Secret Weapons Over Normandy

For other uses, see Secret Weapons of World War II.
Secret Weapons Over Normandy
Developer(s) Totally Games
Publisher(s) LucasArts
Designer(s) Lawrence Holland
Mike Hawkins
Tony Evans
Jess VanderWalker
Aaron Keppel
Composer(s) Michael Giacchino
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s) November 18, 2003
Genre(s) Flight simulation, action
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer, internet

Secret Weapons Over Normandy or SWON is a World War II-based arcade flight simulation video game released on November 18, 2003. Published by LucasArts and developed by Totally Games, the game is composed of 15 objective-based missions set in 1940s European, North African, and the Pacific theatres of war. The story was written by Derek Chester, who is also famous for his work in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as work on Star Trek videogames. The music was composed by Michael Giacchino.


The player controls James Chase, an American pilot volunteering to assist the British, who stand alone at this point of the war. He flies in the classified squadron known as the Battlehawks. Over the course of the game, the player has opportunities to: earn or capture new aircraft, add upgrades to his/her existing aircraft, and as the game puts it: "halt the most insidious plans of the Third Reich." The player's principal opponent is the Luftwaffe, in particular the enemies being the Battlehawk's counterpart, the elite squadron of top German pilots, known as Nemesis (similar to the real KG 200), commanded by Oberst Krieger. The player will also face off against the forces of the Japanese Empire.

It is notable for the presence of many prototype designs that never flew in combat, or were used in small numbers: the XP-55 Ascender, XP-56 Black Bullet, Chance-Vought Flying Pancake, the Junkers Ju 390, and the Daimler Benz C. Several German weapons projects that were either never completed or failed to make a significant impact on the war also feature in the game, such as the Mistel and the Wasserfall missile launcher.

In the campaign, the player is often assisted by wingmen. They are friendly pilots who can be ordered to cover Chase's plane, follow it, attack marked units and attack enemy planes. In some missions, it is possible to land on runways and get more ammunition or even change the aircraft. The player can slow down or speed up the time at any moment. However, it also removes voice dialogue. Although the most of the gameplay is in the air, certain parts of certain missions are set on the ground and the player must use anti-aircraft weaponry to shoot down enemy planes. The first part of the twelfth mission is in a turret of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, and the player uses machine guns to fight incoming fighters.

During the campaign, the player can play short challenges that often have unique objectives. The story is not affected if these challenges are skipped, but they also follow the same story of the main part of the campaign.


Throughout the course of the game, the player will have the opportunity to fly many types of World War II aircraft into combat. Here is the list of every aircraft and missile that makes an appearance in the course of the game:

Allied aircraft:

United Kingdom:

United States:

Soviet Union:


Axis aircraft:



* It appears in Campaign mode but is not flyable in either Campaign or Instant Action mode.

° It appears in Campaign mode but is only flyable in Instant Action mode.

Unlockable only after completing all 15 missions and all 20 challenges, and only available in Instant Action mode

Featured Ammunition and Weaponry

The game features a wide range of actual weapons that were used during World War II. Here is a list of the Conventional and Secret weapons that can be used by the player in the game.

Conventional Weapons

German Vengeance Rocket

Cannons are used by the player in two main forms, the 37mm Cannon and the 57mm Cannon. These are typically bolted to the underside of the users aircraft.

Rockets are also to be found in this game. The game features simple rockets which are entitled Small, Medium, and Large, each increasing in size, respectively.

Bombs are also featured in the game, being somewhat similar to the rockets, being named Small, Medium, and Large.

Torpedoes can be found in this game too, often playing an important role in the early missions involving the destruction of ships and landing craft. The game features the 17.7" Mark XV Torpedo.

Secret Weapons

Bouncing bomb 'Upkeep'

The game also features a small selection of Secret Weapons, hence the game title. These include the following weapons.

The Fritz X free-fall guided bomb (also known as the Ruhrstahl/Kramer X-1) has a warhead of 700 lbs and was built with the intention of destroying Allied capital ships.

The Upkeep Bouncing bomb is perhaps the most famous weapon that is to be found in the game. This is due to the fact that it is the same weapon which was used in Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters Raid.

The Henschel 294 makes an appearance in this game as a rocket-propelled flying torpedo which is used by the player to sink ships from great distances.

Also in this game, is the Henschel 293 air-to-ground rocket. It is designed to destroy Ground Targets at long range. In the game, this rocket is camera-guided.

Finally, the last of the secret weapons in the game is the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missile. This was developed by Ruhrstahl AG and was created to bring down Allied B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.

