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Battle Squadron

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Reviewed by Inkhands I've never been terribly good at the genre of games known as the shooters. I just absolutely can not find my way through those games and I suppose they simply require more skill than I have. Maybe I don't think fast enough or maybe my reflexes aren't fast enough. Or maybe I just pick the hardest ones to play. Keep in mind that I have played through some shooters in my life, so they are not all impossible to beat for me. For me Battle Squadron isn't as difficult as some other shooters were for me, but this wasn't an easy game. Maybe more experienced players can get through this game, but for me all the enemies just absolutely pummeled me and my little weak ship. This game is set in the future and it gives you the story in an opening sequence. It gives you the stardate that this is happening on. Apparently Earth has been in conflict with a group known as the Barrax Empire, which want to rule the entire universe. A couple of Commanders were on their way back from a successful mission on another planet when they were kidnapped by a large Barrax airship and taken to a planet named Terainia. Your mission in this game is to make it to planet Terrainia and rescue the Commanders. Along the way you pick up some powerups that will allow your ship to shoot out of the back and front of the ship. There are other powerups that do other things to upgrade your weapon. Such as three or four fireballs that will engulf a good portion of the screen in streams of flames. None of these weapons are of much use, but there is one in particular that is a necessity. It's called a nova smart bomb and you get three of them per life. One of these will easily take out all the enemy ships on the screen and their missiles. It's a good idea to use these instead of saving them, because one hit to your ship will end that turn and then you lose whatever smart bombs you had on that turn, and instead start back at three. There is also no way to require extra smart bombs along the way. When you lose either a ship or a credit you do start back in the same position you were in, so you never have to start the stage over. The first stage has a couple of places you can enter the planet at which is shown to you by the words "Enter Here" in big white letters. If you miss the first one you can always enter on the second one. This changes the second stage a little and entering the second way was easier than the first for me. This game is for one or two players and you can change a few options. Such as you can set the difficulty at either easy, normal, or hard. You can select how many credits you will receive between either 1, 2, or 3 and how many lives you are granted per credit between either 1, 3, or 5. You can also select the maximum amount of enemy bullets on the screen at any time between either 8, 12, or 16 bullets and the maximum speed of these bullets between either 75, 100, 150, 250, and 400. A couple of things thrown in to make things more difficult is the fact that occasionally there will be an enemy ship that will be invisible for the most part, and only flash occasionally. When it's invisible you can see the outer linings of the ship, so if you have a sharp eye or just get lucky you can see it's location. It's difficult to avoid these and all the bullets that are coming out at the same time. Another factor that adds to the challenge of this game is that on some levels the view of your ship is obstructed by objects that are hanging over the action. For example if you are flying in the center of the screen on a level, there is a good chance you won't see it for the large red plant that is also in the center of the screen, but higher up that you are. You can't fly over this, so you have to fly on the sides, which of course is where most of the enemies are located. If you try to fly in the center then there's a good chance your ship will be blown up by a bullet you didn't even see. So the fact that sometimes you can't see enemy ships or even your own ship makes this a very difficult game. I should also bring up that this is a vertical shooter, which of course means you fly from the bottom of the screen to the top, instead of left to right. I'm sure most people reading this already knows what a vertical shooter is. The graphics in this game are mostly done in pale colors, such as brown and gray, so there really isn't anything very colorful about the game. Neither your ship nor the enemy ships are well detailed. Most of the bullets that fill the screen look very much alike. There isn't a lot of explosions in the game, except when you do use a smart bomb and it blows up everything on the screen. Even then nothing spectacular is shown. The graphics are not bad in this game, just not really outstanding either. There is one song that plays through the game. It starts at the beginning of the game over the title screen and doesn't stop during the action later in the game. It's a tense, pounding song, and it sounds very serious and deadly. If the music is there to add to the tension of the game, then I think for the most part it succeeded. The effects are just of explosions and bullets and nothing really to note about the effects other than that. The sound is okay in this game. The control is alright as well. It's easy to move your ship around. One button fires the normal shots and the other takes care of the smart bombs. The ship doesn't move fast, but it moves fast enough to allow the bullets coming at you to be avoidable for the most part. I already discussed the challenge of the game. If you do happen to make it through this game, I seriously doubt you'll find the replay value to be very high. There are many many enemies to shoot and many bullets to avoid. This isn't an easy game and the replay value isn't very high. The fun factor isn't all that high either. It's just a little too hard to get anywhere and a little too frustrating to be hit by a ship you couldn't even see to be much fun. Overall, this is just a little too challenging for me. Others might find this game easier than I did and therefore they may enjoy it more. For me though I think I'll stay away from this one for a while. It requires more patience than I have to give. If it didn't try my patience so much then I'd probably enjoy it more. Graphics - 6/10 Sound - 6/10 Gameplay - 7/10 Control - 7/10 Challenge - 8/10 Fun Factor - 7/10 Replay Value - 5/10 Overall - 7/10

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