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Posted on Oct 14, 2020 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”– IL2: Cliffs of Dover Computer Simulation Review

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”– IL2: Cliffs of Dover Computer Simulation Review

Rick Martin

IL2: Cliffs of Dover    Computer Simulation Review.  Publisher: 1C:Maddox Games and Team Fusion Simulations   Lead Development Producer :  Ilya Shevchenko  Price $24.99

Passed Inspection:    a huge game with over 25 flyable aircrafts can set it from scary total realism to easy mode, beautiful graphics, sound and background music, totally immersive, can be played solo in individual missions or campaigns or on-line with hundreds of human players, incredible value for the price, constant updates, on-line help, just an amazing piece of work

Failed Basic:      needs better tutorials, sometimes loses control set ups, screen shot function doesn’t work on my system

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 IL-2 Cliffs of Dover is the Battle of Britain simulator from the folks who brought you the excellent IL-2 Sturmovik flight simulator series.  While IL-2 Cliffs of Dover originally came out in 2011 and was a flawed release, 1C: Maddox Games and Team Fusion  Simulations have collaborated on this Steam release to give Cliffs of Dover the makeover it needed and they have made it a classic!

To call Cliffs of Dover a game would be selling it short.  It is a true flight simulator that must be seen and played to be believed.  In order to write this review, I have put in over 20 hours learning the flight models and working with Cliffs of Dover and I have barely scratched the surface of what this software can do.

Beaufighter shoots down a He111

First let’s look at the system requirements for Cliffs of Dover.  Here is what 1C/Team Fusion recommends:

Minimum:

  • OS: Windows® 7 / Vista SP2 / Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: Pentium® Dual-Core 2.0GHz or Athlon™ X2 3800+
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Graphics: DirectX® 9.0c compliant, 512MB Video Card (See supported List*)
  • DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 10GB
  • Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible
  • Peripherals: Mouse, keyboard
  • Multiplay: Broadband connection with 128 kbps upstream or faster


*SUPPORTED VIDEO CARDS AT TIME OF RELEASE:

ATI®: 5830/5850/5770/5870/6870/6950/6970

NVidia®: 250/260/275/285/460/465/470/480

Recommended:

  • OS: Windows® 7 / Vista SP2 / Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.66GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 2.6GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics: DirectX® 10 compliant, 1GB Video Card (See supported List*)
  • DirectX®: DirectX® 10
  • Hard Drive: 10GB
  • Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible
  • Peripherals: Joystick with throttle and rudder control
  • Multiplay: Broadband connection with 128 kbps upstream or faster


*SUPPORTED VIDEO CARDS AT TIME OF RELEASE:

ATI®: 5830/5850/5770/5870/6870/6950/6970

NVidia®: 250/260/275/285/460/465/470/480

I’m running it on an 8 core water cooled monster running Windows 7 with a 4 core Sapphire graphics card so even when there are twenty or thirty planes on the screen there is no stuttering on the graphics front.

Upon installation of Cliffs of Dover you’ll want to read the basics in the instructions which download to your system in PDF form.  The 120 page instruction booklet is very well written and takes you from the basics of flight to the complex mechanics of each plane in the game.

Next you’ll spend an hour or two setting up your keyboard, joystick and throttle commands.  This is a real drag and was one of the few things I don’t like about this game.  For me, coming from my experiences flying flight simulators going all the  way back to Microsoft Flight Simulator on the Commodore 64, I really expected there to be more presets for keyboard and joystick controls.  Nonetheless, I soldiered on and set up the controls and then saved the file just in case.  I was soon learning to fly but then I decided to do some cleaning of my computer’s case and unplugged all the USB devices.  After cleaning I put the system back together and low and behold, all my keyboard and joystick commands didn’t work.  I tried to load the configuration file and that didn’t help.  1C/Team Fusion’s tech support was quick to get back with me and tell me that the settings are specific to the USB ports used.  Now my computer has a lot of USB ports and I had no idea which ones I plugged what in to before I cleaned the computer case out.  So I went back and reprogrammed all the settings again.

Upon loading and running the game, the software needs to tell you that this issue exists and warn you not to change your USB configuration.  This should also be on page 1 of the instructions in big, bold letters.  This also caused me to give the simulator a lower rating but after I played it some more I can’t – I’m in love with Cliffs of Dover and even this flaw is but a minor inconvenience now.  At least you have been warned!

