Snoopy's dogfight with Red Baron
By Joseph Szadkowski
November 2, 2006
The epic struggle between Charlie Brown's beagle and a German World War I flying ace has become a wonderful aerial combat challenge loaded with nostalgia and action.
Assuming control of the imaginative pooch, a single player flies him through more than 20 missions as he roams the skies to protect allies; destroy enemy aircraft, vessels and vehicles; and discover the secret lair of the legendary Red Baron with help from the Peanuts gang.
The fun begins in Snoopy's neighborhood, atop his doghouse, as he gets some quick flight instruction from resident brain Marcie. At the lesson's conclusion, the new pilot is rewarded with the famed Sopwith Camel and is ready to start his adventures. The player tackles missions that could involve protecting a convoy of trucks from German attacks, chasing Rerun through an obstacle course or destroying a massive battleship with help from Woodstock as the gunner.
Easy-to-master controls enable the pilot to perform barrel rolls, sudden stops and 180-degree flips with the click of a button, and forgiving missions allow for a learning curve to match all levels of players.
Snoopy's favorite drink, root beer, restores his health, and he can collect Paws coins, letters and balloons along his journeys to use at Pigpen's Shop to unlock other fliers and a crazy selection of weapons. Easily the most impressive armament is the Woodstock bomb that, once released from the plane, is guided to the target by the player who controls the little bird.
I was a bit surprised by the violent tone of the action as players blow things up and can blast enemies out of the sky to brilliant pyrotechnic displays. However, every defeated combatant parachutes away from his craft to fight another day.
The game comes to life through a combination of two-dimensional cartoon-strip images that are used for menu, load and instruction screens and three-dimensional computer-designed cut scenes. The action is a blend of both.
This is a great cross-generational title that maintains the spirit and humor of the cartoon legacy while delivering true dogfights for lovers of arcade-style games.