Retro review: Secret Weapons over Normandy

Retro game Secret Weapons over Normandy was released in 2003. Photo courtesy Facebook

Retro game Secret Weapons over Normandy was released in 2003.
Photo courtesy Facebook

If there’s a gaming genre that seems to have lost some of its public appeal over the years, it’s the arcade flight simulator.

Set in the backdrop of World War II, Secret Weapons over Normandy has players take on the role of ace fighter pilot James Chase. Chase flies planes for the British SOE (Special Operations Executive). Throughout the course of the game, Chase advances from dogfights in the skies over Dunkirk to the D-Day landing on the beach of Normandy. Chase and his squadron are tasked with destroying the various super-weapons the Axis Powers had developed over the course of the war.

Gameplay is simple and straightforward. As the player navigates planes, he or she can either engage in air-to-air combat or bomb ground targets. The planes are easy to control, allowing the player to hone in on their dogfighting skills. The game’s diverse missions include attacks on jet plane airfields, nuclear weapons plants in Norway, missile factories and even a POW camp in Asia. There are also a few historical missions to mix things up, such as the Battle of Midway, D-Day and the Eastern Front.

Players get to control a wide variety of historical and experimental aircrafts. They also contend with a number of experimental weapons the Nazis throw at them, including jet planes, radio guided missiles, mobile fighter launchers, V1 and V2 rockets and flying fortresses.

The environments are big, detailed and expansive. There’s a great deal to gaze at and explore throughout the game since each mission not only consists of primary objectives, but also secondary objectives and challenges. Combine this with an epic musical score that perfectly fits the tension of the dogfights, and the game proves to be one exhilarating experience. The dogfights themselves are a sight to see–at times the player has to simultaneously fight dozens of aircraft. Although the game was released in 2003, the graphics still look surprisingly good and the game has aged well over the years.

Secret Weapons over Normandy is a good, old-fashioned flight arcade you can check out as you wait for the fall season of games to come out.

5 out of 5 stars

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