Battle Squadron (Second Review)

Title           Battle Squadron (Second Review)
Game Type       Shoot-em-up
Players         1 - 2 (simultaneous)
Copatibility    OCS, ECS and AGA (no enhancements for better chipsets.)
HD Installable  Yes (WHDLoad install)
Submission      Nathan Wain Profiled Reviewer

This game is your classic style vertically scrolling shooter. (Like
Xevious, Slapfight, Vulgus, etc.) It's one from the A500 era of games,
and had gorgeous graphics flying all over the screen. It has dated very
little as a result.

A joystick. (Surprise, surprise.)  Well, mouse control is also possible,
but joystick is certainly recommended.

The usual disk-based copy-protection. The WHDLoad installer does make it
possible to make a more permanent backup of the game also.

A500, 0.5Meg Chip, 0.5Meg Fast, Kickstart 1.2, external Floppy drive,
Thompson RGB monitor.

A1200, 2Meg Chip, 32Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 340 Meg Seagate 2.5" HDD,
GVP Cobra accellerator-board (68030 and 68882 at 50MHz, without SCSI),
additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 MultiSync monitor.

A4000, 2Meg Chip, 112Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD,
Apollo 4040 daughter board (68040 at 40MHz, with SCSI and 96Meg of local
RAM), PicassoIV Graphics Card, VLab video-digitiser, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, 2
internal floppy-drives, D-Link 56k Modem, Philips 15" LCD monitor.

Battle Squadron worked identically on the first two machines. Only the
WHDLoad version has ever been tried on the A4000. The game behaved the
same on all setups.

Wow, this is one impressive looking, and sounding game. From when it
first starts the catchy music and the impressive waves of sprites on
screen will have you wanting to play. The game is easy enough to pick up
on .. if it moves, kill it. I like this kind of no-nonsence plot.
(Actually, there is a background story, but it's the usual "rescue your
captured comrades from the evil aliens" blurb, so I won't dwell on it.)

When the game starts you begin to fly above the first section of terrain:
a desolate rocky landscape, with the occasional metallic bunker just
waiting to be destroyed by laser-fire. Then waves of craft start to
appear, and fly down to meet you. The actual patterns of enemies seems
very much like a 1942 or BansheeAGA style of game.

Some of the enemy squadrons will, if wiped out, leave behind a smart bomb
icon. Each player starts with three of these, and can use them at any
time. Extra smarts are well worth the effort to obtain.

The fire-power of your craft is nothing spectacular, but occasional
powerup ships will appear. Shooting those will reveal a powerup of
arbitrary colour. Collecting it will boost your firepower if its colour
matches your shots, or will change to a different shot-type if any other
colour. The colour of the power-up will change as it floats down the

Once a ship is fully powered up the screen is positively filled with
destruction. With some shot-types this firepower is well concentrated in
front of the ship, other types will direct some of it behind, or give a
more dispersed shot-pattern.

It quickly becomes aparant that there is a choice of routes that can be
taken to complete the game. The main path is flown over the planet
surface, and there are occasional entry points into subterranean levels.
These can be entered at any time, but some are particularly tough if you
haven't built up a reasonable level of firepower before entering.

Each of the subterranean levels has its own look and assortment of enemies
.. and these levels are concluded with a particularly powerful enemy,
which will take many shots to kill and allow progression to the planet
surface again.

This game is one anyone can just sit down and play straight away. It's your
traditional shoot-em-up, with a few nice touches to give its own unique
feel to this well worn genre. The function of everything is well
indicated, and very little written instruction is required to get anyone
settled in.

Its non-linear level design gives a nice element of flexibility to
progression in the game, as does the free choice of firepower. And there
is a good variety to the enemies in each level, giving a nice explorative
feel to it. (The toughness of some makes it quickly apparent if you've
ventured into an area too soon.)

One of the really interesting enemies in the game is one equipped with an
invisibility cloak. Nasty but beautiful things to fight. (It's an
impressive visual effect.)  They are visible enough to see, but can easily
be missed in the heat of battle.

Wow. Simply, wow. It's just amazing what these programmers have managed
to get the Amiga to do in the space of a single disk and the limitations
of that hardware. And the real treat is that it's a beautiful, and
immensely fun thing to play. It has a nice (if a little clichi)
storyline, a 100% action path to completion, and a satisfying end story if
one is ever lucky enough to get there.

The simultaneous two-player option allows you to get a friend immmersed in
the fun of it all too. Well worth it, as this game plays very well with a
second player to assist in those tricky moments. This game is one of those
classics that just has everything to recommend it.

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