U.N. Squadron

by Tiertex Ltd: Doug Anderson
US Gold Ltd
Crash Issue 83, December 1990   (1990-11-15)   page(s) 65

Eutal is a remote Middle Eastern country in the grip of a bloody civil war, and as a result of this conflict a vicious band of arms dealers, Project4, have arisen. They've developed a range of powerful weapons with which they plan to take over the world. But not if the free world has anything to do with it: the UN Squadron have been called in to stop the megalomaniacs.

You control one of the three brave Squadron pilots: Shin Kazama in his Tiger Shark, Mickey Simon in his f_14 and Greg Gate in his Warthog A-10 Thunderbolt. Take off with an optional second player and it's up into the wide blue yonder to shake hands with the devil (as the advertisement says).

Each plane contains a permanent weapon, but a range of bolt-ones are available from the Capcom shop, at a price: bullpups, missiles, napalm bombs, super shells and a nuclear warhead called Bigboy (which sucks all the paint off your house and gives you a permanent pink suntan). The first mission takes you to an enemy base where helicopters, tanks, planes and an aggressive end-of-level tank await. Each level scrolls horizontally with an impressive amount of action happening on-screen.

Level two has you up in the air to destroy a stealth bomber, heavily armed surrounding notwithstanding. Level three takes us to a forest to kill the enemy and destroy the end of level fortress. Level four is set in the desert, your mission to destroy a huge missile silo. On to level five and half way through the game: here you're taken to a spectacular rocky scene where you must battle helicopters and fighter bombers to reach the massive helicopter at the end. Levels six to nine take you to a cave, an oil refinery, the ocean and a mountain range respectively. Whilst level ten is a very special mission to round off a very tiring game: blast your way into a mothership and destroy it.

My thumb is killing me after playing non-stop for several hours on this fast and furious all action game! UN Squadron certainly gets the adrenalin pumping, and it'll probably wreck your joystick. The sprites are highly detailed and scroll smoothly against the varied backdrops. The enemy forces are highly aggressive and must be treated with due caution: only master blasters are likely to survive more than a couple of missions in the first few games - maybe the difficulty level is set a little too high for less experienced players. However, there are up to five continue plays. UN Squadron is a fast and challenging shoot-'em-up, well worth checking out!

MARK … 85%

'UN Squadron includes some really great graphics for you to blast out of the sky, and some impressive weaponry to do the job with. Graphics are excellent throughout, with highly detailed enemy carriers, helicopters and planes of all types. Your finger's hardly ever likely to leave the fire button! If you aren't an expert at this type of game you're not going to get very far, with difficulty seemingly set for the real professional. UN Squadron is a great shoot-'em-up romp with a ton of impressive enemies to take a pot shot at!'
NICK … 80%

Presentation: 80%
Graphics: 83%
Sound: 79%
Playability: 82%
Addictivity: 84%
Overall: 83%

Summary: A devilishly playable blast-'em-up to challenge the stamina of both player and joystick!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 60, December 1990   page(s) 23

UN Squadron is a two-player sideways scrolling coin-op conversion multilevel shoot-'em-up crammed full of planes, helicopters and tanks, and based on the exploits of the UN Air Force during a war in the Middle East. Oh, and it's pretty good too. Cripes - that was a bit of a short review, wasn't it? (Can I go home now?) (Certainty not. Ed)

Oh. All right. So here I am, playing by myself (which is what you have to do in a two-player game if you haven't got any fly-boy chums). I've chosen which of the three planes I want to pilot, either one of two fighters (an F-14 and, um, another one) or a tankbuster - each with a different nationality of pilot and different capabilities (speed, shields etc). And I m scrolling along, shooting things. And more things. And biimey - aren't there a lot of baddies?

Level One features helichoppers and tanks (piles of them too). Power-ups can also be collected to make your plane go faster and replenish shields during the game. And look at that huge end-of-level tank, it's massive, and firing things at me, and, oh dear, I'm dead.

(Incidentally. this isn't one of those pixel-perfect 'shoot absolutely everything or else you'll die' games - it's more one of those mass-attack 'shoot what you can but don't worry it you crash into a few because it'll just drain a little bit of your energy instead' ones.)

At the end of each level you get a load of cash so why not invest in some goodies for your plane in the shop bit (which is nicely presented - pretty graphics, information about the weapons etc). Y'know the sort of things - missile launchers, shields, bullet sprays, stuff like that.

Onto Level Two now, everything's gone blue and there are piles of different planes heading towards me. Right at the end this whopping great bomber descends from the top of the screen (filling practically the entire playing area) and you blow it up. Not easy, I can tell you.

Another visit to the shop, and it's onto Level Three - a flight through a green forest bombing trees, guns and basically everything in sight. I won't bother with a lengthy description of the other seven levels - I'll just leave them as a 'surprise'. (Which means he hasn't got that far. Ed)

So that's the game in general, but what's it really like - what does Yours Truly honestly think of it? Hmm. Nice graphics (though a lot of the time the monochrome sprites get incredibly lost in the background detail). Nice presented too. with some very groovy Marine Boy-style intro screens). Easy, to get into, fun to play, and really addictive - for a while at least.