Cliffs of Dover features over 25 different fully flyable aircrafts of many different models of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Beaufighters, Wellingtons, Me108s (the only flight sim I know of that simulates this courier aircraft which, while not player flyable in Cliffs of Dover will be flyable in the Tobruk expansion which will be reviewed soon), Me109s, Me110s, Ju88s, Do17s, He111, Stukas and the list goes on and on.  1C has even included Italian aircrafts such as the Cr.42, G.50 and BR.20M.  You can change positions in the planes which have 2 or more crew so you can have the very capable AI fly the Stuka while you man the rear gunner’s position.

setting up a mission

Here is a complete list of aircrafts in this simulator as reprinted from Wikipedia with references to Wikipedia footnotes:

LUFTWAFFE
Plane
AI controlledPlayer flyableNotes 
Bf 108 B2 Taifunyesno[3] 
Bf 109 E-1yesyes[4] 
Bf 109 E-1/Byesyes[4] 
Bf 109 E-3yesyes[5][4] 
Bf 109 E-3/Byesyes[5][4] 
Bf 109 E-4[6]yesyes[4] 
Bf 109 E-4 Lateyesyes 
Bf 109 E-4/Byesyes[4] 
Bf 109 E-4/B Lateyesyes 
Bf 109 E-4/N[7]yesyes[8][4][9][10] 
Bf 109 E-4/N Lateyesyes 
Bf 110 C-2yesyes[11][8] 
Bf 110 C-4yesyes[5][11] 
Bf 110 C-4 Lateyesyes 
Bf 110 C-4/Nyesyes[11] 
Bf 110 C-4/NJGyesyes 
Bf 110 C-4/Byesyes 
Bf 110 C-6yesyes[9][10] 
Bf 110 C-7yesyes[11] 
Ju 87 B-2yesyes[5][12][13][14] 
Do 17 Z-1yesno[15] 
Do 17 Z-2yesno[15] 
Do 215 B-1yesno[15] 
He 111 H-2yes[16]yes[5][17] 
He 111 P-2yes[16]yes[5][17] 
He 115 B-2yes[16]no[15] 
Ju 88 A-1yesyes[5][18][19] 
Fw 200 C-1yesno[15] 
REGIA AERONAUTICA
Plane
AI controlledPlayer flyableNotes 
Fiat CR.42yesno[3][15][2] 
Fiat G.50[6]yesyes[5][12][20] 
Fiat BR.20 M[21]yesyes[5][15][22] 
ROYAL AIR FORCE
Plane
AI controlledPlayer flyableNotes 
Spitfire Mk I[21]yesyes[5][13][23] 
Spitfire Mk I (100 octanes)[6][7]yesyes[23] 
Spitfire Mk Ia[21]yesyes[5][23] 
Spitfire Mk Ia (100 octanes)[6][7]yesyes[23] 
Spitfire Mk IIa[21]yesyes[5][23] 
Hurricane Mk I (DH 5-20)yesyes[13][24] 
Hurricane Mk I (DH 5-20 100 octanes)[6][7]yesyes[24] 
Hurricane Mk I (Rotol)yesyes[24] 
Hurricane Mk I (Rotol 100 octanes)yesyes[24] 
Hurricane Mk I-FByesyes 
Hurricane Mk I-NF (Rotol 100 octanes)yesyes 
Gladiator Mk IIyesno[15] 
Defiant Mk Iyesno[16][15] 
Blenheim Mk Iyesno[25] 
Blenheim Mk IF[25]yesno[15] 
Blenheim Mk I-NF[25]yesno[15] 
Blenheim Mk IVyesyes[5][26][27] 
Blenheim Mk IV Lateyesyes[26] 
Blenheim Mk IV Fyesyes[26][27] 
Blenheim Mk IV F Lateyesyes[26] 
Blenheim Mk IV-NFyesyes[26] 
Blenheim Mk IV-NF Lateyesyes[26] 
Beaufighter Mk IF[12]yesyes[26][28][9] 
Beaufighter Mk I-NF[12]yesyes[26][28][9] 
Wellington Mk ICyesno[15] 
Anson Mk Iyesno[3][15] 
Walrus Mk Iyesno[15] 
Sunderland Mk Iyesno[29][3][25][15] 
Tiger Mothyesyes[30][26][28] 
Tiger Moth 1940yesyes[26] 
Tiger Moth A-1yesyes[26] 
Tiger Moth A-2yesyes 

For the original Wikipedia list, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modelled_aircraft_in_IL-2_Sturmovik:_Cliffs_of_Dover

I believe that the Wellington is now player flyable.

Me110 gets a kill

You can customize your aircraft and even your pilot based upon the nationality that you are flying for.  In campaigns, when you score a confirmed kill, kill markings can be added to your aircraft’s nose or rudder (for German pilots).  You can even customize your gun convergence and ammunition and weapon load outs.

All of the controls in each aircraft actually work if you use a mouse to toggle switches and move throttles.  If you want to crank up the detail and learn exactly how to fly a Hurricane as a real pilot would, you learn to set the mixture, open the radiators, set the magnetos, start the engine, warm up the engine for 10 minutes so the oil and water are at the correct temperatures (I’m not kidding you, it’s that detailed on maximum realism’s setting), etc. etc.  As for me, after spending 7 hours learning how to start up a Hurricane from memory, I decided that I needed a lower level of detail setting as I kept stalling the engine and then kept overheating the engine.  With the lower level of detail setting, I hit one key to start the engine and the computer does the rest.  I want to really just focus on flying well and fighting well.

