Hi, and welcome to a new game review here on the Gaming on AmigaOS 4 blog. 🙂
This time I’ll have a look at a game I have written about earlier, namely Battle Squadron from Cope-Com. The review I wrote back in April 2015, was based on the demo version, since I had not purchased the full one yet, while this one will focus on the full version. The game was made by Cope-Com and created for AmigaOS 4 by GoldenCode, Daytona675x.
Now, if you ask someone about which shoot’em up games they played on their Amiga 500 back in the days, I’m sure many will include Battle Squadron in their answer. It was a popular game and got awarded with generally favourable reviews in magazines. How does it play on AmigaOS 4, and have it received any updates or new features?
Before we dive in, let us have a look at what Battle Squadron is about. It is a shooter like mentioned above, but what is the storyline?
Attention Commanders: Incoming Earth Defense Fleet message….
Your mission code C61-178DE is to rescue Commander Berry D. Mayers and Commander Lori Bergin and their starship. The E.D.F. inter-track scanner picked up signatures from a huge Barrax alien enemy object moving towards the hollow planet Terrainia. Data indicates that the hollow Planet Terrainia is their home-base and is much feared due to cloaked enemy ships and the deep unfriendly subterranean worlds with frightening alien species.
We have equipped your ships with our new universal ultimate weapon: The NOVA missile.
On behalf of Earth Defense Fleet… Engage and terminate Commanders!
Now that we have a mission, let us get started. 🙂 By the way, the test machine is a Sam440ep Flex with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2.
To install the game, unpack the archive to your harddrive. Then navigate to where you unpacked it and double-click on the Battle Squadron icon to start the game. You will then get an opportunity to choose a resolution. I’ve tried several of them, but thought 800 x 600 worked great. Give some of them a go and find the one most suitable for your setup.
Once up and running, you are greeted with an extensive menu. Here you can change everything from controls and difficulty, to turning scanlines on and off. There are plenty of things you can adjust to your liking, as you can see from the screenshot below.
You can even turn on Online highscores (highly recommended!) or have a look at your achievements (I mentioned the bit about achievements in the old review and that I hoped that this was something that would be implemented in future games. I still hope for this, especially if we could have some kind of central hub, like leaderboards that grabbed highscores directly from games for example.).
Battle Squadron does also support a two-player mode, so that if you want to team up with a friend or a family member, you can both play on the same screen simultaneously.
There are also several levels of difficulty. Cadet is the easiest, Air Commodore the hardest. It is not an easy game to play, so starting at one of the lower levels is recommended. 😉
Controls and Gameplay
Just like the old version on the Amiga 500, you can actually control your ship with the mouse. Yes, that is true! This was not so easy in the 90’s with an old, worn tank mouse, but today, with an optical mouse, it makes the game much easier to play. You shoot away with the left mouse button, use specials with the right mouse button, and navigate through the storms of bullets by moving the mouse around. Excellent! I must admit to not having tried the keyboard mode this time, simply because the mouse controls works so great, hehe. 😉
Now for the gameplay. To defeat the enemy, you must avoid projectiles and enemies at all costs, while blowing up as much as you can on the screen. The goal of the game is to survive until the end and to destroy the enemy once and for all. On your way to glory, you get different kinds of bonuses, such as weapon upgrades, which is very important when you progress through the levels. Better weapons makes it easier to survive.
Being a scrolling shoot’em up, it is similar to many of in the same genre, but this one is very smooth with nice graphics and great sound effects and music. Thanks to the controls with the mouse, the game is easy to get into and learn, but of course not easy to master, that requires quite a bit of practice I think. 🙂
At the beginning, I asked the question of what kind of upgrades and updates the AmigaOS 4 version has over the old one. Here we have seen plenty of examples, like all the graphics settings, the achievement system, Online high-scores and more. This version is definitely a true homage to the old classic in my opinion. 🙂 An excellent job by the developers!
All in all, I find Battle Squadron a superb game for AmigaOS 4 and I highly recommend it. Unfortunately it is very hard to get hold of these days. I’ve tried search around different Amiga shops, but have not fount it in stock until now. An idea, but I don’t know if the publisher agrees, would be to make it available for purchase in AMIstore from AmigaKit. 🙂
Thanks for reading and see you in another post here on Gaming on AmigaOS 4!