Your Sinclair

U.N. Squadron
By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Your Sinclair #60

U.N. Squadron

UN Squadron is a two-player sideways scrolling coin-op conversion multilevel shoot-'em-up crammed full of planes, helicopters and tanks, and based on the exploits of the UN Air Force during a war in the Middle East. Oh, and it's pretty good too. Cripes - that was a bit of a short review, wasn't it? (Can I go home now?)

Oh. All right. So here I am, playing by myself (which is what you have to do in a two-player game if you haven't got any fly-boy chums). I've chosen which of the three planes I want to pilot, either one of two fighters (an F-14 and, um, another one) or a tankbuster - each with a different nationality of pilot and different capabilities (speed, shields etc). And I m scrolling along, shooting things. And more things. And biimey - aren't there a lot of baddies?

Level One features helichoppers and tanks (piles of them too). Power-ups can also be collected to make your plane go faster and replenish shields during the game. And look at that huge end-of-level tank, it's massive, and firing things at me, and, oh dear, I'm dead.

U. N. Squadron

(Incidentally. this isn't one of those pixel-perfect 'shoot absolutely everything or else you'll die' games - it's more one of those mass-attack 'shoot what you can but don't worry it you crash into a few because it'll just drain a little bit of your energy instead' ones.)

At the end of each level you get a load of cash so why not invest in some goodies for your plane in the shop bit (which is nicely presented - pretty graphics, information about the weapons etc). Y'know the sort of things - missile launchers, shields, bullet sprays, stuff like that.

Onto Level Two now, everything's gone blue and there are piles of different planes heading towards me. Right at the end this whopping great bomber descends from the top of the screen (filling practically the entire playing area) and you blow it up. Not easy, I can tell you.

Another visit to the shop, and it's onto Level Three - a flight through a green forest bombing trees, guns and basically everything in sight. I won't bother with a lengthy description of the other seven levels - I'll just leave them as a 'surprise'.

So that's the game in general, but what's it really like - what does Yours Truly honestly think of it? Hmm. Nice graphics (though a lot of the time the monochrome sprites get incredibly lost in the background detail). Nice presented too. with some very groovy Marine Boy-style intro screens). Easy, to get into, fun to play, and really addictive - for a while at least.

The main grumble is that although the levels are varied (graphics-wise), the gameplay remains exactly (exactly) the same throughout - just sellotape down the Fire button and move up and down the screen. It can, er, get a bit boring.

So to sum up - occasionally great graphics, well presented, quite playable but the whole thing is just too damn samey. And there you go. Bye.

Nice graphics, and a good blast - but a bit too samey really.

Rich Pelley

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