This week on Nostalgia Trip, U.N. Squadron. You are a member of the elite mercenary group known as Area 88. Your mission, to take down the terrorist group known as Project 4. It’s up to their 3 best pilots to take down Project 4’s military might.
U.N. Squadron, also known as Area 88, was first released as an arcade game by Capcom in 1989. The game is based off the Area 88 manga written by Kaoru Shintani between 1979-1986. It followed in the footsteps of other Capcom arcade shooters like 1942 and 1943. U.N. Squadron was different as it was a side-scrolling shooter instead of the vertical-scrolling shooters. The game was an arcade hit, and was later redesigned for home computers, and finally the SNES in 1991.
The game is your basic arcade shooter. You have a certain amount of lives, and will allow you to continue after losing all those lives. When you begin the game, you can choose as one of three pilots. Shin Kazama is the rookie pilot, but learns weapons quickly. His primary shot upgrades the fastest out of the 3. Mickey Simon is the hotshot pilot, and the weapon specialist. He uses special weapons more effectively and can carry more. Greg Gates is the veteran pilot and has seen a lot of action. As a more experienced pilot, he can take more damage and recovers faster from damage.
Once you have selected your pilot for the game, you are taken to the combat select screen. You get to view a map with various symbols depicting military force movements in the country. You are given quick overviews regarding the highlighted symbol. Once you select the mission, you are taken to the shop where you pick out your jet and weapons. You start off with one jet unlocked and $3000 to use for special weapons. The weapons are bought at the beginning of every mission and do not carry over from previous mission.
Each mission follows the same formula of travel from left to right, destroy enemies, survive and then fight the boss of the level. The bosses are for the most part interesting if not sometimes annoying. The game is quite difficult if your not adept at dodging a lot of projectiles while avoiding obstacles on some occasions. The difficulty makes sense as it was originally developed to eat up quarters at the arcade.
Why does U.N. Squadron bring up that sense of nostalgia? I first played the game at a friend’s house and the game was interesting and extremely fun. Every time I went over to the his place I insisted on playing U.N. Squadron. The music is probably what brings on the nostalgia the most. The game had an amazing soundtrack.
Does the game hold up? It’s a side-scrolling shooter, they never grow old. They are what they are, and U.N. Squadron is one of the best for the SNES along with Super R-Type. The game is still giving me issues when it comes to beating the game. Not having the time to play doesn’t help, but the challenge is there. The jet upgrade system can be annoying especially when the primary shot upgrade doesn’t transfer with it. Some of the special weapons also have some very niche uses. The fact that only certain jets can use certain special weapons doesn’t help you either. The arcade style limits you to either finish it in one go, or use save states. I would rather do it in one go as it’s always more exciting that way.
Now if you excuse me, I think I need to read through the source material now!
Next week on Nostalgia Trip: I’ve got something in my pocket for you!