Me110 cockpit

There are two good tutorials to help you with your take offs, landings and basic flying skills.  In those training missions, you’ll fly a de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth which is a very forgiving aircraft.  You’ll also learn how to recover from a spin.

Tiger Moth over England

The third tutorial needs a lot of work.  It’s supposed to take you from engine start all the way to flying and landing but I found it to be incomplete and very confusing.  The tutorial teaches you nothing about taxing or how to work your brakes so I found myself constantly hitting ground objects while trying to learn the controls.  This tutorial needs to be redesigned.  I would also add a tutorial for basic combat gunnery, bombing and formation flying.

 Flash cards are included as a PDF with detailed instructions on how to fly each type of plane including how to use different positions in multi-position aircrafts such as the He111.  See the picture from He111 Torpedo Attack Instructions for the level of detail which is included in these Flash Cards.

He111 Torpedo Employment Flash Card

Once you get in to combat flying, you’ll find a variety of missions and, get this, you can chose between flying daylight missions or night time missions!  Yes, you can fly a night fighter in this simulator!

Some mission types include: air to air fighter combat, bomber escorts, bomber intercepts, ground target attack, ground target strafing, ship interdiction with bombs, torpedoes and strafing, night fighter patrols, low level interception, etc.  The list just goes on and on.

night attack

When you fly single player missions, if there are other aircrafts in your fight, you can see and hear communications between the pilots.  I was flying as aircraft two in a two Hurricane patrol when we intercepted three unescorted Do17s.  After the first pass, I received a radio call from my wing leader that his engine was hit by enemy fire and was cutting out.  He headed back towards base.  I kept up the attack until my radiator was punctured by a bullet and then my fuel line was hit and I was streaming petrol behind my plane (not a healthy way to fly in a combat zone).  As I turned away from the Do17s, I noticed all three were turning and heading back toward France and not continuing on their mission.  When I landed, I received a status report on all combatants – I had delivered more than 50% damage on each of the Dorniers.  They decided to abort their mission based upon the damage done to them and they headed back to base too.  The level of AI in this game is stunning. I feel liking I’m flying with and against real human pilots.

Hunting Do17 bombers

One complaint that I have also holds true with earlier versions of IL2, the AI bomber gunners are far too accurate and hit far more often than in real life.  I wish there was a way to adjust their accuracy level.

And since we are talking about combat, the damage models are truly amazing and are very accurate.  You can view the outside of your aircraft and actually see the damage done to your plane.  You can also see bullet holes on your aircraft from inside the cockpit. On one mission, I had to turn back when my pilot was hit by a bullet or shrapnel and my vision faded to blood red.  I did make it back to base but had to convalesce for a time.  You can turn on a helpful screen which tells you not only what damage you or your wingmen have taken but tells you what damage you and your wingmen have done to the enemy.  For example on message told me “player attack kills Do17 dorsal gunner” while another said “player’s radiator is punctured”.

I am wounded

All types of weather conditions are modeled as are day and night lighting conditions.

Sometimes it’s just nice to fly around without any enemy action and just enjoy the sites.  If you map your view to the dongle on your joystick, you can easily just look around and fly.

Spitfires

The first few times I used the command to take screenshots everything worked fine but after that I was unable to do in game screen shots for some reason.  I tried FRAPS to take pictures for this review but FRAPS didn’t work with the simulator.  Many of the pictures taken for this review were taken from my cell phone camera so you may see a little screen distortion.  I must remember to bring this issue up with 1C/Team Fusion’s tech support.

For those who like to fly against real people, there is a huge community of players who fly with and against each other on-line.  This community also posts training and combat videos on YouTube.

IL2 Cliffs of Dover has become my favorite World War 2 flight simulator and I have to commend Team Fusion on the constant improvements that they are making on this simulator.

I can’t wait to fly Cliffs of Dover again and then, shortly thereafter, to start my review plays of IL2 Desert Wings Tobruk, which takes this sim to North Africa.

Keep the dirty side down and keep on flying folks.

Armchair General Rating:  96% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)

Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)

About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

Knocking down a He111
Hurricane shooting down a Me109
Me109 get a kill
Me110s flying escort
Me110 cockpit – looking to the right
over London
Beaufighter cockpit
an attack on He111s

2 Comments

  1. -“screen shot function doesn’t work on my system”
    PrintScreen key definirive don’t work well, change in Options > Controls > Game the key for F11, work flawless. Or use F12 STEAM default screenshot key, warranted.

    -“As for me, after spending 7 hours learning how to start up a Hurricane from memory,”

    Sorry to say, but you became victim of the myth “complex engine startup”. Start engines in CloD only require:

    1 – turn of fuel cock
    2 – press the key/button for engine start
    3 – wait engine warm-up, meanwhile open radiator

    All the rest that you may read or hear is “what if/fantasy”.

    Congratulations for do that fool “Training” module.

    • Thanks for the comments Sokol1. I’ll try the F11 remapping this weekend.

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