Show Some Love

Posted on Dec 11th 2010 at 02:02:17 PM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under UN Squadron, unloved, SNES, Shmup

Its been a super long time since I've written about a Shmup so I've got the urge to do so.

The basic mechanics in UN Squadron are not different than any other Shmup. Ship scrolls to the right, guns shoot bad guys. A great formula that doesnt need much tweaking if you ask me. What makes this game more fun is the variety of levels and customization of your ship.

First option when you start up your game is to choose your pilot. This is your first chance to customize to your style of play. Each pilot has a different advantage over the others. The first lets you level up your main gun the quickest. This is obviously a big advantage early on, but in the last few levels all the pilots should have a maxed out gun so it becomes a useless skill at that point. The second pilot enables you to use mulitple special weapons at the same time. This is only useful in certain areas and combinations and probably only to someone who is already familiar with the game. The last character can take an extra hit before the ship explodes. Always useful.

Now when you start the game you have a very limited amount of money. This cash can be used to purchase special weapons for your current ship or to purchase new ships. There are 6 different ships to choose from each with its own specialty when it comes to special weapons. For instance some ships will have specials that all focus on a target above your ship and will have a harder time fighting ground based enemies. Obviously different ships are more helpful than others on different missions. The ships are very expensive though and you need to make your purchases wisely or you could find yourself with a poor ship selection for the missions you need to pass and no money to make a better selection. Once you purchase a ship you can select any ship you have had previously for each new mission.

As mentioned above, each different ship has a set of special weapons applicable to it. These are also purchased with cash before each level. By the way cash is obtained by destroying enemies. The more guys you kill the richer you'll be. Getting back to special weapons. Each weapon that is unused at the end of the level will be refunded to you in full. So loading up on weapons you "might" need can be ok as long as you complete the level. If you die during the level you will not be refunded for you purchases.

One of the best parts of the game is the varied level design. That might sound silly for a shmup game, but its oddly true. Some levels will be entirely airborn fighting against other pilots, some levels will be more ground focused and you'll fight a mixture of tanks, turrets and helicopters, yet others focus on infiltrating enemy bases, destroying fortresses or even fighting a submarine.

Another neat part about this game is the level select screen. When you start the game you'll be show a map with your location and all the enemy locations plainly marked for you to see. As you take over enemy territory your area of sight expands and more missions will become available, and you can choose which order to attack them in. There are a few enemy "levels" that proceed towards your base though so they will need to be dealt with sooner, rather than later.

Another thing Shmups tend to be known for is there awesome music. UN Squadron is no exception. Here is one of my favorite levels to play, and it just happens to have some of the most awesome tunes in the game:

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Nice article man! The game looks like a ton of fun. I especially like how your ship wraps around when it gets to the end of the boss area. I'll keep a look out for this game for sure.
Awesome! Finally a game in the Unloved series that I own! From the limited time I spent playing this game I thought it was great but not that easy.
This entry really knocked me for a loop...

Considering all the praise and fond memories I've heard, read, and personally experienced about UN Squadron, it's one game I least expected to join the ranks of the unloved.

But then, I don't get out that much.

In fact, quite a few web-based gamin' folk claim UN Squadron is better than the Gradius games. I wouldn't know myself; I've never played a Gradius game extensively enough to make a fair comparison. I'm sure i could, if I cut sleep out of my daily schedule...

Now if I could only get past that freakin' Yamato-ish battleship. It just might be Game Genie time...
@Sunset - The loop back feature is kind of neat, but not used a whole lot. Kind of a novelty on a few levels.

@Sirgin - The whole points of this series is to highlight games you probably havnt played, so it sounds like I'm picking the right titles. Thanks!

@Zagnorch - I've heard very little about this game especially over the last 5 years or so. This one happens to be a childhood favorite of mine, so I've long known how great it was. Glad to hear some others seem to agree with me.

As for comparing it to Gradius, I would put UN Squadron above Gradius personally. I really like Gradius, but once you die in Gradius it is nearly impossible to continue playing. UN Squadron is more forgiving, but still challenging.

My tip to beat the game is to only use the first ship they give you until you have saved enough for the LAST ship on the list. Those are the only two I use. The last ship has access to all the special weapons and large quantities of them. The levels are a bit easier with 10 Clusters at your disposal and bosses are significantly easier with 2 Mega Crushes and several other powerful guns at your disposal. Also pick Greg as your pilot. The extra health really helps later on.
This was the game I used to prove to my dad that the SNES was superior to the NES, and not just an expensive repackaging of similar hardware.

The moment he saw the mode 7 scaling runway in the intro, (and I'll never forget this childhood moment) he said, "Yeah, I guess your Nintendo couldn't do that."

Another early SNES title my friends and I dropped a ton of time into.  I remember not finishing the hardest difficulty until nearly a year later!  Excellent graphics and music, great replayability, and just plain classic for shmup fans such as myself.  For the longest time this sat in my 'go through annually' stack. 

I think me and Greg have some old times to relive Smiley

Also, a special shout-out to the arcade cab and manga upon which this game was generally based.

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