Battle Squadron

Rating: B-

This used to be one of my favorite games on the Amiga. The cool thing about the Genesis version is the non-existent floppy load times. The weak part is the crappy music (the Amiga version sounded so much better!). Still, the graphics are nice and colorful and as a top-down shooter Battle Squadron is a pretty competent game. It plays like any other game in the genre: shoot the aliens, collect weapon power-ups, use your smart bombs when needed. There are five different types of weapons that you can acquire by destroying a certain type of ship that releases a power-up cube you must then catch. These power-ups provide you with options such as a wide forward-shooting arc shot, or a narrow beam that fires both forwards and backwards at the same time. The cubes cycle through different colors, the weapon you acquire depending upon what color the cube is when you touch it. Grab a cube that's of the same color code as the weapon type you already possess, and your firepower increases. Smart bombs (which inflict massive damage to every enemy ship on-screen) are gained the same way.

There is one long surface level in Battle Squadron and a number of subterranean ones. The surface level wraps around, and every so often you will come across a hole that you can enter to reach one of the underground levels. At the end of each underground level you must face a big alien boss. Destroy them all, and you will have defeated the evil Barrax Empire and won the game.

As a shooter, Battle Squadron is pretty damn tough, though unlike most of its kind you are able to fine-tune game difficulty options such as setting the maximum number of enemy shots that can be on the screen at one time. Also, despite its difficulty, the game is quite short, possibly one of the shortest shooters I've ever played. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on personal taste. Personally, I think Battle Squadron is a nice, junior-sized shooter that's the kind of game you can pick up and play without having to beat 20 nerve-wracking levels just to see the end.

A fun game with good graphics and the added appeal of featuring simultaneous 2-player gameplay, Battle Squadron is an all-around respectable shooter that fans of the genre should enjoy.

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