Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron (2006)

Genre: Action, Flight Simulator | Players: 1-6 | Developer: Smart Bomb Interactive

I bought this on a whim because it was less than 5 dollars and I like Snoopy. Still a surprise that I had such a good time with it anyway. The Schulz estate is very picky with licensing out the Peanuts characters, but they apparently made the right choice by allowing this one.

Players play as Snoopy's alter ego of a World War 1 flying ace as he completes missions for the Royal Flying Corps with it's various officers played by the various Peanuts characters as he strafes bases, sinks ships and of course dogfights with various fighters. The controls are very simple and responsive and there are numerous side-weapons besides the standard machine gun that are all comical and silly since it is only cartoon violence like potato guns, water balloon launchers and firework missiles each with different advantages. There are also a few maneuvers that Snoopy can pull with his stunt meter for getting the advantage in dogfights. The objectives vary, but will mostly be variations of destroy a certain number of enemies or collect such and such item. The game is far on the easy side of the difficulty spectrum unless one is trying to get the highest rank for each mission and even then you might get it without trying unless you are younger than 10 years or have a severe disability, but it is overall quite enjoyable.

The graphics are crisp and clean and despite this being a rare 3D appearance for these characters, they are rendered very similarly to their comic counterparts. The PSP version has been downgraded a bit with certain animations missing like cartoony explosions and a few graphics here and there, but nothing noticeable unless one is looking for it. The biggest problem is with the audio which is often out of sync in cutscenes and the endless looping of the limited soundtrack. The menus and compatibility with the PSP could have used some smoothing over like how using the PSP's sleep function might cause the autosave to throw a hissy fit, but it never went anywhere terrible like erasing saves. There is also frequent loading even in places where it seemed unnecessary like how the game loads and autosaves when you leave the store even if you didn't buy anything, but these are mostly nitpicks. The one advantage the PSP has is the up to 6 players in ad-hoc multiplayer over the 4 on the PS2 and only AI opponents on the PC, though, given the game's age, good luck finding anyone to play with.
Overall, exceptional with rough edges made better if one is familiar with the characters.

Buyer's Guide:
Available used on PSP, PS2 and PC. Probably really cheap.

Only a few sinful "fly through the rings" missions out of 5

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