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 Post subject: U.N. Squadron (SNES)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:04 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Hell yeah!, Who can't forgot spending their weekend in the arcade playing U.N. Squadron (A.K.A. Area 88 in Japan), the game is based on a Manga and Anime OVAS.
The gameplay: grab your plane and make your way through 10 Missions, fight gigantic bosses and i mean big, like 2 or 3 screens big, the arcade game was released in 1989 and two years later the SNES version hit the scene, since the game is a 16-bit conversion, and the arcade game was an excellent game, this is gonna be promising.

Gameplay: 10/10
In this game you can't select your planes, instead you can choose your pilot, each one with different habilities: Shin levels up faster, Mickey can hold more weapons and Greg can take more damage.
Once you pick your pilot you can select your stage (once you complete Mission 1), after the briefing, you'll be in the shop, you'll start up with $3000, so you can't buy one of the 5 planes yet, instead you'll start with a "Basic" plane, but you can buy weapons for your plane, instead of holding one weapon, you can use all the weapons that your jet can handle.

Instead of have 3 jets with Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground or both like the arcade, in this game you have 6 different planes with different functions and different power levels, from the basic stuff to the ultimate fighter jet.

Now you're gonna ask me "Why my default plane is a Crusader?" If you saw the Area 88 OVAs or readed the manga you'll notice that's the Default plane for the new pilots in the base, and they had to earn for buy better planes, so the game is trying to make some accuracy to the manga?, sounds interesting.

Once you're done with your weapon buy you'll start your mission, the gameplay is almost the same as the arcade game, except for a thing: your life bar, when you get hit, it'll be depleted and replaced with a flashing "DANGER" message, it takes like 3 or 5 seconds for "Extinct" the flames and go back to normal, if you're hit when you're in "Danger" condition you'll be shot down to bits and you'll have to restart the whole stage again (Like R-Type, but harder), this could be frustrating but there's one time where you can use it in your favor, and that's in Stage 1, don't buy weapons, kill all the enemies, take all the power-ups and get killed when you reach the boss, do this until you lose all your lives, once you continue you will restart with $80,000 or more and get your firepower at level 3 or 4 depending on which pilot you choose. Speaking about Continues, you only have 3, and that's very few for a game like this, 5 will be much better.

If an enemy reaches your base (B-2 Bomber, Wolfpack Squadron or Seavet Submarine) you'll be forced to play in that stage until you beat the level, that adds some "Realism" to the situation, some kind of "Base Under Attack, engage the enemy immediately!"

The attack pattern of some bosses was changed, an example of this is the B-2 Bomber in stage 2, instead of giving you a surprise attack from above like in the arcade, the plane appears from the bottom left of the screen, giving you a chance of attack it first (discharging all your bombs).

Some bosses were replaced for new ones, the Turret in stage 9 was replaced for a upside down core, Stage 8 is an SR-71 Blackbird, there's a mercenary team called Wolfpack, and the final boss was changed, but they kept some of the bosses from the original arcade game like the Missile Launcher Tank, the Ground Carrier, and they keep the giant ones like the Battleship Minks and the Forest Fortress.

The Seavet Submarine is now a stage boss instead of a Sub-boss, that was a good idea in my opinion.

Every once in a while you can find Bonus Stages in the game (or Mission EX), in those stages you have to destroy some military vehicles in 30 seconds, if you miss one truck you can turn and try to get it again, sometimes when there's 2 stages before the final mission, the bonus stages can pop-up infinitely if you don't go to a Mission and you keep choosing the bonus stages (showed as little green trucks in the Stage Select)

Graphics: 9/10
The graphic display in this game is just awesome, and is much better than the arcade, to begin with, the opening sequence shows a jet taking off, the runway "Pseudo-3D" effect was just great, very reminiscent of F-Zero, the Briefing screen was different, everything looks great except for the character monitor in the upper part of your screen, Shin looks like a girl, Mickey looks like he had a bad stretched face, at least Greg is more "Arcade Accurate", for some reason the game designers made Shin more female, i know that's common on Bishonen, but it looks more like a "Genderswap" version, i guess they tried to make him look like the manga version, but it looks too female even for that version, if the game designers saw the OVAs they wouldn't commited that mistake.

The Game Over screen was also changed, instead of the "Down in flames" screen of the Arcade version, you'll see your pilot walking in the desert, making a reference to a scene of the second OVA where Shin is shot down and he almost dies in the desert walking his way back to the base.

Sound: 10/10
Don't expect too much descriptions for a 16-bit game, but i have to admit, the music is very faithful to the original arcade game, there's some original songs like the Quartermaster Corps Stage (Mission EX) and the Opening sequence. there's no "Blooping" noises in the music like in the arcade, seems like Capcom wanted to improve the music department and they made a nice job.

- 3 Pilots with unique skills
- 6 Selectable planes with different functions and power levels
- Selectable Missions
- Bonus Stages
- New Bosses
- The game is more Manga/Anime-Accurate than the arcade game

- The "Danger" Condition of your life bar
- Die and restart the level again: The harder version of the R-Type start back setting
- The Efreet jet is expensive
- You only have 3 Continues
- There's no 2 Player mode.

This game differs from the arcade in some levels, because they sacrified the Arcade accuracy for make it more faithful to the Area 88 manga and anime OVAs, and that was a nice idea, kinda like a homage. Out of that, this game is one of the best shmups in the SNES library, and i don't say "the best" since that title is for Axelay.

U.N. Squadron's Final Score: 9.5/10
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 Post subject: Re: U.N. Squadron (SNES)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:05 am 

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Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 3725
Location: Almere, Netherlands
great review.
Move to reviews section, mod?
Great game. The launch games for the Super Famicom were just fantastic.
Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Good, hopefully it will return us to the dark ages of gaming where multiple people could play on one television and you actually had to have real friends.

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 Post subject: Re: U.N. Squadron (SNES)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:18 pm 

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Joined: 10 Jan 2010
Posts: 2412
Location: Waterloo, On, Canada
I've never seen a U.N. Squadron review with such a small section on the music. It had some of the best on the SNES/SFC platform. Still, a good review and a pleasant reminder of good times. :)
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