Right. Let's get the obvious bit out of the way first - UN Squadron is a horizontal scrolling shoot 'em up. The background scrolls from right to left, or rather, you're travelling from left to right. The idea is to shoot things, and their idea is to shoot you, so you keep shooting until the other ship crashes. Now you know what makes a shoot 'em up (Thanks... I think - Reader), you'll want to know about UN Squadron.
The UN Squadron - also known as Area 8 - are a team of mercenaries. This means they're out to shoot all the enemy's headquarters and things.
The three main pilots that make up Area 8 include:
Nationality: Tokyo, Japan
Shin, apparently, is able to master normal weapons quicker than the rest. In other words, he can build up the standard weapon quicker than the rest. I haven't tested if he can yet, but I guess the manual's (gulp! Rumbled! Again!) correct.
Nationality: California, USA
A bit of a show-off is Mick. Still, it says here that he can carry many weapons
simultaneously. This doesn't appear to be the case, but maybe my observation's been a little weak today.
Nationality: Somewhere in Denmark
If you're actually playing the game for real, Greg is the best choice by far, simply because he's able to repair any damage quickly.
Each pilot has his own merits, then, but Greg is definitely the one to go far. You see, when you are hit by a bullet or whatever, instead of being protected by a shield for a couple of seconds, you are vulnerable. This can be frustrating at times, but Greg recovers the quickest, and is therefore the one to go for.
The levels (or rather - missions) the crew are up against include:
The Front Line Base:
Planes and tanks are the order of the day here. This level boasts four layers of parallax, but these look a bit messy and disjointed. There's even a big tank at the end of the level. Well... Tanks a lot! (Right. I'm off - Reader).
Enemy Air Force:
More aircraft. There's even a thunder and
lightning effect, but it sounds more like a sneeze than a powerful strike.
The big 'un at the end of the level shoots out bombs which then explode into tiny bullets - they're quite tricky to avoid on Hard.
The Aerial Combat Squadron Wolfpack:
A battle to the teeth in the clouds. The parallax isn't as impressive as you'd expect, because apart from a front row of clouds, the whole line of clouds scroll at the same speed. Sensational... N... (Resist it - Reader) The boss - or rather bosses - are three larger ships which shoot out bullets and bombs. Big imagination these programmers have.
Not only can you shoot the baddies on this level, but also the trees. Blah... blah... rain forest... drone... destruction... drone...
The end of level thingy (I'm tired of saying 'boss' or 'guardian') is quite impressive - with loads of turrets and big 'things' shooting out lasers. Rock 'ard indeed.
Minks The Battleship:
Taking place over the water, this level involves boats and more aircraft; and the boss has loads of turrets for you to shoot.
There isn't much more to say, so I'll shut up now.
The Yellow (blue, actually) Submarine:
The whole of this level involves a submarine popping up from time to time, rotating in Mode-7 (practically the only Mode-7 in the game). It shoots up mini-rockets and has the ability to blow you up, if you are in front of it, while planes - or rather 'pests' - come by trying to score a few hits at your crusader, or whatever. The sub. doesn't look particularly amazing, and the background looks bland in the extreme, so this mission isn't really one of the game's high points.
The Ground Carrier:
This level takes place in the desert. It's a playable level with decent graphics, and even contains a ground carrier (of course) at the end of the level - more turrets, more explosions, and more lost fuel ahoy!
This level is similar to the rest, but contains some large rocks with guns, which try to shoot you.
The second part of the level takes place in the air, with a massive bombing plane at the end, complete with lasers, missiles, and loads of other fabulous stuff.
This level features a really nice background bit at the beginning (which doesn't actually scroll in parallax, but does look nice). In the cave, there are all sorts of things you have to contend with, including a thing that hovers along the top of the cave at the end of the level. It takes a lot of beating, but use the Gun-pod and you should be okay.
The Final Mission:
The biggest and best mission, this level takes place out in the air for a couple of screens, but soon progresses underground. Here you'll be shooting cogs and loadsa baddies.
The final boss is a bit easy though - it has loads of things for you to shoot at, but with the powerful plane (and weapons) you would have built up by then, you should have no problems in dusting the guardian, and the end-sequence will be in sight.
Throughout the levels, you have a bog-standard weapon, and an additional weapon you bought from the shop supplied. Oh, and talking about the shop... It's well presented, with all the planes and weapons neatly displayed,
and there's even a bit of interaction with the shopkeeper (he does tend to repeat himself a bit, mind) - it's great.
There are a couple of things that I dislike about UN Squadron's weapon system, though.
The first gripe is that your standard weapon is incredibly weak. You can upgrade your weapon so it's a bit more powerful (and buying a decent plane helps), but even then, the main weapon is still too useless for my liking. (Look, here's a lesson for all you programmers out there: To add more challenge to a game, don't decrease the fire-power, chuck out more enemies instead) Now some of the additional weapons are great, but you have a limited supply. Now I don't mind the 'few bombs' you get with other shoot 'em ups, but here the main weapons revolve around a limited supply. Picky, I know, and you may argue it adds a little strategy to the game, but the last thing I want to do in a shoot 'em up is find out that I've no Napalms left, and then spend a couple more seconds changing the weapon to another 'none-left' weapon.
Ten times more annoying is the way you fire - after holding down the button for a few seconds, you then have to press it again, and then again for another few seconds. Now look Capcom, is this meant to be an auto-fire or not? Make up your mind, for goodness' sake. No problem if you've got an auto-fire on your joypad, but I haven't, and 1% gets docked from the score immediately because if it.
Negative mood aside, here're all the weapons displayed on this very page, just for you (Just for space, more like -Reader). Cough, cough. Ahem...
Emits a semi-protective circle, which lasts for about a second. Not much cop.
No, not Atari's machine, but a bog-standard drop-to-the-floor thing. Nothing spectacular.
Homing missiles. They're quite handy actually - more than you may think.
Powerful, but limited. Five shots are released from the front of your plane. Using them on the bosses is your best bet.
A powerful flame-ball shot. Not much more to add to that really, except - use them sparely. (Yeah! Great advice! - Reader).
Similar to the Bullpup, but with three shots instead of five. Unlike the Bullpup, the lasers can also go through any enemies you care to mention. Effective.
Very basic. They're small and just shoot down to the ground. The advantages are that bombs are competitively priced, and you get 50+ of 'em.
Like the Falcon, only good. When a napalm bomb hits the ground, it unleashes a stretch of flames, which are, themselves, quite destructive - see picture somewhere up there^ (© Nathan's dire arrows Inc..).
Shoots loads of bullets diagonally up/right. Very useful for anything above you.
Similar to the Gun-pod, but shoots directly up, and isn't as good.
A nice variation on the smart bomb.