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 (title screen).jpg
Title screen
Developer(s) Totally Games
Publisher(s) LucasArts
Designer(s) Lawrence Holland, Mike Hawkins, Tony Evans, Jess VanderWalker, Aaron Keppel
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]

Throughout the game, the player assumes the role of James Chase, an American volunteer in the Royal Air Force. After proving himself in the skies over Dunkirk during the evacuation, a senior RAF pilot, Trevor, has Chase assigned to his squadron, the Battlehawks. The Battlehawks soon become an elite special operations unit in the RAF and go on to play a unique role throughout World War II. The Germans counter the skill and resourcefulness of the Battlehawks with an elite squadron of their own, Nemesis, led by the courageous and arrogant Oberst Krieger. Optionally, before starting a mission the player may take on challenges to unlock new aircraft, or acquire field upgrades to tune their aircraft.

The Campaign begins with a brief introduction movie starting after the German's invade Poland, in September 1939 and the Blitz that followed. 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 Germans 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 Germans' 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 Germans. After fighting off the first wave, the player takes off with his fellow pilots to intercept flights of Ju-88 bombers targeting Britain's radar facilities, as well as engaging Heinkel-111's and Stuka's bombing British cities Hythe and New Romney, before a final engagement with an elite German squadron led by Krieger, an ace pilot of the Luftwaffe.

After the bombing runs are halted, the Battlehawk's squadron are soon informed of Operation Sea Lion, the proposed Nazi invasion of Britain. With very little time to organize a proper defense of the British Isles, James Chase, who has earned great respect in the Battlehawks for downing Nemesis commander Krieger over Dunkirk, is sent on a top secret mission to destroy the landing force harbored on the French coast, by using a captured German bomber that crash landed in the previous mission. When the final landing ship is destroyed, the 'Nemesis' squadron arrives, assaulting elements of the French underground that were aiding the Battlehawks from the ground and forcing the Battlehawks, too outnumbered to fight, to withdraw to England.

With his plans of invading Great Britain now out of the question, Adolf Hitler begins operations in North Africa with support of his most experienced general, Erwin Rommel. In order to support Rommel's advance into North Africa vital supplies are needed from Germany. Stopping both the arrival of these supplies and if possible the arrival in Africa of Rommel himself becomes the Battlehawks' top priority.

Such an opportunity comes around when secret agent 'White Rose' informs the Battlehawks that Rommel is aboard a convoy of ships heading for North Africa, the same convoy White Rose managed to sneak on as well. After sinking the convoy, the Battlehawks learn that Rommel was moved to Africa earlier, and they had missed their chance to neutralize him. The convoy was also a ruse, and White Rose's cover is blown. Providing close support from the air, the Battlehawks aid White Rose in making her way through Tripoli and to a hidden partisan airfield. There, she boards a cargo plane flown by American volunteer Pauline, and is flown out of Africa.

The theater of war then shifts to Asia, where the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor results in the United States joining the war on the side of the Allies. The Battlehawks, along with the famous Flying Tigers squadron fly to Burma to halt a meeting between German and Japanese forces before they can exchange secret documents to aid each other. The Battlehawks and the Flying Tigers arrive too late to stop a German U-boat from escaping with its half of the exchange, but take advantage of the chance to destroy whatever the Germans left behind for the Japanese in a large number of cargo crates. The Nemesis squadron as well as Krieger appears at the end of the mission, shooting down Pauline.

Refusing to leave one of their own behind, the Battlehawks find and attack the POW camp where Pauline is being held a few days later, aided by the Flying Tigers. They succeed in liberating the camp's entire roster of POW's, including a number of captured Flying Tigers, who steal a handful of Japanese aircraft to escape. A group of nemesis planes, personally led by Krieger, arrives as the three groups of aircraft make their escape. Trevor engages in a fierce duel with the Nemesis commander while the Flying Tigers, Battlehawks, and freed POW's dogfight the rest of Krieger's pilots. Krieger loses all of his pilots, but succeeds in shooting down Trevor, whose fate remains unknown.

