Review by ndreamer
Reviewed: 09/16/00 | Updated: 09/16/00
The other half of Capcom's triumphant pair of remarkable shooters.
Capcom's other side-scrolling shooter, known as Carrier Airwing (CA), is largely overshadowed by U.N. Squadron (UNS). Capcom made both of these excellent shooters but only UNS made it to household consoles. I don't know why CA was left out...but then again, plenty of outstanding arcade titles never go domestic. My first time playing CA was at an arcade that many people don't know exist. One stagnant Monday morning, I was allowed to play this game totally undisturbed in the empty arcade. I was still totally committed to UNS when I decided to play CA, but it was mid-way through the first stage I decided to have an affair.
The visuals of this game are very similar to that of UNS. You know...your pristine backgrounds and highly detailed aircraft and vehicles. The colors incorporated into the game are exceptionally done and the backgrounds are constructed with pleasing effects like distance perception all the way to the horizon. Not only are your aircraft and the enemy's hardware very detailed, but the animation is done nicely. Tank treads roll, helicopter rotors spin, and jet afterburners ignite. Shooting down a low flying aircraft or helicopter is very animated since they don't just explode in the sky like in UNS, but rather fall to earth before bursting into flame on impact. Great job in this category.
Sound and music-9
The music for this game is well fitting. Fast paced and easily fused into the brain for better gameplay. There are two tunes that I like a lot; the one from the first stage since it works very well for the stage which was bombed in a sneak attack. The second is the battle-prep music that plays as you catapult from the deck of the aircraft carrier. The sounds are pretty good too. Machine guns firing, explosions, and missile screeches are just the tip of the iceberg.
Easy plane control and easy weapon use are two of the keys to great shooter gameplay. CA has both as well as a storyline, mission briefings and aircraft selection (A-7, F-14 and F-18) & power ups. An Arab nation has used its technically advanced weaponry to reign havoc on Japan (check out the sequence where sleek jet bombers decimate Tokyo!) One thing that I noticed CA had that UNS didn't were topography changes during the levels. In UNS, all the ground stages had flat land throughout the level. In CA you actually can fly over and under highway segments, shoot through skyscrapers and fly over hills. This is a big and (most importantly) unique difference between CA and UNS. But the best thing as far as gameplay goes is the fact that another player can join. Trust me, you'll need help. The stages get harder and the bosses get bigger. I had the esteemed privilegde of getting my plane shot out from under my rump by a Backfire bomber shooting lasers from her tail.
Again, due to the length of the game, you might avoid it for a couple before getting back to it. It's also a quarter muncher.
This game is great! With two people it's even better. My cousin was amazed when he played this game with me and he's not even into shooters. We each spent $4 on this game just to beat it. Did we care that CA was the recipient of 95% of our quarters? No. Did we talk about our favorite bosses of the game long after we'd left the arcade? Yes (mine is the Backfire bomber. My cousin's is the space shuttle. You gotta see that one!). It's simple...Carrier Airwing has great graphics, great audio, and great gameplay. Hey Capcom...great job!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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