Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Zero Wing (Toaplan)

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Ah, Zero Wing, good ole “All your base are belong to us.”  For those that don’t know the story of the legendary line, feel free to check out our localization article, but despite the horrendous translation this was supposed to be a solid shmup.  Sorry, Europe, but from what I can tell, save for the Parodius series, the exports that hail the only English translation from across the pond kinda suck.  The reason I bring this up is that I wanted to like Zero Wing, I even tried for more than 3 hours to like the game and despite completing it (thanks to endless continues), it’s just not the shmup I had hoped for.  It’s got a power-up system that’s sub-par to the Darius series and a grab-and-throw mechanic that is a stripped R-Type staple, but this hybrid doesn’t net any benefits.  Additionally the controls, while responsive, and the framerate, which suffers little slowdown, makes for a clumsy sluggish ride because your ship is so slow.  I’m also not too keen on the fact that this game utilizes a low enemy count with high hit points.  Stronger enemies are okay from time to time, but I need to take out groups of weaklings for that little ego boost and to soften the blow of a death.  In Zero Wing, if you die within a level you may have to restart the same checkpoint tons of times to overcome the mass of strong enemies that continues with only your basic cannon.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that Zero Wing doesn’t have its good points, and frankly I really enjoyed the “true” boss battles, but it’s a headache to get PAL (European standard def) games to play in the US and I would be disappointed if I did all that work and spent all that money on Zero Wing.  Fortunately I got my hands on a European Mega Drive/32x combo this weekend to test drive this game and the super expensive Darxide.  I’m going to be recording that video tonight and I’m frankly psyched to play a nearly $1,000 game, but I’m guessing it will disappoint based purely on the high value/price tag.  Look for it tomorrow!

Written by Fred Rojas

March 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

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