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Propeller Arena: Aviation Battle Championship was an online dog-fighting game developed by Sega AM2 and Produced by Yu Suzuki. The game was to feature up to 6 player online fights, microphone-enabled voice chatting for trash-talking your opponents, 4-player split screen mode for local matches, and just general kick ass fun. Three modes of perspective are given: 1st-person, cockpit, and an outside camera.

Unfortunately, Propeller Arena was a victim of politics (see Timeline below) and will more than likely never see an official release by Sega. There is a small chance that a company like OlderGames might release it in the future, though.

Note: The character and stage descriptions, as well as the obviously watermarked artwork, are taken from http://dc.ign.com’s feature on the game. If anyone knows where to find cleaner versions of these images, please notify me.

Propellar Arena Timeline

January 2001

Propeller Head Online announced. US release date targeted for late in the year.

May 2001

E3 2001: Propeller Head Online (also known as Project Propeller Online) has been officially renamed to Propeller Arena: Aviation Battle Championship by now. Sega showcases the game in video form and the gaming press seem to dig it.

August 2001

While showcasing Shenmue 2, AM2 shows off some more Propeller Arena goodness. The game is described to be as ‘near completion.

September 13th, 2001

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York where hi-jackers took control of two very large planes and ran them into the building (September 11th), Sega puts Propeller Arena on hold. Below is the statement issued by Sega.

Sega Corporation was greatly saddened to learn of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those injured or who lost their lives in the horrific events.

At this time, we have decided to postpone shipment of ‘Propeller Arena’ for Dreamcast. Although the game content does not deal with terrorism in any way, it is possible for a determined individual to deliberately play the game in a manner that generates images similar to those we have seen on the news. We want to avoid causing any additional grief to those involved in this week’s tragedy and feel this is an appropriate action.

Again, our hearts go out to those affected by Tuesday’s tragic events.

October 2001

Sega of America officially cancels Propeller Arena, as well as other titles for the Dreamcast (Shenmue 2…). Sega fans everywhere weep
during this horrible time.

Characters

Click the team’s names and planes for images.

Team: Eagle Jam (Pilot: Gary Hamilton)

Gary is a very patriotic American and a top-flight USAF pilot. He is the leader of “Eagle Jam” – a group of airplane enthusiasts who love to restore and fly P-51D’s. Although he is an expert pilot, his lack of real combat experience causes him to question his skills as an actual “fighter.” When he learned that the Aviation Battle Championship (ABC) was going to use live bullets, he decided to participate in the tournament in an effort to finally erase his doubts about how he’d perform in a real, do-or-die dogfight.

 

Team: Shameless Cats (Pilot: Emily Williams)

Emily is a talented young actress that was once nominated for the National Film Actress of the Year award. She is the granddaughter of John Williams, a world-famous adventurer and pilot who taught her to fly when she was just a little girl. A tomboy in her teenage years, Emily left home at age 18 following a disagreement with her parents. Thanks to her grandfather’s support, she found work as a waitress and a dancer before making her professional acting debut at the age of 21. Following her grandfather’s passing earlier in the week, Emily was motivated to participate in ABC to honor his spirit and his beloved airplane.

 

Team: 8-bit Beat (Pilot: Silver Boy)

Information on “Silver Boy” is extremely hard to come by. All that is known is that he is the leader of the German techno unit “MetalBoy,” and that he is an ultra high-level pilot. As for his background, no one can be certain. As one competitor put it, “All I know is that he’s a weirdo who wears a silver body suit. What else do you need to know?”

NOTE: Like Rally Miller, Silver Boy enjoys the speed of the MESSERSCHMITT Bf109E. As the primary fighter of the German Luftwaffe, the Bf109E entered production in May of 1940. As the war progressed, most divisions transitioned to the newer F model, but some veteran pilots continued to fly the Bf109E until the summer of 1942.

8-Bit Beat’s Bf109E

 

Team: Hex Candy (Pilot: Lucy Walman)

Lucy is the lead singer for the up-and-coming all-girl English band named Hex Candy. Although she had no flying experience, her manager entered her in the ABC as a promotional stunt for the band. Even after a two-week flight training course in Florida, Lucy still has doubts about being a championship pilot. Her always-positive attitude has her focused on victory, and she’ll use her anger toward her manager for placing her in the competition as a motivating factor, but she’ll need to overcome lingering doubts about her abilities if she hopes to claim the title.

Hex Candy’s Spitfire

 

Team: Golden Knife (Pilot: Peter Goldsmith)

Peter is the leader of the famous “Greedy Goldsmith Group.” A deceptively agile flyer, he fought in the Gulf War as a Navy pilot and earned the unflattering nickname “Hyena of the Desert.” The nickname came from his tendency to only target and shoot down enemy fighters that had been previously hit. In this way, his number of enemy fighters that he “destroyed” would increase, causing his performance to look better than it was. Predictably, his war colleagues turned a cold shoulder to him for stealing their glory. After the war, Peter established a successful private company that managed technology stocks, but he decided to enter the ABC to regain some luster on his tarnished aerial career (and to claim some of the enormous prize money). Plus, he has a hankering to return to the days of hunting prey, just as he did during the war.

NOTE: Both Lucy Walman and Peter Goldsmith arrive for battle in the SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE Mk Vb. The Mk I, introduced in 1936, held its own against the Luftwaffe’s Bf109E, but the German introduction of the Bf109F shifted air superiority in their favor. Plans were set in motion to place a more powerful engine in the Mk I, and a prototype first took to the air in January of 1941. This became the basis for the Mk V, with its greater speed and climbing power.

