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Secret Weapons Over Normandy

Written by Josh Griffin

Peter Hirschmann and Larry Holland: these two guys are the driving force behind Medal of Honor, X-Wing and TIE-fighter. That is about all of the introduction you should need. This game is going to rock.

And add to that just how much I love flight simulators. More than that, I like games that are a bit more forgiving and let me pilot in more of an arcade style. Needless to say, this title is 100% right up my alley. I just got a preview build of SWON to check out (unfortunately PS2-only) and we've got to admit we're really pumped about this title. From the wide selection of aircraft to the exciting arcade action style, fans of air-based combat won't be able to get enough. Its about time we got to see another strong addition to the niche genre.

The setting for the game is focused totally on the climatic air battle of World War II. You can pilot a host of planes and aircraft, an over the top 23 to be exact, ranging from the quick fighters to the slow bombers. And each handles as you would expect, even tossing in some variable gameplay with running the gun turrets shooting down enemy fighters. And the primary weapons are the machine gun found in nearly every plane, and then there's some great extra weapons like missiles and bombs. And of course, the guided missile is not to be missed. Think a vintage Maverick missile or the Slayer from Perfect Dark. If that isn't enough, take out some German planes (including the first jet of WWII) for a joyride after heading behind enemy lines.

The soundtrack in the game was temporary but they promise a full score including an additional release of just the score itself. They've taken out the real planes and recorded every detail (they showed footage of them recording even the cockpit hatch opening and closing). This is the kind of detail they are putting into the game, and the screenshots you've seen show you the planes look amazing. Great effects, including the zoom feature which gives it more of a vintage look. Man, this title reminds of the old-school Chuck Yeager series. Just give me an Xbox mission creator and I'll be king.

But hey we've got co-op mode and Xbox Live downloadable content, and on the PC you'll no doubt be able to set some amazing resolutions and texture details. I can't wait to compare these side by side: I'm sure all will be good, and in order 1) PC, 2) Xbox and 3) PS2 taking up the rear. And since I was impressed with the PS2 version today, this speaks volume about the expectations of the others.

The game arrives in November, and it can't get here soon enough.

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