Lukas' Legendary Wings Review
Addicting shoot em up gameplay
Awesome 2-player action
Graphics look nice
Soundtrack, as per usual from Capcom, kicks ass
Story isn't too bad, actually kind of cool
EVIL SLOWDOWNS!!! KILL THEM! KILL THEM WITH FIRE!!!
Another shoot em up created by Namco-- Waitaminute, Capcom? Well, whatever the case, it's another shoot em up on the NES, but instead of spaceships shooting other spaceships in space much like Gradius or R-Type, it's Greek angels shooting many forms of many devils in some post-apocalyptic wasteland about 20,000 years into the future. It originally started on the arcades, and then got ported over to the NES, and...I don't know about you, but I thought of this port as a very good one. Although there's a fairly bad flaw in the mix (due to hardware limitations - the NES wasn't the most powerful system to come out of the 8-bit era), the game is one hell of a game.
The story is that about 20,000 years into the future, the devil has turned the land into a wasteland and it's up to these 2 Greek soldiers with mechanical wings and super-powered laser guns to infiltrate its lair and destroy it before it destroys the world. It's a simple plot and typical of shoot em ups, except the setting is quite different, so that's one hell of a plus.
But hey, this is your basic and typical shoot em up. You get to shoot things with 2 different sorts of weapons. You get power-ups. There are a LOT of enemies. The difficulty is quite high. The screen scrolls either horizontally or vertically (depending on the view you're on in the game). What else could you expect from a shoot em up? Well, there is more than that to this game, but I'm going to discuss the main elements just for the readers who don't know what the hell a shoot em up is (and if they still don't...you guys got a Wii? Gradius is on Virtual Console! And if not, just emulate!).
The basic idea of a shoot em up game is to shoot up some enemies that come your way while you're scrolling through an environment (usually space, but it's a wasteland then a lair in the case of this game) and all the while, making sure the enemies don't hit you (because getting hit means you die). Unfortunately, it's never, EVER easier said than done, because there's a boatload of enemies waiting to strike you down. So how do you defend yourself? Shoot them!
With the B button, you can use your regular shot and kill all the enemies above. And that's right, I said "above". There are also enemies on the ground that can *bleep* you if you ignore them. How do you fight them? Well, by pressing A, you can bomb the ground, which can help kill some enemies on the ground. Unfortunately, if you focus too much on the ground enemies, the aerial enemies will screw you up the ass into oblivion, so make sure to focus on BOTH! AH THE DIFFICULTY!
Ahh but that's the beauty of shoot em up games. They're difficult as hell. More difficult than Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man 1 and Yo! Noid put together. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but really, shoot em ups tend to be that hard, and to be fair, Legendary Wings isn't that hard..maybe Contra and Castlevania at once, but that's it. It's far from the most difficult (in fact the most difficult I can think of is Silver Surfer), but it's still difficult, so don't expect to breeze through this game (OR ANY SHOOT EM UP FOR THAT MATTER).
Although what can make this game more frustrating than difficult, are the slowdowns. I swear to god, if I get another one of these again, I'LL SCREAM! When there's too much crap on screen, the game slows down, which means a lot when you're about to get blasted, especially when it suddenly regains some speed and you end up dying. Not only does this cause unnecessary deaths, but it's just plain annoying. I understand the NES isn't all that powerful, but god almighty...
Of course, as per usual with shoot em ups, there are power-ups, and they're actually pretty damn good. At the beginning, you start with some b-shooter, but eventually, you can collect a power-up that levels your power up by 1 each time you get more of them. The first is 2 lasers. The next is a flamethrower-laser sort of thing that goes right through enemies. The next is a sort of couple of lasers that go straight, then split after a bit, then come back. When you get hit, you downgrade to the weapon before, so for example, if you get hit while able to shoot the twin lasers, you go back to the b-shooter. This is pretty fair when you think about it, at least it tries to be forgiving. The final power-up is easily the best - you turn into a unicorn and you can fire swathes of flames, and best yet, you can get hit twice before downgrading to...well, the splitting lasers (you were expecting maybe the b-shooter...).
But how do you get these power-ups? Well, you either find them randomly or you have to beat streams upon streams of enemies. Then some circle pops up and you have to shoot that, fly over the remains and then you get powered up. There are other places you can find them...but I'll get onto that later.
