Snoopy vs. the Red Baron – PS2 – Preview

here’s a crazy concept: take Snoopy, one of the world’s most popular cartoon
dogs, and merge him into the world of aerial combat. “Boy, this is nuts,” I
thought. “How in the world can a game like this work?”


you start with great gameplay, a good engine, solid flying mechanics, and a
lot of cool missions. Then you add the license, making it Snoopy-rific
for anyone who’s been waiting to see the white canine take control of the


Vs. The Red Baron is straight arcade action. The flight mechanics are
wonderfully executed, even in the game’s incomplete state. Flying is a snap –
the controls will not take you more than five minutes to grasp. After that
you’ll be climbing, diving, rolling, and flipping as if you’ve been doing it
your entire life. 




are clearly marked on your radar, while colored targets highlight the nearest
enemy. A small health meter around the target shows how much life your enemies
have left, letting you gauge the potency of bombs and fireworks versus
standard gunfire.


is unlimited, and aiming is simple – but not automatic. You have to work for
your kills, just not very hard. Point your plane in the direction of the enemy
you wish to take out and fire. Given that this is a kid’s game, enemies
parachute out of destroyed planes. You can’t shoot the parachute, which
would’ve been a cool feature, but I don’t think parents with young children
would’ve appreciated it.


Missiles are fun, colorful, and feel like something you’d find in one of
Snoopy’s dreams. Shoot a pack of enemy-seeking fireworks for a bright array of
explosive fun. The colors burst into the air, damaging your target while
creating a memorable visual display.


One of
the other notable weapons is a powerful, Woodstock-guided bomb. The bomb is
like one you’d see dropped out of a plane during World War I (which is where
the game, based in a Snoopy dream world, is set). But you won’t drop it
without knowing where it’s going to land. For about three to five seconds, the
player will get to control Woodstock and guide the bomb from Snoopy’s plane to
its destination. You’ll have to overshoot your target just a little in order
to ensure the bomb will hit. If done properly, the enemy will lose the
majority, if not all, of its armor, turning the vehicle to dust. 




come in many different shapes and sizes, not just warplanes. Enemy ships fire
deadly missiles from the safety of the ocean. Blimps drop spiked balls in
search of a kamikaze opportunity. There are no human characters controlling
the spikes, therefore nothing will parachute out of them upon impact. Their
only goal is destruction. Large drills will come out of the ground and
surround ally vehicles, preventing them from getting to their destination.


As the
current missions are completed, others will be unlocked. They’re accessed via
a main level hub, an environment that appears to be Snoopy’s backyard.
Billboards designate the different worlds you can access, each of which has
multiple missions inside. Though you could fly into the billboard and
immediately start the next mission, you might want to first visit the local
shop. Using coins collected during each mission, Snoopy can purchase bigger
and better weaponry. He can also take a moment to train in his backyard,
should the player need to be reminded of how to perform a certain maneuver.


Many of
the missions require you to protect allies for a few minutes, or to escort
them to a safer area. Both are surprisingly challenging. The game starts out
with cakewalk objectives but slowly grows into something that even an older,
hardcore player could get into. I for one am stunned by what the game brings
to the genre. I’m not anti-Snoopy, but a Snoopy game? Based on WWI aerial
combat? It’s hard not to be skeptical. You’ll have to play this one to believe




October 24th, Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron is close to becoming the best
kid-targeted flight/combat game ever made. Its enjoyable, arcade-style
gameplay brings back memories of other classic flight games, a genre rarely
treated as well as it is being treated now. If you’re a kid or have kids,
don’t miss this one.