Back in January we gave a heads-up on the first gameplay video of Cope-Com's upcoming shooter Battle Squadron ONE, an iOS recreation of one of the very best shooters ever to appear on the Amiga, in the form of a Universal application for both iPhone and iPad. This weekend, Cope-Com CEO Martin Pedersen provided us with a pre-beta build of the game to try out. And, that's something I've been doing a lot of today, and have a video to share that should whet the appetite of those who've been waiting for this one as anxiously as we.

For those who enjoy(ed) Battle Squadron on the Amiga, I can tell you that the iOS version is exactly the same game -- original graphics, original music -- but with various new options and an iOS-appropriate control system. It's so close to the original that I had to re-confirm with the developers that it is not, in fact, running under emulation. While the original Battle Squadron was written in 68000 assembly, Battle Squadron ONE for iOS is a line-by-line C/C++ rewrite, based on the original source code (which Pedersen had stored on floppies in a box in his basement these long years). It's likely the first entirely recoded Amiga game to land on the iOS platform.

For those not familiar, Battle Squadron is a top-down, vertical shooter where you blast your way through a variety of scrolling alien landscapes, taking out turrets and dodging enemy lasers and missiles on a mission to rescue commanders Berry Mayers and Lori Bergin who have been kidnapped by the evil Barrax empire, a ruthless species with one thing on their mind -- ruling the universe. And, it's no light task. The action here is intense -- there's so much dodging that I'd probably call it a bullet hell shooter, although it's milder than some I've seen come out of Japan. That's at the "Amiga" difficulty level, anyway. There's also an "Easy" and a "Hard" mode, in this version.

To ensure solid performance, Battle Squadron ONE requires iOS 4 and an iPhone 3GS, 3G iPod touch, iPad or better. Currently, the game features both tilt and swipe controls, but an on-screen D-pad control option is in the works. As can be seen by my deft tiltwork in the following video filmed on an iPad 2, the accelerometer-based controls deliver impressive precision maneuvering.

Cope-Com indicates that the core game is complete, but there are a few things that need to be accomplished before it hits the App Store, including the aforementioned addition of D-pad controls as well as Game Center integration. Even so, Battle Squadron ONE, even in pre-beta, is already excellent -- just like the original.

Battle Squadron ONE will be followed up by Battle Squadron TWO, a version of the game featuring cooperative two-player action, available for free to those who purchase the initial release. We'll let readers know when each title makes its way to the App Store.

  • Anonymous

    This game sucked on the Genesis and it will suck on iOS.

    • Martin Pedersen

      Yes, we by far prefer the Amiga version over the Genesis version, which for various technical and organizational versions was below par. The iOS version is a 100% port of the very well received Amiga version...

    • Psj3809

      Come on that's stupid. Have you got a crystal ball or something? At least wait until you try it

    • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

      I can assure you this is a translation of the Amiga original, not the Genesis port. I've played both, extensively, and agree that the Amiga original is much nicer than the Genesis version.

    • Sandalfo

      The amigaOS version was excellent! music, graphics, playability, simply excellent.
      Crappy conversion that's all

  • Anonymous

    The Amiga version was a huge hit in its heyday - the Genesis port was a watered down version from what I remember.

  • Minotaar

    I'm sorry this is not bullet hell. This is just a ghetto shooter. Or "retro" if you want to call it that.

    • Anonymous

      Not all shooters are bullet hell -- the same way not all RPGS feature PlaySkool-looking characters with blue spiky hair that live in a cute little town with talking dogs and a midget king to save.

    • Sandalfo

      I never liked bullet hell shooters, this one is just a classic shooter, the way they were before someone decided that you should spend your time finding a pixel perfect way to dodge stupid bullets

  • caiman

    I remember this fondly from my Amiga days. Although the bullets get considerably more intense in the later levels, I wouldn't describe it as a bullet hell shooter where you have to weave your way between kaleidoscopic patterns of bullets. But it looks like an excellent port of the Amiga version, so I'll definitely be getting this. Any word on price yet Martin?

    • Martin Pedersen

      Yes, we have done everything we could to make it 100% like the Amiga version... so thanks :-) We are looking at a price of $1.99.

  • http://twitter.com/FrancescoPoli Francesco Poli

    Among the first shooters I've played, how I loved it when I wasn't even a tween... I didn't pay for it then, but as soon as I see this on the App Store, I won't wait for sales to make amends!

  • Msspomelo

    Just *please* change the buttons to match the game design/style.

    It's not that hard, is it? Those above completely don't suit the game!

    • Martin Pedersen

      Thanks for the feedback. This is a pre-beta version. We we will consider all comments for the final version. We are also about to start more formal beta-testing in a weeks time with 15 testers...

      • Msspomelo

        Thank YOU for reading the feedback!

  • molly

    looks nice, didnt think ipad could tilt games like that....woow :o)

    • Martin Pedersen

      It also took a few "adjustments" to make it like that... so thanks :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708565688 Jonas Ahlinder

    The one thing the genesis version had going for it was a bomb button.
    Ive managed to one-life finish this on amiga though.

  • Cim

    I love how performance is a concern considering how the 3G is 400mhz and the Amiga was running at a measly 7mhz. ;)

    Anyway, the game looks great. The original was a fantastic shooter and this looks like it's faithful to that. Instant buy in other words.