Seeking medical attention for an injured Pauline, Chase brings her to the USS Yorktown, as the Battle of Midway commences. Chase's first duties involve escorting attacks against Japanese aircraft carrier's in the region. American torpedo bombers suffer horrendous casualties, but the Japanese make a fatal error in fully focusing their attention on them- Dauntless dive bombers roar down from above and sink two of the Japanese carriers. The remaining two launch a second attack against the Yorktown's battlegroup. Chase defends the Yorktown against massive waves of air attacks by the Japanese on the carrier's anti-aircraft guns whilst his plane is being rearmed and refueled. Yorktown however, is fatally damaged by the torpedo and bomb attacks, and sends her remaining planes against the final Japanese carrier Hiryu. Flying alone and unescorted over the Hiryu and her escorts, Chase and a handful of other Dauntless dive bomber pilots succeed in sinking the Japanese carrier, ensuring American victory at Midway.

Chase and the Battlehawks are soon reassigned after Midway, this time Chase is to fly into Denmark, where he is to escort defected German scientist Nils Bohr. After escorting Bohr's car overland, the scientist transfers to a boat where he can sail to freedom. Chase continuously protects Bohr against the combined efforts of the Luftwaffe, Nemesis, the Kriegsmarine and even the German Army to kill Doctor Bohr. After Chase clears Bohr's path of enemies, the scientist escapes to freedom, vowing to always remember the Battlehawks for their courage and selflessness.

In 1943, almost half a year after Bohr defected, Chase is sent to the Soviet Union to support Russian forces in an attempt to capture a German airfield near Stalingrad housing a highly advanced bomber under secret development. Chase supports a group of T-34 tanks with the help of Lt. Lillia, a Russian pilot, as they assault the German lines. As the Russian arrive at the airfield, the Germans bomb their own hangars and destroy the aircraft, denying them any use to the Allies. A cut scene follows revealing the secret bomber was the Junkers 390, a massive international bomber that could strike America with ease.

Learning of this new threat, Chase is sent on a lone mission flying the experimental Vought XF5U 'Flying Pancake' to a top secret German base housing the Ju-390 bombers. Upon arriving at the base Chase destroys the bombers as they rest in their hangars. Trevor rejoins the Battlehawks after this mission, flying with them again as they halt German operations in Norway, by destroying the German dams that were needed to build up Germany's atomic bombs. In this mission however, the Battlehawks are faced with a new threat, the Me-262, the world's first ever jet-powered fighter.

Learning of the incredible technological advances the Nazi's possess with the Me-262, Chase rides along with a flight of B-17's commanded by Pauline to destroy an Me-262 base deep within Nazi Germany. Chase's plan however, is to para-drop from the B-17's ball turret and capture one of the planes still in the hangar. Once successful, Chase provides support the B-17 squadron by destroying the pursuing Germans, before linking up with a flight of P-51 Mustangs.

White Rose informs the Allied powers of a top secret research base in Peenemunde, where the Nazi's have begun test launches of the V-2 rocket. Chase and Cedrick, a French pilot from Dunkirk fly to the facility to destroy the V-2 rockets, as well as the U-Boat pens using a guided torpedo. During the mission Chase and Cedrick are engaged by Me-163 Komet rocket propelled planes, which shoot down Cedrick with ease. Chase destroys the rockets as well as the Komet's in flight, before embarking on another top secret mission into the Hartz Mountains in Germany, to further disrupt the Nazi rocket program.

An Allied Air raid unsuccessfully destroys the rocket base, as it built partially underground and is only serviceable by a railway. The Battlehawks fly to the base and await the train's arrival. Unknown to them however, that in the forest below are several Wasserfall surface to air missile launchers. After weaving through the rocket's and destroying their launchers, the train finally arrives and enters the facility. Chase proceeds to enter and fires on the base's rocket fuel tanks, obliterating the facility.

Finally, the Normandy Invasion has begun in Europe, and the Battlehawks are called to attack several V-1 and V-2 rocket positions based around the coastline. As the invasion begins, Chase and the Battlehawks engage a wide variety of targets including Mistel flying bombs, as well as a final showdown with Krieger, who pilots a Daimler Benz C along with numerous jet aircraft. When Krieger is shot down, a lone Ju-390 equipped with an atomic bomb and heading for the landing craft appears, and is shot down before it can release it's deadly payload. 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."

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