Secret Weapons over Normandy
Lately we’re being overwhelmed with WW2 shooters. Think of CoD, RtCW: ET (although this has been released quite a while already), BF1942: SW, … All these great games focus on the great team feeling one gets from playing together and accomplishing missions together but once too many one of the most powerful means of both German aswell as British army has been overlooked: the airforce (Luftwaffe and RAF). To fill that gap, the guys from LucasArts jumped into their planes and created Secret Weapons over Normandy. Time for my to enter my cockpit and see what they made. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have lift-off.”
The game is put on no less than 4 cd’s of which three were necessary for installation and one so-called play disc. After the necessary disc shuffling I was finally read to try out my newest toy and that was nothing else that the British Hurricane Fighter. Not unknown to those who know something about WW2.
This is where a typical element of SwoN comes into play, the unlocking of new airplanes. Normally you won’t notice much of this when playing the campaign as there the next plane you need to use has been fixed already from the beginning but in the Instant Action mode these planes will come back into action. In total you’ll be able to unlock and fly over 20 planes and that isn’t all you can unlock. The further you go in the campaign, new area’s to fly and weapons will become available and if you get far enough, also some ”special” weapons will be able to be used on your flying brick.
Also good to know is that next to airplanes also other bonusses are linked to completing a mission. Every mission you’ll be able to win some Upgrade Requisitions, upgrade points so to speak. These are necessary to add stuff to your craft like double ammo, something which can come in handy when suddenly flying into a squad of Ju-87 Stuka’s (I’m talking out of experience).
As said there’s a campaign mode and an instant action mode. In the first one you just fly the track that has been laid out for you. You’re an American pilot who has the honor to pay a visit to his British colleagues and fly along with the RAF. In the beginning you’ll mostly be flying a Hurricane and you can call yourself lucky because that plane feels very smooth and isn’t really hard compared to “real” flight simulators. On the contrary, I’m one of the few boys who doesn’t own a joystick for my pc en fly everything with my keyboard. In other games this tends to lead to frustration and many crashes but not so here. Never flied so easy, relaxed and simple. Perfectly done !
The surroundings have been beautifully modelled, nice blue sky, birds, friendly planes, unfortunately also not so friendly planes, clouds from exploding AA fire, parachutes, … a normal day in WW2. On the ground there are tanks which you can nicely see exploding through your bomb camera when you throw a 250 pounds bomb in their face. Good image quality so to speak.
The sound is nicely done aswell. Explosions sound like explosions (I’ve known games where this wasn’t the case), planes that crossed me have made me look behind me when playing with my headset and also the sounds of those lead coffee beans spitters at the front of your craft do what they have to do. Decent sound, but we’re used to that from LucasArts, aren’t we ?
A massive flight game of which there are no 12 in a dozen. Great controls, fun gameplay (despite the rather repetitive character of the missions towards the end), sweet sound and the pure fun of kicking Nazi-butt. It doesn’t always have to be zombies, right ?