    • Martin Pedersen

      Thanks for the positive feedback... great to hear :-) Some things in BS ONE were made differently than on the Amiga, and for simplicity in such a way that it costs quite a bit more CPU power. But you are right... it should run on 3G as well :-)

  • Elton Bird

    Really looking forward to this.
    I think many are a bit harsh on the Genesis version.. Only really the sounds was markedly sub-par, which hurt the overall experience, but the added paralax, and the enemy ships moving at 60fps made it very slick. The weapon changed made it a nice change for people familiar with the Amiga one already.

    Oh, and Dear Martin Pedersen, thanks for showing what a well coded Amiga could do! Battle Squadron was a big influence when I was starting out in programming and reasons why I'm a game coder today! (Great to hear Ron Klaren's incredible music without the old 4 channel limit dropping some out for Sound Effects too.)

    • Martin Pedersen

      I am very happy to hear that Battle Squadron on the Amiga not only supplied some fun... but actually was part of generating another coder... that is a new one me personally :-)

      • Elton Bird

        Oh yes, you can't beat the Amiga for producing a whole generation of coders! It's really a pleasure to have been able to say "Hi, and Thanks!" to the creator of Battle Squadron for me though!
        (I must admit I was kind of hoping the addition of "One" on the title meant we might finally get some new levels as a Battle Squadron 2 though :o)

      • Martin Pedersen

        Yes, it was great fun coding on the Amiga. Also a pleasure to hear from you :-) ... And your last point is indeed correct... as you will see when you complete Battle Squadron ONE in a few weeks time ;-)

  • s1lva

    Looks fantastic!

    My iPad is FULL of retro games. They're a bit of an obsession with me.

    Two things:
    1) (as stated earlier) Please, change the button design to better-compliment/match the game's art style, and..
    2) Please, arrange the buttons in closer-proximity to one another so that the user doesn't have to maneuver their thumbs so drastically across the large iPad surface (or at least make this an option).

    Thanks!! Can't wait!

    • Martin Pedersen

      Great to hear :-) Thanks for the input. Yes, right now the buttons have the same relative position on iPhone and iPad... good idea to update that on the iPad :-)

  • Cinepod

    Two words: Pure awesomeness! Please release it soon.

    How about an autofire option?

    • Torben Larsen

      actually there is.. One only needs to hold down the firebutton for 1 sec. and autofire is activated. ;)

  • TKO

    First, I have to say: Thanks guys for bringing one of my favourite Amiga shooters to the Devices. From my old A500, to A1200 and A4000, Battle Squadron still gets good play here (now on WinUAE) .. it's awesome with the HotRod/X-Arcade controller. ;)

    So, what about Hybris then, eh? :) (While not as flashy as Battle Squadron, Hybris is still an awesome shooter .. its the best Terra Cresta like game the Amiga had.)

    Pedantic footnote: Battle Squadron wasn't the first Amiga game re-coded from the original assembly-language for iOS. That honour goes to Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies. Still, pretty cool that it got the full recoding treatment though. It's much appreciated.

    • Martin Pedersen

      Thanks for being a long term player of Battle Squadron :-) We did not forget Hybris. After BS ONE is released we will make BS ONE for Android. Hybris will come after that for iOS :-) Thanks for the details regarding Pinball Dreams. I guess we have to change the story to "the earliest" game re-coded for iOS... unsless somebody else beat us to it ;-)

      • TKO

        I would give it a vote for most awesome game re-coded for iOS. Seriously, from my first use of a friends A500 I was in awe of this game. Those invisible ships (which I both loved and hated) :) ..the tanks coming out of their bunkers ..the many shot-configurations of the player ships. Really a very polished product.

        The Pinball Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions series are interesting in that the table formats are almost perfectly sized for the iPhone screen. It's like they were released on the Amiga, but what they were *really* waiting for was the release of the iPhone. :)

        I'm wondering what arcade, or other shooters were your inspiration for Battle Squadron? Hybris feels like an homage to Terra Cresta, but I can't quite pick if there were specific games that inspired this one.

      • Martin Pedersen

        Very nice to hear the specific details you love... and hate ;-) in Battle Squadron. And thanks for the pre-vote :-) Hybris was heavily inspired by Terra Cresta, but Battle Squadron was more our own inspiration, though somewhat the movies "Predator" and "Alien(s)" ;-)

  • Conrad

    Awesome, i will buy the game immediately!
    This is probably one of the best games ever. Like 5 years ago, i was screenshotting all parts of every animation and inch of the first gamelevel from my amiga 600 onto my PC and made the complete 1st level of the game in Flash, just to learn flash. The funny thing is that some months ago I started the same work for iOS to learn objective C =) as i understand i can take a break and move on to another project now, hehe. I still have my illegal copy of battlesquadron for amiga in a box here somewhere. Too bad i didn't know better back then (i was 8 years old and don't remember how i got the game). The formerly white sticker with lines to write the content of the disk, is now yellowish, and has text that says "BattelSqadron" in ink and below is my highscore written with a pencil. Greyish background from the not too good eraser that was used when a new highscore was set, back then i didn't understand what the "disc-readonly-thing" was.

    Well this game will kick all other topdownscrollshooting games on the appstore. Best of luck getting rich :P

    • Martin Pedersen

      Hi Conrad, Very happy to hear from you. And thanks for all the details in your post. It is always fun for us to hear all these things. You sound like a big fan of Battle Squadron :-) BS ONE should be in App Store in a matter of weeks...

      • Conrad

        Great! is the videoquality fooling me, or is the temporary green tinting missing when hitting an enemy? hehe

      • Martin Pedersen

        Hi again, It must be the video quality... the enemies surely flash slightly green when you hit them ;-)