The main grumble is that although the levels are varied (graphics-wise), the gameplay remains exactly (exactly) the same throughout - just sellotape down the Fire button and move up and down the screen. It can, er, get a bit boring.

So to sum up - occasionally great graphics, well presented, quite playable but the whole thing is just too damn samey. And there you go. Bye.

Life Expectancy: 60%
Instant Appeal: 86%
Graphics: 88%
Addictiveness: 75%
Overall: 77%

Summary: Nice graphics, and a good blast - but a bit too samey really.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 106, December 1990   page(s) 89

When you take on one of the biggest, flashiest, zippiest, bangiest coin-ops around, you can expect the computer version to be either an unqualified success or a massive failure. Weeeellll.... It's very hard to say whether UN Squadron is a success or not.

It's very colourful. It's very detailed, it's very busy. But is it actually playable, or is it just a screenful of sprites zipping around making fools of themselves?

In case you don't know the plot (and heaven knows you should, we've previewed it often enough), the game involves three fearless aviators taking their death-dealing airy-planes into action against a ruthless cartel of international drugs dealers. This must all take place slightly in the future, because although the hardware is fairly contemporary (A10 attack aircraft and so on), in this game UN pilots have to dig into their pocket money to pay for extra weapons. Privatisation gone mad!

The three pilots, Shin, Mike and, er, someone else, each have a peculiar haircut and an enviable reputation for dealing death and mayhem in the service of humanity. It doesn't much matter which you choose to play, though; their planes perform in very much the same way, and the optional weapons available tor each mission are the same. You start off with a simple cannon, and on the icon-controlled gun-shop screen you can pick up extras such as multi-way firers, energy pods and shields. Some of these are particularly suited for specific missions - on one level, for instance, you have to napalm away a forest to reveal the enemy fortifications. But what you can add on all depends on what you can afford, and of course you accumulate dollars by zapping enemy targets on each mission.

The horizontally-scrolling mission screens are monochrome, with displays showing your special weapons, money, energy and level at top and bottom. Your aircraft banks nicely as you move up and down, and the enemy tanks, aircraft and land installations are nicely depicted, but the main problem with the game is that the screen just gets too busy - with fourteen helicopters, four tanks and eleven missiles flying at you at a time, there's not much skill involved. You just have to keep the fire button held down, shoot off all your smart bombs and hope for the best.

Each level - there are ten in all - features a megabaddie - on the first, a giant tank, the second a stealth bomber, the third a jungle fortress, the fourth a super land-carrier, and so on. Taking them on successfully is largely a matter of having enough special weapons left at the end of the level.

There's plenty to like about UN Squadron, but if you forget the nice crew and weapon selection screens and the impressive megabaddies, all you have left is a rather busy horizontally-scrolling shoot-'em up. Not a bad conversion, but the coin-op itself is a bit short on originality.

Label: US Gold
Price: £9.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphics: 78%
Sound: 69%
Playability: 70%
Lastability: 64%
Overall: 70%

Summary: A fair bash at bash at converting a coin op which is more flashy than fascinating.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 108, November 1990   page(s) 89

US Gold
Spectrum £9.99, ST £19.99

When danger's near and deeds must done, who're you gonna call? The UN Squadron of course! Well, maybe calling three hero-types a squadron is a bit of an exaggeration, but when you're dealing with the likes of Shin Kazama, Mickey Simon, and Greg Gates, you're not really too far off the mark.

The latest in US Gold's long line of Capcom conversions enables you to become one of these trendy (check out Shin's hair-do! Aaow!) heroes. Each hero also has a different aircraft at his disposal. Shin feels most at home with his trusty Tigershark, Mickey blasts his foes away with his F-14 Tomcat whilst Greg struts his airborne thang in his A-10 Thunderbolt.

There's ten missions of blasting mayhem on offer, and two of the three heroes can play at the same time! There's plenty of enemy squadrons to be dealt with using your trusty cannon, but when the going gets tough, the smart cookies pick up the power-up tokens that litter the playing area and double their destructive prowess in one fell swoop! Yowzer! Money can also be collected, and at the end of each mission, you can buy extra gadgetry at the UN shop. Forcefields and Napalm are just two of the useful commodities you'll need to keep those enemies at bay.

The enemy can be pretty sly at times as well, so beware! They've despatched terrifying guardians to the end of each level and they'll be waiting for your call, so it's a case of pinching as many powerups as possible, buying some mega-destructive weaponry and then kicking some enemy posterior!

Graphics: 86%
Sound: 83%
Value: 86%
Playability: 89%
Overall: 84%

Summary: I can't really say that the arcade game really appealed to me at all. The coin-op added nothing to the already flogged-to-death horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up genre. It's much the same story on the Speccy conversion. There's no doubt that the technical aspects of the game are extremely impressive - the scrolling 's incredibly good with a nice turn of speed. The graphics, although monochromatic are fine as well with well-defined backdrops and decent sprites. It's just a pity that the competent coding wasn't used on a more original concept. That's not to say that UN Squadron is a bad game - far from it. There's plenty to keep you at the Speccy with some pretty decent shoot 'em up thrills on offer, and a two player mode as well. If you're a fan of the arcade machine, or a shoot 'em up fiend in general, then check out UN Squadron. No doubt you'll enjoy it immensely.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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