Campaign mode and historic missions

The first mission introduces the player to the protagonist James Chase, an American volunteer in the Royal Air Force. At the start, the player is tasked with assisting the Royal Navy in evacuating the entire British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk Harbour. The evacuation succeeds, however Chase and a few RAF pilots from a secretive organisation known as the "Battlehawks" are set upon by an elite Luftwaffe squadron known as "Nemesis". Chase and the RAF engage Nemesis, Chase managing to shoot down the Squadron Commander, known as Krieger. Chase's superior, Trevor is impressed by Chase's conduct, and propositions him to join the Battlehawks as the RAF return to England. Aldertag begins over England, and forms the basis of the second mission. Chase and the RAF engage the Luftwaffe on the ground and in the air to prevent the destruction of the Battlehawks Airfield, protect the towns of Hythe and New Romney and key Radar Stations that are monitoring The Channel. In the latter engagement, Nemesis pilots escorting the Ju-88 bombers announce to Chase that - 'By order of Oberst Krieger, you have flown your last flight.' Despite this declaration of vendetta, Chase and the RAF manage to prevail. One of the Ju-88 bombers crashlands, prompting Rork, the Battlehawks Squadron Commander to salvage it for use against the Germans.

The Battlehawks chance comes sooner than expected. An elaborate intelligence network set up across Europe has deduced that the Germans plan to invade and seize control of the British Isles, the date of which gives the British precious little time to prepare a suitable defence. Chase is tasked with piloting the captured Ju-88 across The Channel, to destroy the invasion fleet sitting at anchor. Chase manages to take the Germans by total surprise, sinking many transport ships and also manages to steal a Bf-109 from a German airfield by assistance of the French Resistance.

With his invasion fleet now decimated, Hitler postpones the invasion of England and turns his attention to Africa, and the oil reserves of the Middle East. Erwin Rommel is sent to Tripoli to take command of the Afrika Korps there, but the Battlehawks miss the only opportunity to assassinate the General before he could land there, and as a result, one of the Battlehawks spies known as the "White Rose" is compromised and needs extraction. Pauline, a new member of the Battlehawks Squadron is standing by with a C-47 and is able to transport White Rose to safety.

Following the Japanese allegiance to the Axis by bombing Pearl Harbour, some Battlehawks Pilots are sent to Burma to assist the Flying Tigers there. White Rose finds out that a meeting between German and Japanese officials will soon take place in Burma, to exchange military secrets. The Battlehawks attempt to intercept, but fail in neutralising the German submarine before they can get away. The Japanese side of the deal is left on the docks, to which the Battlehawks destroy before clearing the area of Japanese targets. Krieger arrives with his Nemesis pilots, and manages to shoot down Pauline in her C-47. A rescue mission is manned after a PBY patrol spots a POW camp which is likely to house Pauline. The mission partially succeeds, Pauline is rescued but Trevor is shot down in the escape.

In their retreat from Burma, Chase carries Pauline to the USS Yorktown for medical assistance. Pauline is treated for her injuries at Pearl Harbour, but the Yorktown sails out after a quick repair to meet a new threat. A Japanese radio transmission has been deciphered, telling of a seaborne invasion of Midway Island. Losing this base is not acceptable, so the Enterprise, Yorktown, and Hornet are sent to meet the Japanese. Because of a lack of pilots, Chase is able to get on the Yorktown's roster, and leads attacks against Japanese carriers, winning a decisive victory in the Pacific theatre for the Americans.

With Japanese aggression now severely limited, Chase and the rest of the Battlehawks pilots return home, to continue the fight against Germany and Nemesis. Adamant at finding the German U-Boat that escaped in Burma, the SOE are convinced its cargo had something to do with Germany's secret weapons programs, although the exact specifications remain a mystery. Doctor Niels Bohr soon makes contact with the Allies, and requests to defect. Prominent in atomic research, the Battlehawks place Bohr's extraction with the highest priority, Chase being tasked with solely escorting the Doctor out of Occupied Denmark overland and by sea. After his successful defection, Bohr reveals that the U-Boat in Burma was carrying back equipment needed to construct a brand new type of heavy bomber - of which the first prototypes were already being field tested at a Nemesis airfield on the outskirts of Stalingrad in the Soviet Union. With assistance from Chase and a Soviet attache, a T-34 tank column manages to break through the fortified German defensive lines. However one of the planes has already taken off and escorted by Krieger, bombs the remaining planes on the runway. Chase shoots down Krieger and the bomber, although Krieger survives.

A post battle examination of the wreckage at the airfield confirmed to the SOE that the Junkers 390, a long range heavy bomber capable of striking targets in North America, had started production at an unknown location. White Rose discovers the factory deep inside Western Germany, Chase is sent alone to destroy the factory using an experimental "Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" aircraft. Using a brand new experimental guided bomb, Chase levels the factory complex and destroys the intact bombers in their hangars. Subsequent investigation by the SOE, and a frightening revelation by Doctor Bohr raises suspicions of the Junkers 390's purpose. The Norsk Hydrofacility in Norway was being used to manufacture deuterium oxide, a substance crucial in the construction of an atomic bomb. The Battlehawks are scrambled once more to destroy this facility, Trevor having survived his earlier encounter in the Pacific joins the attack. Commandos landed by Pauline level the facility with explosives, and by use of the famous British invention, the bouncing bomb, Chase is able to render the dam completely useless to the Germans. However, the Battlehawks encounter another new threat, the highly advanced Me-262 jet powered aircraft.

