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Snoopy and the Red Baron

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Nick Turner

Submitted by: Michal Mozejko

I don't think many of the videogamers remember the First World War, so let me provide a brief overview.
Those were really weird days! Christmas football games between enemy soldiers, surprisingly quiet Western Front, beagles flying in their doghouses, tanks made of wood… wait, what?

Yes, one of the unknown episodes of the infamous war, the great battle in the skies still remains a mystery. Only a few written sources saw the light of the day, all of them were discovered on the funny pages of the newspapers all over the world! Dedicated team of historians, engineers and computer programmers gathered in the early 1980's, to give the happy owners of Atari 2600 console possibility to relive the mysterious wartime episode with Snoopy and The Red Baron cartridge.

The game itself features the cutest character to ever appear on your television screen, fighting the enemy airplane in a beautiful scenery. It looks surprisingly well, considering technical limitations of the hardware – detailed sprites design, bright colour palette and scrolling backgrounds all add to pleasant cartoony feel.

You will discover plenty of funny little touches, like the flatter of Snoopy's scarf, holes in your doghouse with every hit you take or unusual extras falling from the sky after hitting the enemy (like a glass of beer? i mean, were Kaiser's airmen allowed to bring the beer with them to the plane cabin in such a disciplined army?) and that, coupled with the overall presentation of the game will keep you entertained for a while.

As for the gameplay, while unusual in the approach, and challenging test for your reflexes, it soon becomes repetitive – i found it bit unfortunate for such a carefully designed game. If you are not actually enjoying the old school score attack, the game does not provide enough variety. Once you develop the strategy, which will most probably be based around looping in the air, to shoot enemy's back, the game will simply become a pain for your fingers. If that is how the First World War was, i'm glad i'm not the hundred years old beagle!