|The Russians Are Coming: Flanker 2.0 in Review|
Not since the long anticipated unveiling of Falcon 4.0 has the combat flight sim community witnessed such a quantum leap in technology and excellence. SSI has just released upon the post cold-war world its momentous Flanker 2.0.
And what a release it is! Flanker 2.0 is a splendor to behold. There's something here for everyone - not just the bleary eyed hardcore East Block fanatic that drinks Vodka, reads Cyrillic and lusts over Nagging Nadia's seductive voice till 5AM daily.
To really appreciate this punctuated quantum leap, and not just incremental evolutionary change, we should revisit the history of SSI's Su-27 Flanker.
A Blast at the Past
In 1995, SSI came out with the first Win95 compatible flight simulation to rival Falcon3 in fidelity, a hardcore simmers nirvana. Armed with 1 MB 2D graphics cards on the first generation Pentiums when Su27 (Flanker 1) arrived - this classic benchmark in flight technology was truly awesome and helped to define "hardcore."
Fast forward to the present day with the recent release of Falcon4 and Flanker2. Now running with at least P2 and P3s with 64-128MB RAM, 512KB CACHE, 16-32MB TNT and Voodoo 3D graphics accelerators, and V90/ISDN/DSL/Cable modem connectivity technologies - the bar for benchmark combat flight simulation is reborn.
While the East vs West block nations may appear to be in Glastnost, the war continues to to rage between Falcon4 and Flanker2. What a great time for us fans, the fight is definitely on! Talk about Win-Win, but peacefully co-existing? Nyet!
With the historical foundation set, and after paying appropriate respect to Falcon, we move on to take a closer look at Flanker 2.0 or "F2" as it is affectionately designated.
F2 was born running, and not plagued by crippling bugs as is all too common today. It is not perfect by a long shot, and in all fairness didn't try to be everything (including force on force real time active war as F4 attempts to emulate). As a result, I believe SSI showed great wisdom and restraint in not trying to one up F4 but to instead stick to perfecting the basic "gotta haves."
SSI chose not to follow the previous leader into the realm of quasi-finished production mega-code that may or may not prove to be a run away bug train. What F2 delivered is: awe inspiring flight model, cutting edge graphics, industry leading multiplayer stability, easy to master high quality mission editor, realistic 3D cockpit with unique padlocking and head movement views, land and sea based operations, narrated training, improved FM and radar over v1.5, phased campaigning, realistic 3D terrain, puffy clouds and fog, great manual - just to name the high points.
Again, what is truly spectacular about F2 is that in its first release, the multiplayer and overall code stability sets the new benchmark in the whole simulation industry. This is a crown worthy to be envied by all developers, and to the benefit of all customers.
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Last Updated November 9th, 1999