The Me-262 is a revolutionary aircraft, primarily because instead of being powered via a propeller, its jet engine technology allows the plane to greatly outmanoeuvre any aircraft currently present in the Allied arsenal. If deployed in vast quantities, this new aircraft could easily reassert German aerial superiority over Europe. A daring, risky, and all out mad plan proposed by the Battlehawks is put forward: to destroy the Me-262's on the ground using B-17 bomber groups, but preserve part of the runway to steal one of the jets, Chase taking on the responsibility. The raid is a success, the airfield is destroyed and Chase is able to pull one of the jets out in the confusion.

For a whole year, the White Rose desperately searches for the location of one of Germany's most tightly kept secrets - the location of a base used to test Germany's latest rocket weaponry. The location of the facility is tracked by White Rose to an R&D site in Peenemunde. Chase and Cedrick (who assisted the player in the first few missions as a French partisan) are sent to destroy the research vessels using a newly designed specially designed guided torpedo, the Henschel Hs 294, as well as the platforms used to test launch the V-2 rockets. During the raid, Nemesis sends up its newest counter to the Allies - the Me-163 Komet. Cedrick is shot down by these ridiculously fast rocket powered aircraft, and killed. White Rose is also discovered and compromised by German ground troops, her fate left unknown.

Prior to her capture, the White Rose was able to discover the location of the factory being used to fuel and produce the V-1 and V-2 rockets, buried deep within the Hartz Mountains. Allied bombing raids are unable to neutralise the factory, and with the Normandy Landings due to commence soon, the Battlehawks are sent to destroy it, Chase using the Me-262 to, as put in the words of the narrator: To use one secret weapon, to destroy another. The plan relies on the Battlehawks waiting for a train to enter the secure facility, which means the heavily fortified doors will need to open. At that point, Chase will fly in and blow up the rocket fuel tanks stored inside. The plan succeeds as intended, and the factory is brought out of commission.

On June 6, 1944, the Allies prepare to storm the beaches of Normandy. The Battlehawks commence the day by flying inland to destroy both V-1 and V-2 rockets platforms before their deadly payload can be delivered to the invasion fleet and landing crafts. Succeeding in doing so, the Allies disembark for the beaches. The Battlehawks are then alerted by Pauline to a new threat, a flight Ju-88 attached to a Fw190 makes way to the landing craft, the intention of the Ju-88's is to crash the explosive laden bomb into the Allies. The attack is suppressed, and the Allied Forces storm the beaches. Finally, an epic showdown of immense proportions begins between the Battlehawks and Krieger, the long term Nemesis of the Allied fighter wing. Piloting a Daimler Benz C with an equipped load of highly advanced He1078 jet aircraft, the remaining strength of Nemesis defend to the death the last Junkers 390 heavy bomber, on course for an attack of unknown magnitude toward the beaches. Within miles of the beaches, the Junkers 390, and its payload are shot down by the Battlehawks, Krueger's airborne fortress is destroyed soon after, however it is hinted that he escapes from being shot down in his own jet.

After the final mission, the narrator details the important, vital but untold role the Battlehawks had played throughout the war - thwarting the insidious plans of the Third Reich and ensuring that usage of the Vengeance weapons could never be used to full effect. With Allied Forces now successfully spearheading the liberation of Europe, the Battlehawks future missions are said to become much challenging - the Third Reich being sure to throw everything they have at the Allied advance. In one sense, as the narrator suggests: The war was just beginning. Chase closes the campaign with a final monologue, anticipating the next encounter with Nemesis, and that 'he is one of the lucky ones, who has lived to fight one more day'.


Aggregate scores
GameRankings(PS2) 79.74%[1]
(Xbox) 75.47% [2]
(PC) 73.41% [2]
Metacritic(PS2) 81/100 [3]
(Xbox) 77/100 [4]
(PC) 72/100 [5]
Review scores
GameSpot6.9/10 [7]
IGN8/10 [8]

Secret Weapons Over Normandy received positive reviews upon release. It averages scores of 79.74% (PS2), 75.47% (Xbox), and 73.41% (PC) on GameRankings,[1][2][2] and 81/100 (PS2), 77/100 (Xbox), and 72/100 (PC) on Metacritic.[3][4][5]

Steve Butts of IGN awarded Secret Weapons Over Normandy awarded the game an 8/10, praising the sound and gameplay but criticized the fact that the Xbox and PC versions felt lackluster when compared to the PS2 version.[8]

Kristan Reed of Eurogamer praised the game, calling it "one of the best kept secrets of the year". He gave it a final score of 9/10.[6]

Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot was a little more critical. He praised the simple controls and graphics but noted that they don't excel in any one area, and criticized the lack of challenge, scoring it a 6.9/10.[7]


A brief controversy was also when the first previews of the game were shown with copyrighted images of Luftwaffe ace pilot Erich Hartmann being portrayed as the main villain. Hartmann's family subsequently threatened legal action, but the images were later removed and replaced with those of Hans-Ulrich Rudel for use in the actual game.


External links

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