The summer of 1999 was an exciting time to be a WW2 flight simulation fan. Dynamix, the makers of the iconic Red Baron, were beavering away on Desert Fighters. At Looking Glass Studios, the talented Flight Unlimited team were busy with Flight Combat: Thunder Over Europe. Microsoft were in the midst of a Pacific theatre Combat Flight Simulator sequel. Oh yes, there was also a small Russian outfit with no sim track-record whatsoever, working on a game about an obscure Soviet ground-attack aircraft.
As it turned-out, the fates of these four sims couldn't have been more different or less predictable. DF perished before ever leaving the ground; FC:TOE arrived years late, a buggy and dated mess; CFS2 sold like hot cakes but left no significant legacy; IL-2 Sturmovik, the dark horse from Moscow, turned-out to be the greatest combat flight sim ever made.