Pacific Fighters

1The guys behind the original IL-2 Sturmovik, Oleg Maddox and his team, gave us a wonderful focus of the war over the snowy expanses of the Eastern Front, where German planes tangled with obscure but lively Russian planes. Since then, it’s gradually migrated closer to a setting more palatable to American gamers, working its way westward to the European front with free downloads, the Forgotten Battles expansion, and then the Aces expansion. That’s what Pacific Fighters is all about – IL-2 Sturmovik if it were set in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

The sim can be played as an add-on for IL-2 or a standalone game. It doesn’t do anything to substantially change how IL-2 plays; you still choose scripted missions, or a career of dynamically generated missions. But what has changed substantially is the setting, which will be as familiar to American audiences as, say, the movie Pearl Harbor or the 70s TV show Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

First there is the new terrain, which begins at either a modest tropical airfield or on the rolling deck of a detailed aircraft carrier. The new arenas are built from mottled shallow water, deep blue sea, steaming ships, and frame-rate hungry island palms. It’s no Far Cry, but it looks as lush as IL-2’s European settings, albeit with a sunnier disposition. But then there are the new planes, with 1C’s trademark meticulous flight physics and lovingly detailed models.

From the demanding F4U Corsair to the zippy Zeros to the ubiquitous Wildcats and wide-winged Vals and silvery B-29s, the Pacific theatre never looked so good. The career modes let you choose among the Imperial Army or Navy, and the US Army Air Force or Navy, complete with IL-2’s shifting front line based on how well you’re doing.

System Requirements: Pentium III 750 MHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP

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