08 May 2010

Shadow Squadron - Sega 32X

I'm sure to bet on a loser every time. It never fails. Sporting events. Dog track racing. Feats of strength or endurance. You name it, I'll be sure to bet on the one coming in dead last. The same goes for game consoles. No matter how the odds may be stacked against a system, I'm always pulling for it to win.
I clung to my N64 while everyone else was enjoying the Playstation 1.
I then picked the original Xbox over the Playstation 2.
Part of my gaming collection includes such famous disasters as the Atari 5200, Atari 7800 and the Atari Jaguar (I love you, Atari. Why did you stop loving me back?).
Back in the day I rolled the dice on the Sega 32X expansion for the Genesis. Widely considered to be a waste of time and the beginning of the end for a company that would struggle with the Saturn and Dreamcast, the 32X was clunky, difficult to install and boasted only a handful of decent games.
One of them was Shadow Squadron, one of the most undervalued games of all time. Even though I came across it two years after its 1994 release, I was still impressed with its spartan but sharp visuals, huge space battlefields and Star Wars-esque explosions.
Consider some of the features:
1. Some of the enemy ships are large enough that you can fly into them.
2. When you land a particularly good shot some of the ships will change course and explode instantly.
3. You can choose between two ships, one of which offers a rail-shooting experience; the other allows you to fly and shoot at once.
4. An instant replay feature allows you to watch your entire mission from different angles once the mission is completed.
5. The vector-like graphics still look sharp today.
I really can't say enough good things about this game. It's one of the games I played for hours a day while I was recovering from a botched appendectomy. It's worth the price of a 32X and a Sega Genesis just to see how a good that system could have been if more developers unlocked its power.
By Victor Paul Alvarez