‘Secret Weapons Over Normandy’ is a blitzkrieg of historical fun
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 22:10
We all remember World War II, including Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the Battle of Midway and other moments of valor for our military. Much of the imagery we saw regarding this war resurfaced in “Star Wars,” such as the turret pits of the Millennium Falcon freighter resembling those from an American B-17 bomber. With “Star Wars’” success, a software publisher named LucasArts was formed to develop games based on the movies. One such developer to join LucasArts was Totally Games, and developed the famed “X-Wing vs TIE Fighter” series of space combat simulators. But concurrently during the 1990s, they also looked back towards the imagery that inspired “Star Wars” in World War II, and thus came titles set in the “Greatest Generation” such as “Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe” and “Battlehawks 1942,” culminating in “Secret Weapons Over Normandy,” which was released in 2003 for the Playstation 2, PC and Xbox.
The game followed an American named James Chase, and how he transfers into the British squadron, the Battlehawks. Appropriately, the game begins with the Battle of Britain, eventually touching upon other battles, such as the Eastern Front, the Pacific Theater and ultimately, D-Day. A myriad of craft can be flown, from the British icon known as the Supermarine Spitfire, to the world’s first jet-powered fighter, the Messerschmitt 262. However, some WWII aircraft enthusiasts may find a caveat in the fact there is only one Japanese and one Soviet plane available in the game. Respectively, they are the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Soviet Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik. Some liberties are taken with the game’s accuracy to historical events as well, as most of the eponymous secret weapons never had the chance to be produced, usually being limited to the drawing board. One extravagant example would the Daimler-Benz Project C, which would have been a massive black plane that could, while in flight, launch five Heinkel He-P1078A jet planes, which also were limited to concept drawings. “Secret Weapons Over Normandy” also has plenty of material for those who wish to learn about World War II. The unlockable movies include visits to American air museums, interviews with World War II veterans and combat histories of the planes featured in the game. The authenticity of the material presented makes you appreciate what you’re doing as you play the game; these missions, for the most part, actually happened in history.
Overall, “Secret Weapons Over Normandy” is a good fit for flight-game novices, but it also offers enough challenge to avoid patronizing the player. A myriad of optional secondary and hidden bonus objectives can be accomplished throughout the campaign, while a set of optional tutorial stages show new players the ropes. For those of you who appreciate more realistic controls and the inclusion of interior views, the free-to-play MMO “WarThunder” may be better suited for your World War II air combat fix. That said, “Secret Weapons Over Normandy” is a very solid game, especially for would-be World War II historians.