Golden Knife’s Spitfire

 

Team: Muscle Brothers (Pilot: Tim Golden)

The leader of “The Muscle Brothers,” Tim is always a contender for the top spot in the All-American Bodybuilding Championships. Yet even with all his strength, Tim is a tender, caring father of three young boys. Ironically, he hates flying, and uses a car to drive from venue to venue. Tim was formerly a cadet in the Air Force, yet he dropped out of the academy and refuses to explain why. Many believe that he may have been traumatized by his experience there. He was originally invited to be a spectator at the ABC, but was tricked into participating in the tournament. It seems the unscrupulous owner of his gym hopes to recover some of his gambling losses by entering Tim in the competition. Tim’s sons are excited and proud that their daddy’s participating in the ABC, so Tim is now forced to strap in and fly a plane. Again.

Muscle Brother’s P38

 

Team: Pizza Fat (Pilot: Michael “Pizza Fat” Cantrelle)

Michael is the first son of Roger Cantrelle, founder of Pizza Fat, one of the largest pizza restaurant franchises in the U.S. A lazy mama’s boy, Michael has been known to bounce from one job to another, and seems to care only about his collection of historic military items. Hoping to light a fire under his son, Roger told Michael, “If you like the military so much, why don’t you participate in the ABC? Tell you what. If you win, I’ll buy you a tank.” Naturally, Michael is very excited about the prospect of owning his very own tank, so he’s decided to enter ABC flying one of his father’s P-38’s.

Both Tim Golden and Michael Cantrelle take to the air in the LOCKHEED P38J LIGHTNING, a unique flying machine that originated in the US. The first flight of the original model, the XP-38, took place on January 29, 1939. But problems during landing led to several more test flights and the creation of the YP-38, the model that was officially accepted for production on September 7, 1940. The full production model, the P-38E, became the standard for the P-38 series before the J model improved the engine coolant system in 1943.

 

Team: Pengo Jets (Pilot: Rally Miller)

Everyone recognizes Rally from his days as an actor in numerous popular TV drama programs. A handsome man, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of Rally’s fans are female. However, he is a narcissist, and misunderstands women, so he’s constantly the subject of much gossip. Rally is an airplane maniac, and flies his private jet all around the country. When he learned of the ABC, and realized that the winner’s name would be in headlines everywhere, Rally decided he absolutely had to enter the competition. He persuaded a producer friend of his to create a TV special entitled “Rally Miller in the ABC,” and managed to convince the network to buy him a fighter for the ABC. Ever the self-centered type, he now believes that he can attract even more women with his fighter than he could with his private jet!

Rally Miller prefers the MESSERSCHMITT Bf109E. As the primary fighter of the German Luftwaffe, the Bf109E entered production in May of 1940. As the war progressed, most divisions transitioned to the newer F model, but some veteran pilots continued to fly the Bf109E until the summer of 1942.

Pengo Jet’s Bf109E

Stages

Click the stage names to see an image of the environment.

Airport

The first stage of the Championship Mode takes place above a futuristic airport near the ocean. Amid the chaos of combat, observant pilots will witness shuttle launches as well as consumer flight arrivals and departures.

Red Canyon

Set against a gorgeous sunset, this vast desert canyon plays host to intense power struggles and serves as Championship Mode’s second stage.

Tower City

Tear through the city streets and beneath low-lying bridges as you avoid enemy fire and towering skyscrapers. This massive stage is an obstacle-ridden urban crash course.

Sky High

Set high above the clouds, “Sky Hi” offers amazing freedom as well as some unexpected hazards. A powerful jet stream just below the cloud layer can quickly tear apart even the most durable flying machine.

Ice World

Get ready for some heated combat in an arctic setting, but don’t let the whales in the water distract you–your stray fire can send whole glacier tips sliding into the sea!

Old Castle

Surrounded by beautiful countryside and a gigantic moat, this massive structure consists of narrow gateways, tall archways, and claustrophobic courtyards that challenge even the most acrobatic pilots.

Volcano

Set against a nighttime sky, this stage features an enormous erupting volcano and fast-flowing rivers of lava. If your opponents don’t take you out, the volcano’s fireballs probably will.

Phantom Island

Another skirmish in the night . . . Phantom Island plays host to a severe electrical storm. With cloud-to-cloud lightning and enemies under cover of darkness, you might want to fly low near the water or take cover in the island’s cavernous interior.

Soundtrack

Note: Propeller Arena has a soundtrack full of liscenced music. The US version of the game features artist from Fat Wreck Chords, a label with ‘punk rock’ artists owned by NOFX’s Fat Mike. I’m including the following comment given by IGN’s Anthony Chau… well, let’s just say I’m including it for reference purposes.

Although we’re a little sad that the US version won’t have all the awesome “butt-rock” tunes of the import version, the soundtrack for the US version of Propeller Arena will have some very rockin’ tunes.

Consumed:
“Wake Up With A Smile”
“King Kong Song”

Mad Caddies:
“Shaving Your Life”

Zero Down:
“Bite The Hand That Feeds It”
“Going Nowhere”

Old School 101:
“Bien Venido A Miami”

No Use For A Name:
“Life Size Mirror”
“Lies Can’t Pretend” (second song featured during Propeller Arena
trailer)

Rise Against:
“The Art of Losing”
“My Life Inside Your Heart”