Of course, at the end of each level, there's a boss to fight. Bosses are no brainers really - just shoot them until they die. They will, of course, try their hardest to fight back, but that's usual. The bosses themselves are pretty cool looking, and the fights are always entertaining, mostly because they prove to be quite a challenge...I remember playing certain games with hard as hell enemies but easy as crap bosses...thankfully, we got games like this where the bosses are harder than the enemies, but not like super-duperly harder than the enemies. AWESOME!
Oh...and there's the option to play with a friend via simultaneous 2-player mode. You can play through the game with a second player for even more fun and maybe an easier time at trying to finish the game. You do need to share the power-ups, though, as there's no duplicates for your mate. Oh well. Still a fun experience.
But is Legendary Wings just your typical shoot em up? Or is there something that makes it different from the rest gameplay-wise (I mean let's face it - who cares about the story in shoot em ups)? Well...actually, there is!
While you're going through levels, you encounter these heads that try to suck you in, and if you touch the twister, you get sucked into them and the screen changes to DANGER before giving you this horizontal scrolling view. So basically, you're playing through a horizontally scrolling dangerous level, and it's dangerous because you come out either in bad shape or in no shape because these usually end up being the death of you. At the end, you encounter a boss and these tend to be much scarier than the main stage bosses.
However, there's also a good sort - the LUCKY stages. You have to blow up a certain mounted shooting device on the ground and let that twister suck you in. You engage in yet another horizontally scrolling stage, but this one allows you to get a whole crapton of points, power-ups, extra lives and continues (the latter of which is in the shape of a heart)! Oh how lucky indeed...
You really need to collect continues, because you start with NO continues. If you lose all 3 of your lives before getting a continue, you have to start from the very beginning of the game. That's harsh...but fair enough I guess, considering it is short and won't take all that long to beat after getting some practise in. As far as points go, you need to get a hefty amount to gain an extra life, but if you get lucky enough with the lucky zones, you'll be able to get a LOT of extra lives. That said, you'll still be busting your balls trying to complete this game as you come back from the dead...WITH THE B-SHOOTER!
So basically, despite some nitpicking, this is a grand shoot em up and well worth adding to your collection. It has aged incredibly well and really needs more love, as I hear it's quite underrated. If you're looking for a great shoot em up game to play and are sick of beating Gradius, R-Type, Lifeforce and the like or dying a million billion times in Silver Surfer, Legendary Wings would be a great purchase. It really sucks that it's not on Virtual Console yet.
Summing it all up:
Classic shoot em up action at its best with some innovations. You'll be hard pressed to find a shoot em up that is mostly like this game.
Aside from some somewhat sensitive d-pad controls (not a huge problem, they're not too sensitive but more than normal) and the fact that you have to mash B to keep shooting, the controls are pretty damn good. Classic.
I don't normally talk about stories in shoot em ups but this is an exception. I thought the concept was original and the execution was actually quite good. Too bad you have to look up Wikipedia or the instruction manual to know the full story, though it's assumed that it's a save the world story.
The graphics look nice and detailed and all that jizz, but unfortunately when there's too much going on, the game slows down...badly! This can screw you over in the long run.
Nothing short of amazing. The soundtrack is absolutely catchy and translates very well from the arcade original. Sound effects are the typical 8-bit variety and doesn't hurt your ears, so they're good too.
Only 5 levels long, and as a whole, only about 40 minutes long, though actually getting through with the game will take you some time, plus playing with a friend is always a good thing to do to keep you 2 occupied. And even when you do finish the game, it'll loop forever until you turn off the NES, so you can keep going at it, at higher difficulty levels obviously.
It's serious fun! Most of Capcom's games were quite fun to play (whether they be old like the Mega Man series on the NES, or newer like those 2 Maximo games on the PS2), and this is no exception. Shooting things that come your way has been fun for many years anyway.
I would recommend this to anybody, but if you're not down with high difficulty, I advise you either start getting down with it, or...start getting down with it, because you need to play this game. With its unique elements and classic basics, shoot em up fans will eat this like tasty cakes and everyone else will just plain love it (or die trying).