Snoopy & the Red Baron

Atari 2600

Review by Al Backiel



Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 7

snoopyvsredbaron.gif (3063 bytes)Just in case you didn’t know, this game is based on the dog character from Charles Schutz’ Peanuts comic strip. Snoopy fantasizes that he is a World War I flying ace. His doghouse becomes a Sopwith Camel biplane. Most of his daydreams carry him into dogfights (how appropriate!) with his chief adversary, The Red Baron.

The air battle scenario is not a new idea. It can be found in many forms on the very first Atari 2600 cartridge, Combat. The object of the game is defeat the Fokker Triplane flown by the Red Baron while avoiding 8 direct hits from return fire. It takes the same number of hits to shoot down one Red Baron. There can be 3 to 5 Red Barons per round depending on the game variation/difficulty chosen. You build up your score by scoring direct hits. You build up towards extra lives by collecting the various bonus prizes that are dropped in the course of the action. These prizes are in the form of food items like hamburgers, soda, popcorn etc. After each round is over you get the intermission screen which shows you the inventory of the bonus items collected. A full collection of 3 rows of 8 different items will gain you an extra life. This screen can look very impressive and might make you hungry as it fills up. This whole game is pretty sharp looking graphically for the 2600. The joystick control works well. Once you get the hang of defeating the Red Baron, the game becomes easier and a little monotonous. You can build up your exta lives to the point where you can play for hours. I do think however, that its intended audience of young children might still find the game overwhelming and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, you can get beaten up a bit. Maybe even drop a few lives, but you will learn how to survive indefinitely.

I can offer a few tips. Try to get behind the triplane then fire off a salvo. Leave the area of a food pickup immediately. Try not to miss the specific food items you need to fill the bill. Guide the triplane to a cloud to coax food items to appear. Be more cautious if you have taken several hits. The only way that this game can be considered beaten is, if you max out the score. The game is supposed to end at one million points with the score register being replaced by exclamation points!!! I figure that this would take me about 40+ hours to do based on the slow addition that takes place and the amount of flight time necessary. Even if I had the time, my extra lives would drop because I had to eat or go to the bathroom. Not to mention the fatigue and eyestrain. If you are thinking about using the inventory screen as a pause, you had better not be away for more than 10-12 minutes because the game will reset and the screen saver will come on. The only way this game can be beaten is in a marathon playing session with at least 4 or more players working in shifts. I’m game, but I don’t know who else is? Joe? John? This marathon would have to be carefully scheduled. This would definitely be a photo op, if successful. I just pray that the game won’t revert to zero if you accidentally went over a million. AARGGH!


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:31 PM