UN Squadron logo

Dieses Game sollte wohl U.S. Gold's erster Beitrag zum großen Weihnachtsgeschäft werden - das Ergebnis sieht allerdings mehr nach einem verfrühten Aprilscherz aus...

Die Länder im Mittleren Osten stehen wegen der andauernden Bürgerkriege kurz vor dem wirtschaftlichen Ruin. Ein paar korrupte Waffenhändler wollen die Gunst der Stunde nützen, um die Regierungen der Krisengebiete zu unterwandern.

Und schon ist es ein Fall für die U.N. Squadron, einer multi-nationalen Friedenstruppe, die aus ganzen drei Piloten besteht: dem Japaner Shin Kazama mit seiner F-20 Tigershark, Mickey Simon aus Amerika mit einer F-14 Tomcat und schließlich Greg Gates, seines Zeichens Däne und A-10 Pilot.

Angeblich haben die drei Flieger auch jeweils andere Eigenschaften, aber die Unterscheide sind eher optischer als technischer Natur. Jedenfalls dürfen sich die armen Kerle in einem Shop mit Extras eindecken, nur um sich dann in einem 08/15-Ballerspiel der langweiligsten Sorte wiederzufinden.

Die Grafik ist eigentlich ganz ansprechend, bloß das Ruckling (Scrolling kann man das wirklich kaum noch nennen) ist absolut schauderhaft, außerdem tummeln sich oft so viele Objekte am Screen, daß die eigene Maschine kaum noch zu finden ist (liegt natürlich an der teilweise recht unglücklichen Farbwahl).

Der Sound bietet Düdel-Musik und nette, aber eintönige Effekte. Die Steuerung ist nicht schlecht, nur ein bißchen zu langsam.

Insgesamt eine mäßige Umsetzung eines mäßigen Automaten, die nur wegen des Zwei-Spieler-Modus und einiger neuer Extrawaffen kein totaler Reinfall ist. (mm)

UN Squadron logo

US Gold, C64 £10.99 cassette, £15.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

No limits... No mercy... No surrender... No plot! Well, not much of one. The basic idea is that the Middle East is torn apart by civil war caused in part by mercenary arms dealers such as America, France, Britain and, oops, my mistake! It's really Project Four, a mysterious collection of terrorists who can somehow lay their hands on the world's most sophisticated weapons.

To bring peace and stability to the region, the United Nations has assembled a squadron consisting of just three pilots! Namely Mickey Simon (USA), Grog Gates (Denmark (?!)) and finally Shin Kazama (Japan). They each have their own aircraft with unique characteristics.

At the start of the game you choose your pilot (two for simultaneous two-player action) and take off. Next step Is the munitions store. However, the store manager isn't your typical military man, he wants money! You don't think... no, he couldn't be a Project Four arms dealer!?

The pilots start off with a UN grant of $3000 each, but for later levels money must be earned by destroying enemy hardware. Money can be spent at the store at the end of each level. Hardware on offer includes super weapons such as 16-way shot, downward firing guns (useful for ground attack), napalm, bombs, homing missiles and so on. In the game they can be upgraded by collecting glowing spheres dropped by certain destroyed enemy vehicles.

Super weapons are handy for taking on the superbaddies which lie at the level's end: the opening scene finishes with a gigantic missile launcher, level two Is purely air to-air with plenty of Russian bombers before the confrontation with a Stealth bomber, level three has a high tech castle while level four features an aircraft carrier on caterpillar tracks! There are ten levels in all.

Robin Hogg No, I've had enough of these mediocre conversions. UN Squadron is another example of nice graphics, naff gameplay. It looks good enough on the C64 with most of the coin-op's presentation (though the 'level complete' screen isn't there) and the graphic variety is commendable with neat jet animation. The small sprite scale makes for a large playing area but you'll be bored silly by the lack of game pace: you just aren't pushed and I quickly got tired of it. Amiga Squadron is a different kettle of fish on the difficulty front but ultimately achieves the same result. Everything is thrown at you constantly, no time to relax, sheer numbers wearing you down and all making it a very unfair fight. Two players is highly recommended; without, you've had it. Good coin-op-identical presentation and quality in-game graphics can't help very dated playability.
Stuart Wynne The Amiga game looks terrific with some great sprites and backgrounds. There's plenty of super weapons and imaginative superbaddies but the gameplay is poor. There's so much junk flying around that the game becomes almost unplayable. Every so often you make a breakthrough, get a little further and think it's not so bad. Then another piece of lethal shrapnel materialises out of nowhere and you never want to play it again. More frustrating than enjoyable, I'm afraid.
The C64 game looks - as well, with some active backgrounds and sprites which are all very easy to distinguish, no confusion here! Unfortunately the main part of the game is almost too easy - and somewhat dull. In particular, the floating mines are so slow it's a joke getting past them. By contrast, end-level monsters are very tough, simply because they churn out so many bullets and require so many hits to be destroyed. Overall, it's not a bad conversion, just a dull one when there's so many better shoot'em -ups around.