Today’s No-Shows covers two excellent games held up in licensing limbo.
55. U.N. Squadron (SNES, Capcom)
Brief Synopsis – A horizontal shoot-em-up based on a Japanese manga called Area 88, its North American release stripped out the license but left pretty much everything else intact. Highly praised as one of the finest in the genre.
Why is it Missing? – Could we blame the license? I would. Originally connected to Area 88, Capcom would likely have to re-license the manga to be able to re-release this game, even though U.N. Squadron is disconnected from it in name. Nester commented that the name alone was all that was changed – the characters and likenesses are identical to Area 88. If there’s some sort of loophole, I would imagine Capcom would have exploited it by now.
Other (Legal) Options – The Super NES cartridge is the easiest choice, although Capcom did license it out for other companies to port it to PC systems like the Amiga, C64 and Atari ST. I don’t know how good the PC ports are, though. The original arcade cabinet did the same name switch as the SNES port (i.e. Area 88 in Japan, U.N. Squadron in the US), but I can’t vouch for how easily it can be found. Nester played it!
56. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (N64, Activision)
Brief Synopsis – After his success in the X Games, Tony Hawk teamed up with Activision to recreate the excitement of skateboarding, and thus created one of the finest sports titles ever made. While the franchise has been driven into the ground by now, it was rather revolutionary back in the day.
Why is it Missing? – Can you say licensing nightmare? I can. Between getting all of the skaters back on board, there’s the brands associated with them and their boards and clothes, plus all of the music and outside supporters like Mountain Dew (which you can make out in the screenshot). Activision may be rich, but they’re not going to make the effort to reacquire all of those licenses to re-release this game over again. *They’d rather make a new one that sucks. :p *
Other (Legal) Options – This hit the PS1, N64, Dreamcast and PC, so there’s plenty of options in this case.