*A new Rundown Article! It's only been three years since my last one. I'm on a roll here.*


The year is 1987. Michael Warren is elected mayor of Raccoon City, Ryo Hazuki arrives in Hong Kong in order to locate Master Lishao Tao, and Irem releases their best-selling greatest mega hit of all time SQOON for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Wait, you've never heard of this landmark title? How about it's amazingly memorable catch phrase “RIDE THE SQOON!” Well that's ok because I just made all of that up. You can sleep well knowing your memory is still as sharp as a dull banana.



PLOT:

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

NEPTUNAIANS HAVE INVADED THE EARTH. THEY ARE MELTING THE ICE CAPS AND THE CONTINENTS ARE SINKING! TAKE SQOON AND DEFEAT THE ALIENS TO RESTORE PEACE TO THE EARTH.

That's really all there is. That's as much information as the game gives us. Aliens melting ice and you using your pink submarine to blow them back to Neptune. Now before we delve into the meat and two veg of this title lets first have a look at the amazingly crazy title screen we are graced with upon startup.


Oh God! My eyes, they burn!!!


I'm not really sure on where to begin with this one. The pink and blue title screen looks like a small child who smashed their Playdoh together in a fit of rage when they realized that it was not actually edible. We can see a topless mermaid holding a cross in some attempt to fight of the underwater vampire logo. We can see a shark devouring Atari people in an extremely violent manner. We can see another Atari man somehow emerging from the head of the little pink submarine man. And there seems to be a friendly pink crab running all over Nintendo of America.

GAMEPLAY:

We are presented with on the surface what looks to be a very impressive “Shoot Em Up” title and in a sense it does make a case for itself in that regard early unfortunately this very quickly spirals into a crazy mess of insanity once we begin playing.


Feel my wrath you fish, plane,monster, submarine, alien thing...


You have two methods of attack with your submarine. You can fire an unlimited amount of missiles which can be upgraded and you can drop some sort of bubble bomb to destroy the ships… buildings…fish… whatever those undefinable things are on the sea floor.

There are great white sharks that are always swimming around but don't seem to hurt you in anyway. The only time they play a factor is when they try to eat the funny little Atari people that sometime appear when you blow up what I can only assume are alien prisons on the sea floor. I can't be sure of that so it's just as possible that you're blowing up an Atlantian Country Kitchen down there.


It's just as possible that this is some underwater Karate Kid training academy run by a great white…


Your job is to collect the floating people before they can be torn asunder by the hungry sharks. Throughout the level some sort of floating island will appear and you can surface, pop the head off your submarine guy, and deposit your survivors. Now this in itself wouldn't be a concern except for the fact THAT IT TAKES FOREVER to unload your passengers.

Now I can freely admit that I am not the largest fan of the “Shoot Em Up” or in fact that good at them. I tend to get frustrated quite easily and lodge the controller into the television. But this game feels insanely difficult even on the first level. I died constantly! I can't remember how long it took me to make it past stage one but I assure you it was a great deal longer than I am comfortable stating. I managed to get quite far playing SQOON in my youth but that was before I became a bitter shell of a man that angers quickly and has little time to invest in such grand gaming adventures.

GRAPHICS:

It has some….
Honestly if you're a fan of the color scheme of pink and blue you've come to the right place. To be fair the graphics are quite colorful but I have a hard time distinguishing anything that I'm blowing to kingdom come. Am I fighting sea monsters, fish, rabid turtles, sand worms, robots or are these all just Neptunian aliens? I really have no idea half the time.


Your guess is as good as mine at this point


PLAY OR PASS:

I'm going to give SQOON a pass. There are much better games in the NES library that do this style much more justice. Just go pick up Lifeforce and call it a day. The thing about SQOON is that it's fairly rare from what I could gather. Looking around online it can run you anywhere from ten to twenty dollars. If you really want a fun undersea adventure on the NES pick up a copy of The Little Mermaid instead.