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Old 01-25-2011, 08:44 PM
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MCBanjoMike MCBanjoMike is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Montreal
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Default Everybody loves desert graves: Let's Play UN Squadron!

Tell me, friends: do you have what it takes? Do you have nerves of steel, lightning-fast reflexes and unshaking hands? Do you have the guts to stare death in the face while hitting on his girlfriend and making fun of his mother? Do you have perfectly feathered anime hair? If so, maybe you've got what it takes to join the toughest group of air mercenaries in the world. Maybe you are fit to become a member of the

UN Squadron is a horizontal shooter for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System*, and it is one of my favorite games of all time. I don't claim that it's the best shooter ever made, but it's fun, colorful and it has a fantastic soundtrack of hair-metal-turned-chiptunes. It's also distinct from 99% of all shooters in that it isn't crushingly difficult, making it one of the only games in the genre that I can finish before running out of continues.

Sadly, UN Squadron is based on a Japanese manga series called Area 88, and that means that bringing it to Virtual Console in North America would require some fancy legal footwork which, let's not kid ourselves, is never going to happen. Since you can't buy the game legitimately, your only choices are to look for a used copy, or else emulate the game. Unless! If someone were to do a Let's Play of UN Squadron, then you could experience the game for yourselves without braving the pits of eBay or sullying your conscience with emulation of dubious legality.

Thankfully for everyone here, I love UN Squadron so much that I am going to Let's Play the gosh-darn heck out of it right here on Talking Time. But before that can happen, there are two questions that I need answers to.

Question 1: Who's Driving This Thing?

First of all: which of these three dashing fellows do you want to see in the cockpit? UN Squadron's three pilots each have different abilities, so this choice isn't simply cosmetic.

1. Shin Kazama (Japan)
According to the instruction manual: "Shin increases his firepower the most quickly"

Shin is the protagonist of the Area 88 manga, and he's also the poster boy for UN Squadron. He's also for chumps, because his special ability is dumb. Shin powers up the main vulcan cannon on his plane faster than the other two characters, granting him better forward firepower sooner. That might sound nice, but the maximum firepower of the vulcan cannon is capped at the same level regardless of who you pick, which means that Shin's advantage only helps him in the earlier levels of the game. By the time you get to the really hard sections at the end, the other two pilots will have caught up to him in terms of power level, but they'll also have their personal bonuses to make things easier. Of the three pilots in UN Squadron, Shin is the only one that I never play as (although I totally will use him if that's what you folks vote for).

2. Mickey Scymon (USA! USA!)
According to the instruction manual: "Mick can shoot two special weapons at the same time"

Mickey Scymon is your typical hotshot American pilot, at least based on the 50x50 pixel image that the game uses for his headshot. It is said that he fought in Vietnam, but found it difficult to return to civilian life afterward...not that you would know any of that from playing the game, mind you. Anyway, Mickey's ability is something of a mystery, since the explanation in the manual isn't very clear and he most certainly does not fire two special weapons at a time. It's possible that Mickey can shoot his special weapons faster than the other pilots (two on the screen at time?), or maybe he just gets more of his weapons refilled when he picks up ammo during the levels. My old theory was that he had a higher ammo capacity for special weapons, but that theory doesn't seem to be supported by, well, anything at all. If you choose Mickey as our pilot, I will try to scientifically determine just what the hell his special ability is. Also, I'll spend the next two months with the song "Hey Mickey" stuck in my head - but that's just the kind of sacrifice I'm willing to make for you people.

3. Greg Gates (Denmark)
According to the instruction manual: "Greg recovers from being damaged twice as fast as the others"

Jovial Dane Greg Gates is a bit character from the Area 88 manga, but he managed to make the cut as one of the pilots in UN Squadron thanks to his gregarious nature. Greg's ability is certainly quite useful, since it can get you out of some bad situations that the other two pilots wouldn't escape from. I'll explain the damage system once I start playing the game, but suffice to say that recovering twice as quickly from being hit is a major boon to the player. For some reason, I still pick Mickey over Greg most of the time when I play this game, despite the obvious charms of our Danish friend. Who, incidentally, looks to have consumed a number of danishes himself over the years.

I'll tally up the votes over the next few days to see which pilot gets the nod, so get to voting! In the meantime, here's

Question 2: But Does it Move?

The question is straightforward: would you prefer to see a screenshot LP of UN Squadron, or a series of narrated videos? I'm partial to screenshot Let's Plays, but an action game like UN Squadron would lend itself pretty well to the video format. Doing a video LP would take me longer to set up, but would probably lead to fast updates overall. I don't really have a preference, so I'll leave this one entirely in your hands, Talking Time.

And with that, let the voting commence! This is only the beginning No wait, it's too soon for that. Uh, see you all soon, I guess?

*Also, arcades.
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