Secret Weapons over Normandy

Genre: 3-D Flyer
Platform(s): X-Box, PS2, PC
Allegiance: Totally Games/Lucas Arts
Vintage: 2003
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dave K
You are James Chase, an American pilot who has joined an elite British group of pilots called the Battle Hawks. Your job is to seek out and destroy advanced German technology. So take to the skies during World War 2 and prepare to do battle.

Weapons Expert Report by: Dave K 
Overall 8.25
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: X-Box 

A dying breed of games in my opinion is the 3D flyers. Too often we see a generic flyer with no storyline to really go behind it. Secret Weapons over Normandy however is one of the few gems in the 3D flying world, and it’s made by the experts at Lucas Arts who gave us the original great, Tie FighterThe storyline of Secret Weapons over Normandy is a rather interesting one. It stays rather factual in fact with all the German secret weapons actually being built in limited numbers or at the very least reach the test stage. The most unrealistic part is fighting ME-109 and Japanese Zeros over the Pacific. 

One of the biggest complaints I have with most piloting games is the control. Too often there are games where the standard controls are either too complicated, too sluggish or too responsive. FortunatelySecret Weapons over Normandy has some fairly simple controls that are easy to get the hang of. The choice of planes makes for many different degrees of difficulty. (Of course towards the end of the game everyone will be using the ME-262 since it’s the best plane). The only problems I had was that the realism in low altitude flying was poor. If you’re not diving very steep you won’t explode and hit the ground, but instead you will level out and continue flying. 

However the fact that you can’t explode so easily is a good thing. The terrain in the game is strangely textured and depth perception is really difficult to judge as a result so if you’re pulling of a tight maneuver the auto level can be quite useful. The detail behind the planes in the game are quite nice. You will actually feel like you are in the cockpit of the aircraft (or behind it depending on what POV you use). The detail behind each planes fiery demise is also quite good. I never tire of watching a British Swordfish lose all four wings and go crashing into the sea off of Tripoli. 

The sound however, is poor in contrast to the pleasant visuals. You don’t get the realistic revving of an engine or the whine of a jet or rocket. And the unique squeal of a buzz bomb is non existent. The radio chatter is mediocre. The German voices all sound real and believable as do the Japanese voices, however the English voice actors get mixed reviews. The British voice actors do a good job however, the Americans are on the whole unimpressive. Chase never speaks in combat but he does read his journal entries aloud (In a clip before each mission) which are well narrated. However, the poor sound effects and a mediocre voice acting cast lead to a mediocre sound score. 

Overall this is not a bad game. Personally I don’t find the audio components of a game to be much of an issue and if they aren’t for you then this is definitely a game you would want to check out.