U.N. Squadron (1989)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


This article explores U.N. Squadron, highlighting its place in the shoot-em-up genre, its gameplay mechanics, and the lasting appeal of its action-packed missions.


An overview of U.N. Squadron, a 1989 side-scrolling shoot-em-up game by Capcom, known for its fast-paced action and aircraft-based combat.


“U.N. Squadron” is a captivating side-scrolling shooting game released by Capcom in 1989. The game, known as “Area 88” in Japan, is based on the manga series of the same name and features the same main characters. The primary mission of these characters is to thwart the nefarious activities of a terrorist group known as Project 4.

The game’s plot revolves around the country of Aslan, which has been seized by Project 4. The player, assuming the role of one of the three mercenary pilots – Shin Kazama, Mickey Simon, or Greg Gates – must combat Project 4’s forces and obliterate all of their bases to liberate Aslan from Project 4’s control.

“U.N. Squadron” stands out from other Capcom shooters like “1942” and “1943: The Battle of Midway,” which are vertically scrolling shooters. Instead, it adopts a side-scrolling format, providing a unique gaming experience. Another distinctive feature of the game is the energy bar, which depletes as the player sustains damage during a single life. This is a departure from the conventional system of reserve lives used in most arcade-style shooters, where a single enemy hit results in the loss of a life.

Before entering a level, players can purchase special weapons or added defenses in the shop. The money to buy these weapons is earned by destroying enemy planes and vehicles during levels. Any unused weapons are converted back into money at the end of the level.

Each pilot in “U.N. Squadron” flies a specific plane and has slightly different capabilities. In the Super NES version, each pilot can use a range of planes. All pilots start with $3000 and the basic F8 Crusader, and can buy other aircraft and weapons as they progress.

The game was part of a broader strategy of Capcom at the time to appeal to a wider audience by using established characters from other media. This strategy also included games based on “Willow” and “Tenchi wo Kurau”.

“U.N. Squadron” was ported to the home console Super NES and released in Japan on July 26, 1991. In North America and Europe, it was re-titled “U.N. Squadron”. The game’s poster illustration was created by Marc Ericksen, the illustrator of the covers to Capcom’s other games “Mega Man 2” and “Strider”.


The game features three playable pilots: Shin Kazama, Micky Schymon, and Greg Gates, each with different abilities. Players also encounter a variety of enemy units throughout the game.


Players navigate through side-scrolling levels, shooting down enemies and avoiding obstacles. The game allows players to upgrade their aircraft and weapons, adding strategic depth to the combat.


U.N. Squadron remains a beloved classic in the shoot-em-up genre, offering engaging gameplay, memorable characters, and a variety of challenging missions.

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