Tag: Snes

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 – Michael Jordon: Chaos in the Windy City

Michael Jordon: Chaos in the Windy City, was a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game that came out in 1994 and was made by Electronic Arts and as usual in the EU it came out in 1995 and was published by Ocean.

Yet again it’s a Retro Monday where the game in question I haven’t played, honestly, I haven’t even heard of it until it was put in the thread for people to vote on. MJ: CitWC is an action-platformer where you take the role of the titular basketball star and Make your way through varying levels trying to rescue your teammates who have been abducted by the Evil Dr. Max Cranium, to what ends I don’t know. I only got to the 3rd part of the Dungeon levels, so didn’t get very far,  but I did get the gist of the game from my brief time with it.

You run and jump through stages, with a basketball taking out the enemies, which are zombies, spiders and other things. Did I mention that the Zombies heads have been replaced with basketballs? It’s a cool twist with the zombies taking their ball heads off and throwing them at you. There are other cool touches like baskets being throughout the levels that you can slam dunk your ball into that will do various things like, clear the enemies, give you coins, or power-ups. Talking power-up’s, they seem to be different types of balls, you can get ones that home in on enemies, or split into 3 balls, or even a bowling ball which seems to kill enemies in 1 hit. The game is actually pretty decent, it’s not a bad game at all, but where I was enjoying it at first, by the time my hour was up, I had grown bored of the game. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but something didn’t quite mesh right. It has the makings of a good platformer, but the levels I played were a little bland in their design.

The levels and sprites all look OK, they’re neither good nor bad, and Michaels animation seems fine to me. The problem is I didn’t get to get out of the one area, so I don’t know how much variety there is in the visuals being as I saw only the dank looking dungeon area. Musically, the game is ok, it does its job, but is ultimately forgettable and a little tiresome after some time. I thnk it’d be worth looking into the game, and maybe with more varied later stages, my interest would come back.

Verdict: Neutral.

Retro Monday – Cybernator

Cybernator is a 2D platformer/shooter released on the SNES in 1992 and was known in Japan as Assault Suits Valken. The game has some great visual effects and detailed sprites both in the foreground and background which have a cool retro futuristic look which was popular at the time in other games and anime and the soundtrack has some cool and catchy synth rock sounding tunes.

Unfortunately for me actually playing it isn’t a great experience. It isn’t objectively broken but I feel that using the D-Pad to move back and forth as well as aim the gun at targets coming from all directions is a bit of a pain. I understand why it’s like it due to the SNES controller layout but it’s just awkward, especially from the second stage onwards when you control all those things as well as vertical movement.

While I personally couldn’t get on with the controls I would say you should try it yourself, even if just to experience it’s interesting concepts and movement/combat mechanics. This game would be greatly improved with a modern control scheme; if you had a dual analogue stick set up where one controls movement and the other controls shooting it would be much more engaging.

Verdict: Neutral.

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