Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today set your wayback machine to the dawn of the SNES when Capcom delivered an early shoot ‘em up classic, U.N. Squadron.
U.N. Squadron (YouTube / longplay / VGMdb), which hit just a month after the SNES’ launch, was one of those arcade-to-console ports that benefited greatly from the trip home, fleshing out the original 1989 coin-op with extra gameplay refinements that made a world of difference. A fun, solid horizontal shooter, it’s also unique for its genre, with lifebars, multiple pilots and aircraft, and a store-based power-up system. Great difficulty balance too; a good time on normal, but crank it up and you’re gonna have a challenge on your hands. (Bring a turbo controller.)
Its soundtrack is really good. The arcade original (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) was composed by Capcom music luminary / original Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae, while Mari Yamaguchi, composer of the incredible Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, handled 1991’s SNES arrangements. I sometimes prefer the sound of home ports over the often-abrasive and oddly mixed FM synth of ‘80s arcade games, and that’s the case with U.N. Squadron, too. Some will disagree.
I had some fun times blowin’ up enemy aircraft to these distinctive tunes. Some of them have a bit of a sad vibe—I wonder if that has to do with the game’s origins as an adaptation of manga / anime Area 88, which I understand could get pretty intense re: the horrors of war and whatnot. Never read or watched those; worth a go?
That’s a wrap for today’s Morning Music! I’m writing shorter this week because I’m off for vacation and preparing these all ahead of time. It was between that or no posts, and I didn’t want to disrupt the community chats we enjoy every day. Feel free to say hi in the comments, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Or, well, you’ll see my pre-written...you know what I mean. Later!