Shadow Squadron is a multidirectional shooter where the player flies through several areas of space, completing various mission objectives in hopes of beating the game.
It was developed and released by Sega in 1994 for the Sega 32X, supporting solitary and two players simultaneous modes.
An adversary (who is not named) seems to be up to their old tricks, transmitting coded transmissions and exerting energy blooms from a number of large ships. An Acceleration Gate is still not fully assembled, so additional forces can not be moved quick enough to intercept, leaving the player as the lone opposition against the enemy armada.
GameplayEditPlayers (up to two) control one of two "Feather" ships that must wipe out an assigned number of targets per level (known as "Missions") in order to advance to the next one. Smaller enemy ships can be taken out by either an Ultra Shot or Energy Torpedo (depending on which Feather ship the player chooses) or several shots from their regular lasers; however, larger ships and objects have to be destroyed bit by bit in order to be obliterated.
The player starts off with three ships which have energy and shield meters. With every hit from an enemy's attack, colliding with an enemy ship or any other object will result in some of the player's shield being knocked down. If the player runs out of energy or takes a hit when they have no remaining shield units they will lose a ship and the game will end if there are no remaining ships left.
The player will also have to start a Mission over if they lose a ship before accomplishing that level's objectives. There is an onscreen display (as well as a radar) as to which target to destroy is closest, so the player will have an idea as far as what to do in order to accomplish the Mission. There is also an onscreen briefing before each Mission as well, giving instructions.
The player has a choice between two Feather ships before starting a game. The Feather 1 ship has an Ultra Shot that will automatically divide into several shots (which are guided torpedoes) and take out multiple small ships if they are in range, which will also do a fair amount of damage to large enemy ships. The ship itself is also highly maneuverable and will dock with a recharge ship after each completed Mission to have its shield and energy levels reinstated. The ship also has a Spectral Shield but it does not appear to function (see the Trivia section at the end in regards to this).
The Feather 2 ship is slower, its targeting system is clunkier to control and has no recharges between Missions. However, its firepower is much stronger than the other Feather ship and it can take out incoming enemy firepower, which the Feather 1 cannot. The player also has a choice of an auto or manual pilot for this ship as well.
Mission 1: Graduation DayEdit
This level contains two large Carrier ships and several smaller ships that need to be destroyed in order to advance to the next Mission.
Mission 2: No AdmittanceEdit
Three large ships are guarding the Acceleration Gate, which needs to be obliterated, piece by piece, before the Gate becomes functional, along with destroying several small enemy ships in order for the player to advance.
Mission 3: Dodge 'EmEdit
This takes place in the obligatory asteroid belt, which the player has to destroy the enemy's resupply station (/fleet) in order to advance to Mission 4.
Mission 4: ArmadaEdit
An entire fleet of warships need to be destroyed without the player running out of energy and/or reserve ships. This is the biggest amount of full-sized ships the player has to face during a game.
Mission 5: Ganeluza GrandslamEdit
Along with a handful of small enemy ships, it might not sound like much to only have three warships in this level to destroy, but the Carvelus flagships have the strongest amount of firepower of all the other ships and the one Ganeluza ship is almost totally indestructible, save for one vulnerable area right up its middle.
Mission 6: G. L. CannonEdit
This weapon will use the sun to energize a cannon aimed for the player's home world. The cannon's outer surface must be opened up first in order to be destroyed, which the player has three minutes to do so in this Mission or else they will lose a ship. Around the perimeter of this target are a bunch of platforms that must be destroyed, which will then reset the timer and the central target will become vulnerable to the player's firepower then. Destroying this target will then end the game.
- Up to two players can play this game, one being the gunner, the other manning the pilot controls.
- The game has two difficulty levels, a speed control and cursor setting, the ability to reassign controls, as well as a choice for regular or flight controls as well.
- There is also a music and sound test, the ability to turn music on and off, a high score save, choosing the color of enemy ships, and an object viewer, where every ship in the game can be zoomed in and looked at from every angle. The game also has continuances and a trace replay option that appears after a game has been played, showing a repeat of the previous game from a third person viewpoint.
- Unlike how it states in the instructions, the Spectral Shield actually does not seem to function; the player's energy levels obviously drop when the Shield is being used as fire pounds the player's ship.
- Likewise, the instructions not only do not mention the fast speed, they also do not explain how to open up the final boss cannon (both of which are needed to know how to do in order to beat the game).
- Even though the game had polygon graphics that were fairly typical of the era, during the intro sequence when the player's Feather is about to depart from a docking bay, one of the sound effects seems to sound exactly like Pong, one of the very first commercial video games ever made!