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Let’s be honest, the title “Snoopy Flying Ace” sounds like enough in and of itself to write this game off as being even more shovelware for Xbox Live, but if there is one thing you shouldn’t do with this game, it’s write it off. The concept is simple: take the Snoopy/Red Baron comic strip and make it into a video game. Of course, this concept sounds so ridiculous that there would be no way it could be transformed into a good multiplayer flying game, right?
Wrong. Snoopy Flying Ace shocks you immediately by giving you a variety of weapons at your disposal, most of which are fun to use and tamper around with. Some do seem a bit throwaway, such as the sniper type weapon, the Silver Bullet. It’s tough to get a straight shot on a moving airplane, but when you have all the other options at your disposal, you get over that problem fairly quickly. The homing missiles are easily the most fun. I found myself constantly diving into a large dog fight, just going crazy and firing homing missiles at everything like a madman. And in the end, that didn’t work out very well for me, but it was still damn fun.
There is a story and a single player mode, but it’s not what you come to the game for. It plays as a tutorial for the multiplayer, allowing you to get to know the maps and controls better. It doesn’t get much funnier than seeing a Snoopy Sphinx and having to guard it from the attacking German, Lucy Van Pelt.
Snoopy Flying Ace’s very oddball, out of left field sense of humor is one of the many praises of the game. Like the aforementioned Sphinx, there are a lot of just plain hilarious things you’ll see spread throughout the single player. It got to a point where I was progressing through the single player not to learn more about the story but to just see the next crazy thing that was going to make me burst out laughing.
Flying games have always had some control issues, and it doesn’t change in this game, although this may have the best controls I’ve seen in a flying game. Occasionally I ran into the frustrations of not being able to turn sharply enough, though in the end, that can’t be a complaint as I’m sure turning airplanes in real life is no easy feat.
The multiplayer is the reason to buy Snoopy Flying Ace. It’s one of the best, if not the best, multiplayer experiences I’ve had this year. It has a ranking system that goes up fairly quickly. I’m not sure what the level cap is, but I know it has to be high as I’ve seen level 80’s playing online. The online community for Snoopy is quite large, as well. I’ve yet to run into a game that wasn’t either full or near full.
Snoopy Flying Ace has seven game modes, which are mostly standard for multiplayer, but it also features a game mode entitled Pigskin, where you play football… with airplanes. It may not be the most fun thing ever, and it does get a bit too hectic at times, but you have to admire the developers for putting something that crazy in there. The main game mode for me was Dog Fight (deathmatch), however. The great maps only add to the tomfoolery that happens while playing Dog Fight. Nevertheless, Dog Fight is not the only good mode; they all seem competent and fun in their own way.
Every year we have one game that comes out of nowhere and punches us in the face with its greatness, but none of them have been as surprising as Snoopy Flying Ace. It may seem a bit crazy, but buy this game.