It didn't have the same rep. that the Harrier does, but it was one of a kind... and it would be nice to have 2 VTOL's to fly/compare with.
You are quite correct - actually a bad rep - limited gas, couldn't carry much ordnance under good conditions - get into hot weather and forget it, you are not carrying anything. Its configuration (lift engines fwd with swivel nozzle main engines in the rear - combined with the fact that the soviet era KIEV-class CVHGs didn't have a ski jump deck meant it was limited to VTOL ops at sea - again limiting how much it could carry. There's a chapter in the late Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" that describes a YAK-38 encounter with F-15s that probably captures the sense of its limitations well.
All of which is why I'd love to see it - definitely a challenge to fly - have to really pay attention to weights and balance, probably not over stressing the engines, etc.
BTW there is a pretty good looking KIEV CVHG by Harri Thaha & Hadi Tahir that would complement this as an AI carrier.
As a former Cold Warrior I'd really like fly this thing.