Carrier Air Wing - Capcom

Carrier Air Wing

Reviewed by Shib

When I first heard that U.N. Squadron had a sequel I got pretty excited. U.N. Squadron/Area 88 was one of the earliest SNES masterpieces. U.N. Squadron is a great game, but for whatever reason, it doesn't get much attention after a couple of times through. The thought of a new game which took off from where U.N. Squadron left off, was thrilling to say the least.

Perhaps I just expected too much from Carrier Air Wing, or perhaps its' little annoyances compound themselves too much, but I found Carrier Air Wing slightly disappointing. I mean, it's just basically U.N. Squadron with a few extra levels tacked on, there are no real differences.

Lets start off with the good aspects. The graphics hold true to the first game, but don't really get any better than the first. This being the arcade game, I was surprised of how well the first game was translated to the SNES, as it looks just as good.

Like the first one, 2 players can play at the same time, which is always helpful in a good shmup. But unlike U.N. Squadron, there are no personalities piloting the planes, you just get to choose from 3 slightly different looking planes. And on top of that, I don't even think there is any difference in the planes at all, they all handle the same and have the same weapons as each other. What's the point in that? If anyone knows if there is truly a benefit in one plane over any other, please fill me in, cuz I don't see it.

I think the weapon system worked the same way in the first game, but my major gripe here is that it goes wayyyyy too fast. Basically there are three weapon choices; blue -- strong missiles, yellow -- normal, and green -- sortta in between. When you shoot down the ships that contain these weapons, they cycle through the different colours, but at a fast pace. This becomes a problem at hectic times in the game, and you'll find yourself picking up a power-up you never wanted in the first place.

Another big gripe I had with this game is the dumb fuel guage. I can't remember if the original had it or not, but it has been used in games like the 194X series. It was manageable in the 194X games, but here it's an unnecessary distraction, you'll often die and never know what hit you.

It may sound like Carrier Air Wing has it's share of problems (and what shmup doesn't?), but it's not all bad. Like I mentioned before, it's pretty much U.N. Squadron with some more levels. It's not that there's anything really wrong with it, it's just that there's not enough new with it.

A marginally passing 6/10


Plane Select   Before you start each level, Sean Connery explains your mission objectives while you select your plane. He will also tell you the weak spots of the enemy bosses, but does not answer the question "Why did you take that role for "The Avengers" movie?"

Level 1
A lot like the second level in U.N. Squadron, just fly around in the sky and shoot down planes.
Level 1 and Boss
Level 1 Boss
Just a big plane that drops a lot of bombs. The bullets can get pretty hard to see against the background.

Level 2
The coolest part about level 2 is that you're in a cityscape, and you can swoop down and blow up cars and bridges!
Level 2 and Boss
Level 2 Boss
Every generation has a legend...
Every journey has a first step...
Every saga has a beginning...
... And every shooter has a mech boss.

Level 3   Level 3 starts out in a nice lush forest, they're lots of hills, making shooting bad guys downhill kinda tough.

Eventually you'll hit some water and fight this huge battleship. "I'll send ya straight to the shipyard for repairs matey!"

Level 3 Boss

Level 4, a snowfield.

Damn! Looks like I was right, I did send him to the shipyard. Blow him up again, this time just finish the job, or else Sean Connery will make you watch his crowning achievements, "Zardoz" and "Meteor".

  Level 4

Level 4 Boss

Level 5
Gee, reminds me a lot of Level 1. First time I seen this level, I thought I rolled the game and was starting over.
Level 5 and Boss
Level 5 Boss
Pretty easy boss. Shoots lots of slow moving mines all over the screen.

Level 6
I think Callus hiccups in this level. Lots of times you'll find yourself shooting things that aren't there, that blow up later.
Level 6 and Boss
Level 6 Boss
You fight this sub a couple of times throughout the level, those programmers are getting L-A-Z-Z-Z-Y.

Level 7
Pretty cool looking level. Later on, they're some volcanos that blow up and stuff like that.
Level 7 and Boss
Level 7 Boss
I hear breathing in a bag can help hiccups. Of course, it just may be me and I'm too dumb to figure out those layer options in Callus. ... Nah!

Level 8   I guess level 8 is Egypt?

After you circle this guy a few times and do enough damage, the uhh, ... thing, in the middle detaches and you gotta kill it too.

Level 8 Boss

Level 9
It seems like the whole level is just flying around the base. But, after you destroy it, you get to go inside and underground ...
Level 9 and Boss
Level 9 Boss
Where you meet up with this bad boy. Anyone have any idea of what this is suppose to be?

Level 10
In the last level, you blow apart a huge Saturn rocket. Eventually, you'll be left with just the shuttle to contend with.
Level 10 and Boss
Level 10 Boss
One more trick eh? The shuttle will release a probe which is a bitch to kill.

The End   Now after all that, your little plane blows up and the pilot ejects, which explains this ending scene. Another crappy Capcom ending, but I wouldn't have it any other way!


Y'know what I like about Shib? Apart from supplying this review all HTML'd up in the shmups style, with some lovely piccy overlaps, he's not afraid to knock a game slightly when it's just so ever substandard. And he likes SmashTV too.

Personally, I much preferred the remixed SNES version of Area88 myself too. Carrier Airwing is just not enough of an update to be a Special Thing. Still, it's a shmup, and I'm duty bound to care for it - but it sits at it's own table at mealtimes. Old Granpaw R-Type and Granny Nemesis wouldn't be seen eating with it.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie