"After the turn of the century, in the clear blue skies over Germany, came a roar and a thunder men had never heard, like the screaming sound of a big war bird. Up in the sky, a man in a plane, Baron Von Richthofen was his name. Eighty men tried, and eighty men died, now they're buried together on the countryside... In the nick of time, a hero arose! A funny-looking dog with a big black nose!" - Songwriters Phil Gernhard and Dick Holler, Snoopy and the Red Baron
Snoopy and the Red Baron is a classic song, and their conflict is a classic pop culture icon.
In fact, their conflict has spawned songs, tv show episodes, t-shirts, and, of course, a video game. It is the video game I want to discuss today. There are some great video games that sadly have never received the sequel they so richly deserved. Snoopy Vs The Red Baron is one such game. Here's a screenshot of the first solo combat mission.
Yes, that is Squadron Commander Lucy you're seeing up there in the corner. The 2 with the airplane next to it in the bottom left corner indicates that you have two lives remaining. Yes, you can die in this game, but you do respawn a limited number of times. Fail your final life and you automatically have to restart the mission. The red bar next to Snoopy's picture is the health indicator while the blue line represents your "stunt meter", which decreases any time you use an evasive maneuver. If your stunt meter drops too low, your plane is no longer capable of evasive maneuvering, meaning you can only fly in a straight line, even if that means flying directly into oncoming enemy fire. You can restore both your health and stunt meters to their full capacity by locating one of the many mugs of root beer found throughout each level. The fireworks mounted on the wings are one of many power-ups found throughout the game that have devastating effects on your enemies. The circle in the top right-hand corner is your radar. Your position is marked by the airplane, while the red circles are your enemies. The yellow wedge is your firing window and the x marks whatever the current objective of your mission happens to be. What you're seeing in the bottom right corner above the logo is your current target's health meter. Also throughout the campaign levels, you will occasionally find floating letters of the alphabet. If you see one, fly into it to collect it. As you gather more letters, you can return to Pigpen's shop to unlock new characters. Once you have collected all of the letters in a character's name, (for example Marcie), you can return to Pigpen's shop and purchase the character with game currency, found scattered at random locations throughout each level. This unlocks that specific character for use in dogfight mode. Now let me explain a little about what dogfight mode is and how it differs from campaign mode. In campaign mode, there is a cohesive story which links each mission, while in dogfight mode, each player chooses from a list of Peanuts characters (and, once unlocked, the Red Baron becomes an option as well), each of which have different skill levels that can aid or hinder you in combat. Once each player has selected a character, you can assign teams. You can do all of you against computers, two teams that include both humans and computers, or if you really want a challenge, go up against your friends with no assistance from computers.
The point I'm trying to make here is, this game was and is absolutely amazing. And it's a game that I feel deserves a sequel, or at least a re-release! The game is turning 10 years old next year, so it would be perfect timing! Come on, Bandai Namco, make it happen!