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Available on XBLA!

 

Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action / Flying

 

Publisher

Microsoft

 

Developer

Smart Bomb Interactive

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

June 2, 2010

 

 

‑ Reinvigorates the arcade-style flying shooter genre

‑ Offers more gameplay (turret gunner and bombardier min-games) than just flying biplanes in airborne battle

 

 

 

‑ Gives lovable Snoopy a whole new persona as a badass, blood-thirsty beagle with a lust for aerial assault

‑ Online, Snoopy Flying Ace newbies could get frustrated with the steep initial learning curve that will have them getting blasted over and over until they acclimate to the controls needed to successfully fight against human enemies

 

 

 

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Snoopy Flying Ace

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

snoopy flying ace          snoopy flying ace

 

Known to everybody as the smart-alecky pet beagle of Charlie Brown, Snoopy is arguably cartoonist Charles Schultz’s most endearingly popular “Peanuts” character. The “Peanuts” Snoopy is a lovable little dog that’s loyal to his owner and birdie best friend Woodstock.

 

However, Snoopy Flying Ace, the new Xbox Live Arcade flying shooter, portrays a much darker side of Snoopy. Using his alter ego, the Flying Ace, the game features

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a badass, bloodthirsty beagle with a lust for aerial assault against his longtime fantasy nemesis, the infamous German World War I combat pilot extraordinaire, the Red Baron – Manfred von Richthofen.

 

It will definitely be shocking for the many Snoopy fans out there to see their favorite cartoon beagle transform from the cute

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puppy atop his doghouse fantasizing about battling in the skies against the Red Baron (and usually being shot down) into a fierce flying canine whose bite is definitely worse than his bark. But what may be a bigger surprise is that Snoopy Flying Ace is an excellent arcade-style flying shooter –the best to soar onto an Xbox console since the well-received Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.

 

For the majority of the gameplay, gamers will be flying ‑ as Snoopy in his Flying Ace persona ‑World War I-style planes on various levels (once certain levels are completed, others become unlocked), taking on wave after wave of “evil” German flying adversaries (in planes and even zeppelins). And yes, Snoopy does have a sky-high Boss Battle against his feared foe, the Red Baron. There are mini-game levels, though, that have Snoopy as a bombardier targeting German buildings below and also turret levels where Snoopy is shooting the plane waves attacking him from above. Other levels have Snoopy “rescuing” Woodstock and his pals in caverns or racing through target rings. Many of these missions are timed ones, sure to induce some sweaty palms, especially the zeppelin-destroying objective.

 

Despite the presence of Snoopy and his “Peanuts” sidekicks (making appearances in different roles in Snoopy’s fantasy-become-real “flying ace” world), Snoopy Flying Ace is anything but a cute, easy-to-play kid’s XBLA game. This is a tough little shooter, although the controls aren’t too difficult despite some need for learning various maneuvers including barrel rolls and loop-de-loops.

 

snoopy flying ace          snoopy flying ace

 

There is some annoyance with having to constantly turn completely around to fight enemy planes, especially when there is only one or two left to complete a level. And targeting isn’t as smooth as it should be, but controlling your flying battling beagle effectively isn’t very complex overall.

 

To battle the Red Baron and his minions of aerial terror, Snoopy has a vast selection of customizable aircraft that can be improved with better weaponry as gamers progress through the myriad levels of Snoopy Flying Ace and unlock upgrades.

 

Graphically, Snoopy and friends get a massive visual upgrade from the days of 40 years ago in the comics and cartoons on CBS. While gamers won’t actually see much of Snoopy during flying fights, the “Peanuts” gang will have a modern-day makeover that still retains their “Schultz-iness” but definitely gives them a three-dimensional advancement from their two-dimensional origins.

 

As an XBLA title, Snoopy Flying Ace of course has an Xbox Live online component. Newbies might find online gameplay an entirely different adventure, however. Flying into battle online against human-controlled planes for the first time or two, especially with gamers that have become grizzled Snoopy Flying Ace veterans, can be initially frustrating. But once gamers acclimate to the amped-up challenge of online play, Snoopy Flying Ace is the best Xbox Live flying shooter since the abovementioned classic Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.

 

Snoopy Flying Ace gives new meaning to a dogfight, that’s certainly for sure. With a bargain price for a full-featured game, Snoopy Flying Ace is an ace’s-high shooter with plenty of entertaining arcade-style plane combat, including challenging online play, for XBLA gamers.

 

‑ Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(August 5, 2010)

 

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