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Video Game / Secret Weapons Over Normandy

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Secret Weapons over Normandy (SWON) is the 2003 sequel to Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, one of the first and best-known Flight Simulators. SWON was also developed by Lawrence Holland and his Totally Games! studio at the behest of LucasArts. It was released on Playstation 2, Xbox and PC.

The player takes on the role of an American fighter pilot during World War II flying for the Allied forces against the evil Nazis and their secret weapons. A wide variety of aircraft are available, from Hurricanes, Spitfires and P-40s to the XP-56 Black Bullet and the XF5U Flying Flapjack.

A fifteen-mission campaign leads the player through several major battles of the war, and includes another dozen or so shorter Challenge Missions.

The single-player campaign also features a simple upgrade system, allowing players to improve their favoured aircraft with increased speed, armour, manouverability and ammunition capacity.

In contrast to its predecessor, the Allied only campaign covers the entire war including the Pacific, the flight mechanics are greatly simplified, and more fantastic plot elements were added (focusing on a nemesis squadron in the form of Nemesis Squadron).

Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: An impressive cast of women join the Battlehawks during the war.
    • Pauline Armstrong is introduced as the squadron's cargo pilot. After getting shot down over the Siamese coast, she leads the breakout at a Japanese prison camp and commandeers a Betty bomber to fly to the USS Yorktown. After that, she drops SOE commando teams at prickly destinations, pilots the lead bomber in a B-17 formation over the Me-262s' main airfield, and fights in a P-51 during D-Day.
    • White Rose, the B-Hawks' resident "Mata Hari". A German defector who's able to pull back the curtain on many Nemesis activities including the Ju-390, V2 rocket and the heavy water-fueled nukes via Niels Bohr. She gets surrounded and is presumed MIA at the end of the Peenemunde mission.
    • Lt. Lilia, the only Russian in the squad. Even for one main mission and two side missions, she makes an impact as a fierce, yet cheerful fighter pilot. Bonus points for her flying a Spitfire at Peenemunde after you faced off against Komets and Me-262s.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Krieger's Daimler-Benz Project C, complete with small Heinkel P.1078A jets hanging underneath.
  • Airstrike Impossible: The attack on the German heavy water plant, basically a playable version of 633 Squadron. Chase and Trevor bomb the dam with Highball bouncing bombs while Pauline drops a commando squad to blow the labs.
  • All There in the Manual: In order to truly grasp and appreciate the significance and history of the aircraft and the missions they flew, the player had to go in with at least some background knowledge in WWII already.
  • Alternate History: A lot of the missions are truly historical, but a few are purely theoretical, and most are somewhere in between, based on real battles but with the inclusion of experimental aircraft that never saw service.
  • America Saves the Day: By virtue of Chase being the protagonist. It's telling that he and Pauline are the only Battlehawks still flying after shooting down Krieger and the nuke-loaded Ju-390. With Trevor, Rork, and the other British pilots presumably shot down and unaccounted for, it has to be the Americans proclaiming "onto Berlin!"
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with the Battlehawks having successfully covered the D-Day Invasion, and preparing to continue the fight over Western Europe and their hunt for Krieger, Nemesis, and their remaining weapons projects.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Krieger. You're also lavished attention by various German pilots who want to take you on nose-to-nose.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: As in Real Life, many Secret Weapons are a liability, a great drain on resources with very little usability. E.g; the ME-163 is so fast that dogfighting slower opponents is much harder than with a slower plane.
    • Downplayed and Subverted by the X-4 guided Air-to-Air Rocket. You have to manually control it in order to make the best use of it, making you a sitting duck while doing so, and it can prove difficult to hit a moving target while you are also moving. However, when used for their intended real-life purpose of hunting bombers, they are more than satisfactory at hitting a larger target from long range, and they can also be used as an improvised ground attack weapon like a smaller version of the Hs293 guided rocket.
    • Outright averted by the Me 262, which is almost as fast as the Komet (and the fastest plane available in the main story), and still not exceptionally agile, but also has the best firepower in the game, meaning you can generally kill an enemy on the first pass, then come back to hit any survivors on the next pass.
