PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

Secret Weapons Over Normandy

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: Totally Games
Media: CD/4
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

For an arcade style flight sim, Secret Weapons Over Normandy sports some pretty nice visuals. The aircraft all look great, from the tiny German jet planes to the lumbering B-17's. Engine fires, flak, debris flying off your fuselage, all are there to see, including some nice explosions that occur when you finally wear your opponent's airframe down to a burning nub.

Lucasarts went the distance with the bells and whistles in this game. First of all, the sound effects are absolutely stunning. They used actual effects taken from WWII archives and put them to the best use since those specials on the History channel. The voice-overs are also done well, although your main character can sound a little cheesy at times. All in all, you'll be impressed.


Gameplay:

Secret Weapons Over Normandy is brought to you by the same people who created X-Wing and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, so right off the bat you know you're in for an experience. Throwing out some of the more complicated elements of a hard core flight sim, the good people at Lucasarts have managed to bring a great game to the table that reproduces the high points of WWII aerial combat with an arcade flare.

This mission based flight sim starts you out in the seat of a British fighter during the retreat of Dunkirk, where you must give cover to Fleeing English transport boats as they are harassed by those bad guys in the Messerschmitts. From that point on you take to the skies over Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Scandinavia.

Along the way you will not only fly missions, but also take part in challenges where you can unlock new planes, increase your rank (although that is just for show and doesn't really get you anywhere in the game), and earn valuable upgrade points that you can use on all of the planes that you have unlocked. How many planes you ask? 26 in total, including some of the more bizarre concepts that never saw the light of day during the war.

You have to wait until the later missions to unlock the really cool aircraft, though, something that may get on the nerves of antsy gamers that want to take secret weapons like the 'Flying Pancake' into the air right away. But believe me, it is well worth the wait. And since most missions allow you to use any plane you've unlocked, you don't get bogged down with using the same old plane over and over again.

Besides an Instant Action mode where you jump straight into a dogfight with the computer, you can also customize the Campaign missions that you have beaten to a pretty high degree, and swap them with other pilots over the Internet. I'm sure we'll be seeing some massive air battle missions popping up on the fan sites pretty soon. Noticeably lacking though is any Multiplayer support at all. This would have added greatly to the game's replay value, but instead you are stuck with just the single player options which will undoubtedly lose their luster sooner than any Multiplayer options would.


Difficulty:

The first missions start you out flying against what seem like drone planes so you can get the hang of things, and even the tutorial missions are a little easy for games like this. However, the difficulty soon ramps up to give players a real challenge. Some of the missions you'll be flying over and over again, but usually it will only be to get those secondary and bonus goals that will allow you to upgrade your aircraft. There is plenty of challenge here for all types of gamers.

Game Mechanics:

Secret Weapons Over Normandy can be played with either the keyboard or a joystick. Due to its arcade nature, the keyboard isn't actually all that bad to use, however you'll definitely appreciate the freedom a joystick gives you, especially when using the advanced control setup which utilizes the rudder on your planes more effectively than the standard setup.

There are also different views you can employ to help you vanquish your enemies, including a chase view of whatever vehicle you have targeted, and the bomb view for when you need to take out some ground structures. Bombs aren't the only secondary weapons you'll get to use though, as plenty of neat tools of destruction will become available to you later on in the game like rocket propelled torpedoes and dam busters that skip over the water and also any obstacles in their path to reach their targets.

A unique feature in Secret Weapons Over Normandy is your ability to speed up, and more importantly, slow down time. This makes it easier, much easier, to track down an elusive bandit and get some good shots on him. Though there are some missions that almost require you to use this, most people will still find a lot of fun in going at it without the ability to manipulate time, as it tends to make things a little on the boring side.

Secret Weapons Over Normandy is a very fun game with few rough edges. Once you complete it, there may not be enough there to go back for more, but getting to the end is almost worth that. If you're an avid flight fan or you just like shooting planes, this is definitely a game for you to check out.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



850 MHz Processor, Windows 98/ME/XP/2K, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB Video Ram
 

Test System:



Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 5200 128MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Risk Gold Windows Silent Hunter II

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated