Tag: Capcom

Retro Monday – U.N. Squadron

Hi everyone. I’m here to let you know what I thought of U.N. Squadron after a week or so’s break.

It was made by Capcom and was originally an arcade game that came out in 1989. It was later released on consoles, and the version I’m playing was released on the SNES in 1991 (and 1992 in Europe).

We’ll start off with the basics. It’s a side-on side scrolling shooter – think R-Type or Gradius – but with a more modern skin than the futuristic space battle of those aforementioned games. You can pick between three characters, of which I have no clue as to what they do other than changing the portrait on your HUD.

You take down enemy helicopters, planes, tanks, gun emplacements and all that jazz. It doesn’t really do anything special and I don’t think it stands out from the crowd when it comes to its genre. One thing that is different to the usual is a levelling system, as you pick up power-ups that give you experience to level instead of getting power-ups that give you different weapons. You also don’t have one-hit deaths, instead you have a health bar and you don’t lose your level when you die. You also have a map screen to pick where you go next, kind of like Bionic Commando, but you have vehicles that move towards your base slowing progress, more so when they get there as you have to beat the vehicle’s stage to carry on with normal progression.

Visually the game is a mixed bag. The sprites are rather nice, but the backgrounds just seem a little bland. It’s probably as there’s going to be points where the game gets really busy, but I would say overall it’s pretty nice to look at. Musically it’s pretty good too. The music is really catchy and the first level has a sort of sinister undertone to it. I think the nice beefy sound effects elevate the action.

Verdict: Recommended

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Retro Monday: The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse

Released by Capcom in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and re-released on the Game Boy Advance in 2002, The Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse was one of many Disney games released throughout the early 1990s along with classics like Aladdin and The Lion King.

The Magical Quest is a typical platformer; the player takes on the role of Mickey Mouse trying to save Pluto from King Pete. Mickey has a number of unlockable costumes, each with its own unique abilities. For example the turban outfit gives Mickey the power to shoot magical projectiles at enemies. Without one of these costumes Mickey is able to grab enemies and items and throw them as projectiles, a system which makes them more than a straight upgrade.

The game has a clean visual style and the soundtrack is full of some lovely happy chiptunes, however despite all of this the game wasn’t that fun to play. I may have been having an off day but I was pretty bored throughout. The platforming is fine, and the costumes are interesting however it just didn’t click; a sentiment shared by one of the stream viewers at the time. Its a shame as watching a speed run of it made it look more fun than it was.

Verdict: Neutral

Retro Monday: Mega Man II

Released in 1988, Mega Man 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System is widely regarded as the best in the series as well as one of the best games ever made in general. In it, Mega Man returns to save the world by defeating the evil Dr Wily and his 8 Robot Masters by battling through tough-but-fair 2D action-platforming levels.

The core gameplay loop of blasting and jumping your way through each themed stage is a lot of fun, even though they present a solid challenge. Despite the difficulty it doesn’t feel too unfair, dying is generally down to player error however respawning enemies can make it feel more like luck and can ruin precision movement and jumping. As with previous and successive Mega Man games, defeating each Robot Master unlocks their particular weapon for use in other levels. These range from conventional weapons like metal saw blades to bubbles, yes bubbles, which are more effective against certain bosses, however weapons like the Metal Blade are a bit overpowered. Despite the breadth of these weapons they are all effective and don’t feel like they’re included for padding out game time or content.

Each level has a clear and crisp visual style and is themed around its respective Robot Master, giving the game a rich and varied visual palette without having to have a convoluted plot to justify the changes in scenery. For example the Wood Man stage is in a forest and the Heat Man stage is in a furnace/industrial factory. This variety is reflected in the soundtrack too, continuing the series’ reputation for catchy and memorable chiptunes. There is some sprite flicker, however Mega Man 2 doesn’t have the awful framerate drops present in Mega Man 3.

I have a long personal history with Mega Man 2; I played it a lot when I was young and played it through to completion about a year ago and keep an eye on speed run events to see it being done as quickly as possible. It really is action platforming at its best, a template which has seen a resurgence in recent years through games like Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight, retro de-makes/direct sequels like Mega Man 9 and 10 as well as spiritual successors like Might No.9 with varying levels of quality and appeal.