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IL-2 Sturmovik Complete Edition shop online and reviews

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The summer of 1999 was an exciting time for a flight simulator fan. Dynamix, the makers of the iconic Red Baron, were beavering away on Desert Fighters. At Looking Glass Studios, the gifted Flight Unlimited team were occupied with Flight Combat: Thunder Over Europe. Microsoft were in the midst of a Pacific theater Combat Flight Simulator sequel. Oh yes, there was also a small Russian ensemble with no sim track-record whatsoever, working on a game about an obscure Soviet ground-attack aircraft.

Probably the most striking difference between this version and the original is girth
. Through time IL-2 has got fat. The sport boasts a stupendous range of 200 aircraft. Even if you dismiss the numerous variants the option of machines is still huge. Besides an exotic heart of Eastern Front aircraft including monsters like the TB-3 and tiddlers like the I-16 you have got a generous range of Japanese and Allied Pacific theatre rides, along with a smattering of planes that fought only in the skies over Western Europe. Although the majority of the flyables are single-engined and prop powered, aviators with a taste for jets and big bombers have their toys too. They get lumbering beauties like the B-25 and the He-111, and winged bullets such as the Me-262 and Me-163 Komet.

Soon the majority of the firearms were burning and I was hauling my Hurricane away from the smoke columns and the moaning sirens toward a dogfight which was growing to the SE. Finnish P-36 fighters had come a-snooping; time to remember those tactics. Gain height. Gain height. Find a straggler Stick on his tail till he fills the sight then LET HIM HAVE IT. Cannon shells jag across a dark wing, then tear it clean-off. A bandit flutters down like an autumn leaf. I'm still grinning when the crimson tracer fire from the other P-36 overtakes me and begins ripping chunks out of my tail. Damn! Where did he come from?

Ten minutes later a chewed-up Hurricane, sans elevator controllers, nervously nears home. I am sitting inside a thin suit of sweat by the time the undercarriage reaches down and grabs fistfuls of beautiful turf. Shoulders slumped with relief, I veer off the runway and park-up alongside some trucks to see the remainder of the squadron come in. There is Red 2; good, he lived after all. Red 3 appears in a bad way; hmmm, he's down but he does not seem to have the ability to maintain his machine straight. Cripes, he's coming straight at me! The careering Hurricane glances off mine, turning it around. For a moment I believe I might have just got away with it, then a flailing wingtip digs into a fuel truck and the world explodes.'

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