  • Big Bad: Krieger, the head of the Nemesis Squadron. He and Nemesis have an extensive reach in Europe and the Pacific, from aiding the attacks on Dunkirk and Britain, to nearly nuking Utah Beach. He may have even had a hand in executing the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Bomb Whistle: Whenever you or another plane in close proximity drop a bomb.
  • Bookends: The final objectives of the first and last levels are to shoot down Krieger's plane, both times over the coast of France.
  • Boring, but Practical: The 37mm and 57mm Autocannons lack the appeal of some of the later available weapons, but they can be easily used against both enemy aircraft and against armored targets.
  • Chummy Commies: Your Russian comrades in mission 9 as you cover a T-90 column moving uphill outside of Stalingrad.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Mission 12. Lyle's advice puts it best:
    Lyle: 'ave you lost your mind!? You've come up with a really bloody insane idea. Starting out in the ball turret of the B-17, then jumping out with the bombs? And if you're lucky enough to survive your parachute drop, you'll pilot a German jet plane back 'ere? While I'd love to dissect one of these new "wonder-jets", you wouldn't see me doin' a parachute drop unless there was a gun to me 'ead!
  • Danger Deadpan: The Allied airmen/women rarely lose their cool. Even when experimental jet aircraft appear from nowhere, not when they're shot down, not even when their friends are killed. The Germans and Japanese, however, tend to be a little more emotional.
    • Trevor loses his stiff upper lip when tracked by a Wasserfall missile for the first time.
      (a truck emerges from the hills with a rocket on its top)
      Trevor: The Germans seem to be deploying some kind of launcher from the tree line. Not sure what they are, but if you steer clear of them, they shouldn't be able to hit you.
      Rork: What are they up to?
      (the rocket is launched)
      Trevor: They're firing rockets. They're not even shooting at anything in particular.
      (the "rocket" turns)
      Rork: What?
      Trevor: GOOD GOD! Those bloody rockets are turning right at me! Taking evasive action!
      Rork: Trevor, Are you alright!?
      Trevor: What kind of bloody question is that? I'm possibly the first Englishman to be followed by a German missile! I'm most definitely not alright!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Trevor
    Trevor: My name's Trevor, and you may call me..."Trevor". It's formal and correct, we're not as lax as you Yanks from across the pond.
  • Doomed by Canon: No matter how brilliant or advanced the latest Nemesis project is, you know that the Battlehawks and the Allies will triumph.
  • Eagle Squadron: The Battlehawks are established initially as this, with many of its various pilots and agents hailing from all over occupied Europe and the then-neutral United States fighting under the British flag and using British planes.
  • Eject... Eject... Eject...: You can't, but other pilots will. Bombers will even produce multiple chutes. After a particularly successful attack run, the sky is sprinkled with parachutes.
    • Sadly, Cedrick ends up too low to eject when his plane's ravaged by Me-163 Komets at Peenemunde.
  • Escort Mission: Shows up in the majority of missions, but is surprisingly tolerable because the people you're escorting are usually both tough and agile.
  • Giant Flyer: The Daimler-Benz Project C, which turns up in the final level, qualifies at the lower end of the scale.
  • Good Ol' Boy: At least from his journals, Chase is a big, honkin, American-heartland stereotype down to his Midwestern twang.
  • Great Escape: In the second Pacific Theater level, the Battlehawks and the Flying Tigers must help break out Pauline and other Allied Prisoners of War from a Japanese POW Camp, in this case by destroying the guard towers and front gate of the camp, allowing the prisoners to commandeer a vehicle from a nearby military base and escape.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: During one of the tutorial missions, Trevor demonstrates the "Reflex Time" mechanic, which equates to "fast for long, drawn-out distances; slow for help with dogfights." This is a weird reference to the controls for a game mostly focused on historical flight simulation.
  • Historical Domain Character: Pioneering physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr is the focus of mission 8, where he defects to the Battlehawks with nuclear secrets. A "Cpt. Chester" also appears in some of the Pacific-theater missions, but it's never known if he's supposed to be (at that point Rear Admiral) Chester Nimitz.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: A few of them, most notably Reinforced Plot Armor and Gravity Schmavity.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: There are a decent number of fail-state quotes for everything from a crash to shooting allies.
