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.
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.