Carrier Air Wing


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 7.5

Gameplay: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Though only related to Capcom's other shooting classic UN Squadron in spirit, you'll find enough to link the two together and enjoy this one equally. You'll see repeated sprites, powerups, and even hear some of the same music, but there's no question that this game stands out on it's own terms.

You'll immediately choose from 3 different planes, each with it's own specific advantages and powerups. Special weapons can be purchased before each level, though the selection is generally limited. Your standard weapons will be powered up during the levels by picking up the usual assortment of glowing canister-things. You're also allowed to take about 5 hits before going down in flames, a rare occurrence for an arcade shooter.

The stages flow together well and range from city warfare (even through buildings!) to barren deserts. Everything moves much faster than in it's predecessor, but the overall package seems easier than before. The amount of bullets on-screen is never really overwhelming until the final act which is surprising since these are the type of games that should literally eat you alive. The lack of auto-fire is disturbing, but you can get about 2 seconds of continuous fire before having to press the fire button again. A nice compromise, but auto-fire should be a standard that all shooters should follow.

The sounds are typical of the genre, but the soundtrack is a notch above the rest. There are a few tracks directly lifted from UN Squadron, but there's plenty of new material to keep things fresh. Everything looks great with no slowdown anywhere in the game. Most of the enemies, even a few bosses, have been taken right out of UNS. There's really not enough new here to give it a better score, sadly enough. About the only thing not new are the backgrounds and cinematics.

Yes, the game still plays great, the music is superb, and it's long enough to keep you going for well over an hour. It's just too much of the same and the re-use of sprites is nearly unforgivable. Regardless, this is still a shooter that any fan of the genre should play through just once as there's some great sights to be had. Repeat plays will depend on the players discretion.


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Last updated: Sunday, January 30, 2005 05:43 PM