Tuesday, 05 July 2016 00:00

Snoopy vs. the Red Baron Is The Ultimate Throwback Moment

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Peanuts titles are very rare on any platform but have been around for a very long time.  The chosen handful that can be found primarily feature Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s dog, as its main protagonist.  More often than not, only Woodstock and Joe Cool accompany him on his gaming adventures.

While Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular on NES fares in the top class of popularity of the Peanuts franchise, Snoopy And The Red Baron is the definitive and most infamous cult classic for die-hard fans for its approach to tactical air-combat simulation and intuitive gameplay.

After roughly thirty years of being in quasi obscurity, it’s been a long time coming for a remake.  Since its heyday on the Atari 2600, Snoopy And The Red Baron has been virtually ignored on every platform since its debut until WildWorks remade and released the upgraded version in 2006.

Theoretically, it should have been one of the top contenders for Game Of The Year.  However, mediocre marketing, a lack of promotion, and a misconception of being a title aimed at kindergarten aged children crippled any unbiased attention it should have received.

The industry ignorance pertaining to Snoopy And The Red Baron caused many players outside of hardcore Peanuts fans to overlook it completely, missing a great opportunity to play such a cult classic gem.  After all, there are many air combat titles, but only one Snoopy And The Red Baron.

While most remastered titles lose their heart and soul from the original source material, WildWorks enhances the formula that worked on the Atari 2600, adding more contemporary elements to ensure the title’s seriousness as a true tactical air combat contender while maintaining integrity to the Peanuts franchise.  And to their credit, it absolutely worked!

If players have ever imagined playing Iron Eagle or Delta Force with Snoopy, they can now.

Forget the Atari 2600 levels that reset after finishing the ninety-ninth one and started back over to the beginning.  This air combat masterpiece indulges players full Peanuts supporting characters that assist with continues, missions and mission objectives, plane modifications, weapon upgrades, dog fight modes, and the elusive saves that were long sought after.

But hey, don’t get it twisted.  Snoopy And The Red Baron is a hell of a lot harder than it looks.

This isn’t an entry level single run through and it’s over.  The enemy is out there on land, sea, and sky and wants a piece of Snoopy any way they can get it!  They are vicious and sho no mercy, and will take your plane out by any means necessary.  The only child friendly aspect to be found is Snoopy and the enemies parachuting out of destroyed planes, as it is PG on violence.

Keep in mind though, while it’s fun to shoot at the enemy parachuting to safety out of a plane in flames, this isn’t Grand Theft Auto.  Everyone, including Snoopy, is immune to harm after making those types of jumps, and there are currently no mods developed for that either.

One of the best aspects of frustrating joy is Marcy’s flight school.  Intended to be a tutorial level, this mandatory training will allow players to acclimate to the controls which will definitely be necessary for that first mission.  While it seems to be easy enough, flight school is more than a notion; it must be passed before starting the mission.

The cool thing about it is that Snoopy can always return for additional training, plane and weapon upgrades, and test them out before continuing his next battle in the sky.  Pigpen’s Dusty Shop is pretty honest on what you need to win battles, so trying out new configurations with invulnerability and infinite ammo is a breeze.

Now the weapons selections may be a bit on the childlike side; having a giant bumble bee or a potato gun as a weapon upgrade aren’t necessarily what you would find on your basic air combat title.  But be warned, Snoopy And The Red Baron takes itself very, very seriously, and those weapons are just as powerful as your random rocket launcher on another air combat game.

Air combat enthusiasts better go hard or go home, because Snoopy And The Red Baron will not cut you any slack.  Each mission is harder; each boss fight is more aggressive.  Skill alone will not help the average player.  It truly takes heart and motivation of being indulged into the action.  And I’m not mad, because this is the defining moment that truly makes this gem worthwhile.

It’s been years since this has come out, and it is still the best bang for the buck.  Many slept on the potential of Snoopy And The Red Baron, but right hand to Woodstock, this bad boy can hold its own against the very best Triple A titles in the air combat genre.

Well done, WildWorks.  Very well done.

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Gwendolyn L. Spelvin

Gwendolyn L. Spelvin is a philosopher of the Edward Bernays Century of Self, a follower of Sigmund Freud’s explorations of the subconscious mind through chemical means, and an avid enthusiast of Adolph Hitler’s short-lived ballet career before he rose through the ranks of the Third Reich. Spelvin had dedicated her post academic career as an innovative writer that creates a written vision to prove misanthropic tendencies works with an audience, crafting a message that sways public approval towards her client’s products to the guarantee of the masses blindly supporting the company agenda without them knowing it. A dirty job, but someone has to pacify the idiots who know not what they blindly support into a continuing trek of oblivion. Last, but not least, Spelvin is a firm believer in the annihilation of the JUSTIN BELIBERS. Currently she is working on her cookbook, To Serve A Hot Man: Jeffrey Dahmer's Classic Recipes due out this Christmas.