    • In the training missions alone, Trevor packs some snarks in when you crash.
      Trevor: There goes a perfectly good Hurricane./What a bloody waste of my time!
  • It's Up to You: The AI is quite decent, and your wingmen will down the odd Axis plane, but they will never achieve objectives by themselves.
  • Jack of All Stats: The P-51D Mustang suffers slightly from being unlocked at the same point as the Me 262, but not as severely as the Meteor's one scene wonder status, and it can at least boast better maneuverability than most other "late" planes, while still being faster, sturdier, and better armed than the early game aircraft (as well as carrying more ammunition for the secondaries than the X series prototype planes)
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • Tiny, nitpicky details - the XF5U is called the Flying Pancake in the game, but that model is more accurately known as the Flying Flapjack, for example.
    • There is, however, one large, glaring error in the game's physics: aircraft, when destroyed, simply literally drop straight to the ground while exploding, regardless of the direction or speed they were flying.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Cedrick, the Dunkirk base commander from the first main mission, leads a squad of French partisans in capturing a German airfield during "Operation Sea Lion". He ends up joining the Battlehawks after Krieger and Nemesis blow up his comrades.
  • Midair Collision: Can be done, although it's very difficult and does scant damage to either participant.
  • Mission Control: Lots of co-pilots and commanders take this role when not airborne, most prominently Rork, Cpt. Chester, and White Rose.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: While you can capture and use several Nazi/IJN aircraft, there is no German/Japanese campaign.
  • Nose Art: Done very infrequently, mostly on B-17s and the Flying Tigers' P-40s, which are, of course, historically accurate.
  • No Swastikas: Mostly played straight, with icons and aircraft using the Iron Cross instead, but the swastika does turn up on some aircraft and in videos and stills used in the transitions.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Including Chasing Your Tail and Lead the Target.
  • Old Soldier: Out of your wingmen, Toomey seems the oldest and most stubborn of the Battlehawks, especially how he's introduced as the expert on the Swordfish torpedo-bomber biplane. He's not averse to later flying the Mosquito or Gloster Meteor.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Gloster Meteor is only available for the last series of challenge missions and the final main mission. By this point, you already have the Me 262, which is superior to the Meteor in almost every capacity.
  • Secret Weapon: It's right there in the title, with the ones behind the titular weapons being the German Luftwaffe, specifically Nemesis.
  • Shout-Out: To Totally Games' other flight games.
    • The elite Allied squadron is called "The Battlehawks", in reference to Battlehawks 1942, the first game of the classic TG WWII trilogy.
      • The second half of mission 12 parallels the opening demo of Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, only this time you're flying an Me-262 to cover a B-17 formation.
    • An X-Wing and a TIE Fighter are unlockable for the Instant Action mode.
  • Stuka Scream: You can hear the signature "Jericho's trumpet" if you're close enough to a diving Ju-87.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Right there in the title. The entire plot of the game involves the Battlehawks preventing Nemesis, their Evil Counterpart, from mass producing and eventually deploying various wonderweapons projects against the Allies. Many of the designs that Nemesis ultimately come up with throughout the game are real-life designs that were produced too late to see combat, remained as prototypes, were never finished, or never saw the light of day.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After somehow returning from the Pacific, Trevor becomes a lot more complimentary toward your flying skills during the Norsk Hydro Plant attack.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Subverted with Jackson. Another American pilot, he only appears in one challenge mission where he's shot down. He gets captured and sent to Stalag Luft where he breaks out with Toomey.
  • Wing Man: About a dozen, hailing from the US, UK, France, and Russia, most notably Trevor.
  • The Voiceless: Zig-zagged with James Chase; he never speaks in-game, and is only heard narrating his journal in cutscenes.


Video Example(s):


"September 1st, 1939..."

In this opening cutscene, we are shown the early parts of WWII in Europe, as well as how the Battlehawks, the main protagonists of "Secret Weapons Over Normandy", came to be.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / WarWasBeginning

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