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WingNuts 2: Raina’s Revenge
April 20, 2006 | Marcus Albers

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When we last left the Majestic Air Force, their ace pilot (you) had just captured the insanely evil Baron Von Schtopwatch, defeated his army of robot planes, and garnered the glory and adoration of the free world throughout all of time, literally. As the time-jumping hotshot pilot, you deftly dispatched plane after plane, while keeping your wingnuts intact all the while.

So, what's the use of a sequel if all is well and good? If Freeverse has anything to say about it, things are going to get a lot hotter for you and the Majestic Air Force. They are readying their sequel to the very successful original shooter, WingNuts, aptly titled WingNuts 2: Raina's Revenge.

As WingNuts 2 opens, you are flying around in your highly experimental super-jet, taking pot-shots at hot air balloons to help keep your reflexes sharp as you guard the temporal prison that houses the evil Baron. Just as you are about to take out the last of the extremely dangerous balloons, the world around you goes a bit blurry, and before you know it, you are caught smack-dab in the middle of an attacking squadron of World War II-era planes and bombers. Luckily, the classic fighters are little match for your fully upgraded super jet. Once you dispatch the planes, something appears and starts attacking the temporal prison. This machine, tentacles waving about, seems to be devouring the prison. But, as you attempt to destroy this latest threat, the machine draws the plane into its open maw. Luckily, you ditch just in time to watch the machine, your jet, and the prison disappear into a time warp.

It soon becomes clear that someone has broken Baron Von Schtopwatch out of his temporal home for life. His lethal robot planes, as well as his equally lethal one-liners, are back, and it is up to you to defeat him once again, and find out who is behind this latest time-traveling plot. It's time to jump into your trusty prop-planes and take on the legions of robo-planes that are gunning for you throughout time.

The gameplay has remained intact from the first game. Like the classic arcade shooter it seems to have been based on, Time Pilot, your plane stays in the middle of the screen and you rotate and fly 360 degrees in any direction. You have up to three weapons: guns, bombs, and missiles, all of which can be upgraded by catching parachuting power-ups littering the levels.

The levels are quite large, so to give you a hand in finding that last elusive enemy plane, you are given a radar unit that shows the location of not only every enemy plane, but enemy ground installations, goodies, and your carrier.

Your carrier has undergone an upgrade for the sequel, as well. No longer relegated to a single spot on the ocean, your carrier has taken to the air, and moves around the map with you, albeit at a much slower pace. Enemies will attack your carrier from time to time, so make sure to keep a close eye on it. Should you find yourself at the other side of the map, do not despair. The carrier is equipped with lethal defenses, and does a good job at taking out any planes that find themselves within range. The mobile carrier also changes another aspect of the original game, in that when you run low on fuel, you will no longer have to attach to a refueling plane. You will instead land momentarily on the carrier deck. Once landed, you will be give the choice of changing planes to another plane (if available), or to re-launch your original, newly refueled fighter. This should add a nice strategic element to the game.

One of the things that made the first WingNuts game such a hit was its crisp, smooth, OpenGL graphics engine. The game ran like a knife through hot butter on a nicely equipped Macintosh. It was a joy to play, and a joy to watch. This same silky-smooth graphical goodness is back in full force in the sequel. The movement of everything on screen is smooth and stutter-free. The planes rotate without noticeable animation frames, giving it a very realistic look. The explosions are fiery and a joy to watch. As you shoot your bullets at the planes, debris flies from the planes. This is a particularly impressive effect when you are shooting at the larger "boss" planes.

The background graphics have been given a face lift, as well. Instead of a simple water background with a few islands, you will get to fly over full land masses. Detailed ground structures, rolling hills, valleys, lakes; they all look very impressive and add to the realism of the overall presentation. Cloud cover comes from the first game intact, adding weather effects such as lightning. It is easier to loose enemy planes in the cloud cover this time around, since on many levels there is so much more of it.

The sound is excellent, as it was in the first one. The music is peppy and fits well with the action on screen. The sound effects are clear and effective, as well. The Baron is back with his constant one-liners, although thankfully he has been given a new vocabulary (if I hear "The Baron spank you!" one more time, I'll scream!). If Schtopwatch's constant taunting is getting to you, then take comfort in the female voice of your controller, as she gives you encouragement, let's you know when you are in danger, and generally keeps you updated on the condition of the battle.

WingNuts 2: Raina's Revenge is really shaping up to be an excellent sequel to a very successful original. It follows the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," while adding a number of features that really take the game to the next level. I can't wait to get my hands on the final version of this little gem.

Be sure to check out the four QuickTime movies of the game!

WingNuts 2: Raina’s Revenge
Publisher: Freeverse
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