U.N. Squadron (SNES) review
"The bottom line is, if you like shooting games, you'll like this. It offers a few more layers then the typical shooter, and it's a blast to play."
Despite coming out near the beginning of the Super Nintendo's lifespan, U.N. Squadron is probably one of the better made shooters on the system. It's not just another rehash of Gradius like Super R-Type, it actually adds new layers of gameplay that are fun, unlike D-Force.
In Squadron, you play the role of a fighter pilot. The story is never really emphasized a whole lot though. It's the basic ''go kill everything to save the world'' plot.
There's quite a few options that put Squadron above the pack of the other shooting games aspiring to get to the Gradius level. The first would have to be the ship picking system.
Before each stage begins, you can pick what fighter plane you want to fly in the stage. Each has it's own characteristics, whether it can carry more bombs, extra upward firepower, or use higher level energy weapons.
However, these ships aren't free. You have to earn the cash for them in the stages. Each ship you beat in a stage gives you certain amounts of cash. By using this method, it encourages you to reek massive destruction on everything you see.
In addition to picking your ship, you also can select the different weaponry you want to add to your ship. They range from bombs to exotic types of missles to the mega crush. You can select to use these during a mission at any time.
These also cost money though, so you have to learn whether you should splurge all your money on extra missles and bombs or save up to get that shiny new Thunderbolt airplane.
Another unique feature of U.N. Squadron is the ability to pick which stage you want to fight. At some points you can choose between two or three different missions. This is a big help, especially if one mission has been giving you a problem. You can just switch over to the other one and then retackle the problem one with a newer ship or more weaponry.
You can choose the missions from a little grid map. Also on these maps are green dump trucks. If you pick these, you go to bonus stages that can add some money to your vault. Very helpful if you still don't have enough money for a ship but you can't beat a mission.
Now, on to the actual gameplay, which is also a bit of a revelation. Instead of the standard ''one hit you're dead'' philosopy, you can take more then a hit. When you're hit, your plane goes into critical status. Get hit again, and it's curtains.
But if you can avoid enemy fire power for 2 to 3 seconds, your life bar will come back to full, minus one shot of course. This makes the game seem much less cheap then traditional side scrolling shooters. You also can't die just by touching a rock, only if you get ''trapped'' by it.
U.N. Squadron is NOT an easy game though. The enemy ships are always fast and furious. This is heightened by the fact that there's not much of an autofire feature in the game. In case you're not familiar with the term, autofire is when you hold down a button and the game automatically shoots as long as you hold down the button.
There IS an autofire, however, it only lasts for about two seconds. If you have a turbo controller, then there's no problem. But otherwise, you'll pretty much resort button tapping the shoot button.
Nothing wrong there in my opinion though. It makes the game much tougher, but it's more realistic. A real Tomcat can't shoot for 5 minutes straight, more like 2 seconds then it starts to overheat.
Besides the normal array of enemy fighter pilots, ground tanks, silo guns, and kamikazes, there's also large boss characters at the end of stages. These are very tough and very cool looking. You fight huge tanks, stealth bombers, and large installations as boss characters, and all are quite a handle.
Some enemies leave behind little powerups. Collect enough of these and your main cannon moves up to a more powerful level. They also leave behind money enhancements, extra lives, and powerups.
Graphically, this game is impressive. Vibrant colors are the key here, with things being bright but not to the ''eye bleed'' level. However, like most early SNES shooting games, it suffers from slowdown when large numbers of enemies populate the screen. This is your cue to shoot faster :)
Sounds are also above average. It has good mood music that gets you up to flying these planes, and the effects are very good. There's explosions, gun noises, and similiar sounds that you'd come to expect.
The bottom line is, if you like shooting games, you'll like this. It offers a few more layers then the typical shooter, and it's a blast to play. It's not for novices though, as it's a tough play. But for any experienced player, it's a steal at 5 to 20 bucks.
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)
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