Shadow Sqaudron


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


shadowsquadron_4.jpg (31673 bytes)Complain all you want about how the 32X never reached it's full potential. You're reading this to be proven wrong. Shadow Squadron is one of the few NTSC releases to be considered a truly great game, a perfectly playable 3-D shooter. It's the game Star Wars Arcade should have been.

The thing that raises this title about any other generic space shooter is that it offers so many different choices. The selection of two radically different ships will change the way you play completely. You can let the game pilot you through each stage, or you can do it yourself. You can change the color of the ships to your liking. Also, regardless of how bland it is, there's a two-player cooperative mode that lets one player be the gunner, the other the pilot.

All of that is wrapped around a truly special free-flight shooter. It's one of the few 32X games to actually do something the Genesis or Sega CD wasn't capable of. The giant ships are blow apart piece by piece for a satisfying explosion and a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. The untextured polygons may seem a little archaic now, but they're quite a departure from the simple color upgrades of other games.

It's all running at a great speed, and watching some of these ships come into your view requires the classic Star Wars line "That's no moon." There are some massive enemies to take down. The smaller fighters don't do very much, and seem to mindlessly wander around space until you happen to enter their line of sight. Even still, this game is not easy, and later stages will bombard you with things to dodge.

shadowsquadron_5.jpg (37432 bytes)That's not to say this game doesn't struggle with itself. Stages are always of the "blow everything up" variety and trying to track down that single enemy that's left is tedious. Things like this make you wish for escort missions. While the music is perfectly suited, the sound effects pack little punch. Even the explosions are weak, a disappointment considering how long it can take to bring down the largest members of the enemies fleet. This is also a game that practically requires the 6-button controller. Don't try it without one.

Even if you don't feel like picking one up, you can still see this game went through the entire development process. Of the few truly original games on the 32X (of which there are few), this stands out as the best. Shadow Squadron does everything right, it makes you wish there were more games like it, and it's a perfect excuse to drop a few dollars on the console to play it. It's a perfect example of a system selling game.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 04:57 PM