain, voice chatter, lightning, rain,
stuttering engines, wheel smoke on landing, ship and torpedo wakes.
Every control surface that could function actually does, right down
to the rudder pedals and trim controls.
Did we mention sound? How about rain on the wings of the aircraft?
Damaged-engine noise and changes in propeller pitch can be heard.
The AI (Artificial Intelligence) wingman is very smart, allowing
a single player to command up to 16 aircraft.
When you’re up to your ears in cockpit tension, move to the
sidelines and watch other combatants fighting it out in real-time.
You can even record events for later viewing and “lessons-learned”
category. Weather options—fog, rain, lightening and snow—are
included combined with day and night visuals.
When you get tired of flying, switch places with the IL-2’s
rear gunner. Icons provide identification of friends and foes. But
if you really want a challenge, turn off the icons and see how you
You get shot at with flak bursts from rolling trains. Ostensibly,
they are your targets, but they don’t seem to be im-pressed
by that. The anti-aircraft fire has realistic (and possibly battle
damaging) flak. If you get hit, that hole will create drag and affect
your flight capabilities. Tracer cannon fire will leave a trail
of smoke, and other aircraft will leave contrails during high-altitude
There are no “gimmies” in this sim. You only hit what
you actually hit, based on ballistics. The best part is seeing the
other pilot’s canopy flying off and him bailing out. Details
are similar for ground hits.
Single-player campaigns span your flying history as a pilot from
1941 to 1945, and include air support, ground attacks and even naval
battles. There are 20 single missions, a quick-mission engine and
You can choose to fly as a Russian or German pilot. The cities
that you fly over are recreated in astonishing detail.
Lots of multi-player features are included, and voice chatter for
your group is channel selectable. Up to 32 combat pilots in single-winner
scenario or 16 pilots in co-operative mode (eight per side, plus
AI aircraft and ground vehicles).
Publisher: Ubisoft (www.ubisoft.com). Developer: 1C: Maddox Games.
Requirements: Windows 95/98, ME CD-ROM System, P II 400 MHz, 128
MB RAM, 16 MB 3-D graphics card, sound card (DirectX 8 compatible),
DirectX 8 or Higher (DirectX is included on CD).
NovaLogic—whose previous sims included the RAH-66 Comanche,
Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor, General Dynamics’ F-16
and Russia’s MiG-29 Fulcrum—has returned with a fourth
iteration of the Comanche, flying against global terrorists at critical
points around the world. Technical complications of managing this
attack helicopter, such as collective and cyclic controls, are absent
from this simplified version. Supported by a stunning new graphics
engine that produces spectacular landscapes, pyrotechnics and destructive
effects upon attaining a hit, the original sim has been greatly
This version includes seven campaigns, comprising 30 individual
missions, which are challenging, but not overly complicated. They
do not interconnect or flow together to increase the difficulty
The armament load includes Hellfire and Stinger missiles, complimented
by 20 mm cannon and rockets. You are confronted with plenty of ground
troops, dug-in infantry and even enemy harbor installations.
Developer and Publisher: NovaLogic; Requirements: Pentium II 450,
128 MB RAM, 32 MB 3-D accelerator, 200 MB HD.
Dr. David LL. Silbergeld is a member of the Special Operations
and Low-Intensity Conflict Division of the National Defense Industrial
Association. His e-mail address is: email@example.com.