Secret Weapons Over Normandy

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For other uses, see Secret Weapons of World War II.
Secret Weapons Over Normandy
Secret Weapons Over Normandy cover.jpg
Developer(s) Totally Games
Publisher(s) LucasArts
Designer(s) Lawrence Holland
Mike Hawkins
Tony Evans
Jess VanderWalker
Aaron Keppel
Composer(s) Michael Giacchino
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Xbox
Windows
Release date(s) November 18, 2003
Genre(s) Flight simulation, action
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer, internet

Secret Weapons Over Normandy or (SWON) is a World War II-based arcade flight simulation video game released on November 18, 2003. Published by LucasArts and developed by Totally Games, the game is composed of 15 objective-based missions set in 1940s European, North African, and the Pacific theatres of war. The story was written by Derek Chester, who is also famous for his work in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as work on Star Trek videogames. The music was composed by Michael Giacchino.

Gameplay[edit]

The player controls James Chase, an American pilot volunteering to assist the British, who stand alone at this point of the war. He flies in the classified squadron known as the Battlehawks. Over the course of the game, the player has opportunities to: earn or capture new aircraft, add upgrades to his/her existing aircraft, and as the game puts it: "halt the most insidious plans of the Third Reich." The player's principal opponent is the Luftwaffe, in particular the enemies being the Battlehawk's counterpart, the elite squadron of top German pilots, known as Nemesis (similar to the real KG 200), commanded by Oberst Krieger. The player will also face off against the forces of the Japanese Empire.

It is notable for the presence of many prototype designs that never flew in combat, or were used in small numbers: the XP-55 Ascender, XP-56 Black Bullet, Chance-Vought Flying Pancake, the Junkers Ju 390, and the Daimler Benz C. Several German weapons projects that were either never completed or failed to make a significant impact on the war also feature in the game, such as the Mistel and the Wasserfall missile launcher. A brief controversy was also created when the first previews of the game were shown with copyrighted images of ace pilot Erich Hartmann being portrayed as the main villain. Hartmann's family subsequently threatened legal action, but the images were later removed and replaced with those of Hans-Ulrich Rudel for use in the actual game.

Aircraft[edit]

Throughout the course of the game, the player will have the opportunity to fly many types of WWII aircraft into combat. Here is the list of every aircraft and missile that makes an appearance in the course of the game:

Allied aircraft:

United Kingdom:

United States:

Soviet Union:

Unlockables:

Axis aircraft:

Germany:

Japan:

* It appears in Campaign mode but is not flyable in either Campaign or Instant Action mode.

° It appears in Campaign mode but is only flyable in Instant Action mode.

Unlockable only after completing all 15 missions and all 20 challenges, and only available in Instant Action mode

Featured Ammunition and Weaponry[edit]

The game features a wide range of actual weapons that were used during World War II. Here is a list of the Conventional and Secret weapons that can be used by the player in the game.

Conventional Weapons

German Vengeance Rocket

Cannons are used by the player in two main forms, the 37mm Cannon and the 57mm Cannon. These are typically bolted to the underside of the users aircraft.

Rockets are also to be found in this game. The game features simple rockets which are entitled Small, Medium, and Large, each increasing in size, respectively.

Bombs are also featured in the game, being somewhat similar to the rockets, being named Small, Medium, and Large.

Torpedoes can be found in this game too, often playing an important role in the early missions involving the destruction of ships and landing craft. The game features the 17.7" Mark XV Torpedo.

Secret Weapons

Bouncing bomb 'Upkeep'

The game also features a small selection of Secret Weapons, hence the game title. These include the following weapons.

The Fritz X free-fall guided bomb (also known as the Ruhrstahl/Kramer X-1) has a warhead of 700 lbs and was built with the intention of destroying Allied capital ships.

The Upkeep Bouncing bomb is perhaps the most famous weapon that is to be found in the game. This is due to the fact that it is the same weapon which was used in Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters Raid.

The Henschel 294 makes an appearance in this game as a rocket-propelled flying torpedo which is used by the player to sink ships from great distances.

Also in this game, is the Henschel 293 air-to-ground rocket. It is designed to destroy Ground Targets at long range. In the game, this rocket is camera-guided.

Finally, the last of the secret weapons in the game is the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missile. This was developed by Ruhrstahl AG and was created to bring down Allied B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.

Campaign Mode and Historic Missions[edit]

The first mission sets the player in Dunkirk, France during Operation Dynamo. The player has to defend the Royal Navy as they evacuate as many troops as they can before the Nazis surround Dunkirk. After succeeding in defending the evacuation, the remaining pilots from the first mission fall back to England. On August 13, 1941, the first day of the Nazis' air campaign against Britain, the Battlehawks airfield is hit by the Luftwaffe in a surprise attack. Chase and squadron mechanic Lyle man two of the airfield's AA guns while the rest of the pilots scramble to intercept the Nazis. Refusing to leave one of their own behind, the Battlehawks find and attack. With the landings at Normandy secure, the campaign ends, and the player is introduced to the final cut scene, where the narrator briefly describes the struggle that James Chase and the Battlehawks will face now, now that they have set in motion the liberation of Europe. Chase, ending the journal he has kept throughout the campaign, remarks, "I'm one of the lucky ones, I guess. I've lived to fight one more day."

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 79.74%[1]
(Xbox) 75.47% [2]
(PC) 73.41% [2]
Metacritic (PS2) 81/100 [3]
(Xbox) 77/100 [4]
(PC) 72/100 [5]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 9/10[6]
GameSpot 6.9/10 [7]
IGN 8/10 [8]

Secret Weapons Over Normandy received positive reviews upon release. It averages scores of 79.74% (PS2), 75.47% (Xbox), and 73.41% (PC) on GameRankings,[1][2][2] and 81/100 (PS2), 77/100 (Xbox), and 72/100 (PC) on Metacritic.[3][4][5]

Steve Butts of IGN awarded Secret Weapons Over Normandy awarded the game a 8/10, praising the sound and gameplay but criticized the fact that the Xbox and PC versions felt lackluster when compared to the PS2 version.[8]

Kristan Reed of Eurogamer praised the game, calling it "one of the best kept secrets of the year". He gave it a final score of 9/10.[6]

Jeff Gerstmann of Gamespot was a little more critical. He praised the simple controls and graphics but noted that they don't excel in any one area, and criticized the lack of challenge, scoring it a 6.9/10.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy". GameRankings. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Secret Weapons Over Normandy". GameRankings. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy". Metacritic. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy". Metacritic. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy". Metacritic. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Eurogamer Secret Weapons Over Normandy". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  7. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy Review". Gamespot. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  8. ^ a b "Secret Weapons Over Normandy Review". IGN. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 

External links[edit]