Shin Force | Sega Genesis 32X Review

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Shin Force ~ 32X ~
Shadow Squadron
Sega Force Vault
? Megabit
Import / Domestic
1995 (USA)
1st Person
Space / Shooter
6 Button
     > Ever since I first played Microsoft Flight Simulator for IBM PC Jr. in the early 80's, I've been a fan of polygon games -- even the flat shaded variety.  F-22 Interceptor and F-15 Strike Eagle II were among my favorite Genesis games for this reason as well.  However, not until the arrival of the 32X was there a console that could really do justice to such a power sapping (for the time) game engine.  Enter games like Star Wars Arcade, Virtua Racing Deluxe, and Shadow Squadron.

     > Shadow Squadron is similar to Wing Commander (Sega CD) in that you go through waves of missions with certain objectives, all in an outer space scenario.  It's much more arcade feeling than Wing Commander, though.  There's also a certain connection to Star Wars with all the huge battlecruisers you have to destroy.  Anyway, you are stationed at Outpost 51, and something has knocked out the early warning network at the source.  Coded transmissions are being monitored from sector 7.  Energy blooms from an unknown number of large enemy ships near the outer boundary are being registered.  Outpost 51 (and you) are the only thing between the enemy and 17 major planetary systems.  You've trained for 6 years to be in the Shadow Squadron.  The Fleet Academy has a tradition of excellence that is unsurpassed, and it's your job to maintain that tradition from start to finish.  Good luck Captain...

     > If you don't like flat shaded 3D polygon games, then Shadow Squadron will certainly not be converting anyone.  If the realism afforded by this type of game engine is appealing, then you'll surely appreciate what's been accomplished here.  The game animates silky smooth and the perspective gained from a 3D, real-time polygon engine is very impressive.  Of course by today's standards, this game looks terrible.  By 1995 standards, Shadow Squadron's visuals are state-of-the-art console greatness! You'll see Capital Ships, Fighters, planets, asteroids, jump gates, laser beams, photon torpedoes, lock-on indicators and explosions galore.  Your cockpit is simple yet quite functional, with a radar, shields and power gauges, and a speed indicator.  Lastly, warping from sector to sector is presented nicely.
     > Shadow Squadron's gameplay is what Star Wars Arcade should have had.  Now, you're definitely going to want a 6-button controller for this game, because it makes things so much easier to control.  You can select either Feather 1 (light fighter spacecraft) or Feather 2 (heavy fighter) to fly during missions.  You have full roll control, throttle settings, laser fire/ultra shot, and Spectral shield (Feather 1 only).  Each mission has main targets and bonus targets.  Keep an eye on your energy meter though, since firing weapons and using shields takes its toll on your reserves.  In 2-player mode, one player is the pilot while the other is the gunner (very cool).  Considering you only have 6 buttons to fly with, Shadow Squadron has quite a bit you can control.
     > The music didn't impress me much in Shadow Squadron.  It didn't annoy me either, so I'll give it an average rating.  The sound effects are pretty good, but nothing can beat the sound of a Tie Fighter screeching by at high speeds.
     > I just love sending a huge Capital Ship into a fiery explosion of death!  You can do that in one of two ships: Feather 1 and Feather 2.  The latter ship has an option for auto-pilot or manual pilot too.  Fight your way through 6 fairly challenging levels.  Shadow Squadron doesn't have the backdrop of a Lucasfilm product, but had it been slapped on this game, it would have been appropriate.  Can you save the universe from certain destruction?
Bottom Line
     > If you want to play a game that's similar to Star Wars Arcade and not nearly as difficult, then Shadow Squadron will most likely satisfy your sci-fi spaceflight needs.  It's not as impressive as Star Wars Arcade in the graphics and sound departments, but it's surely more playable and fun!
Overall: 7.9 | Graphics: 9.0 | Control: 7.5 | Sound: 7.0 | Fun: 8.0
~ Shinobi ~

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