riostarwind's Sonic Wings Special (PlayStation) review

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Old Game Review: Sonic Wings Special

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I booted this game up today and after seeing our favorite arcade archives publisher Hamster I had to put my thoughts down about this unique version of Sonic Wings. With the story being mostly nonexistent other than a few quips by each pilot I’m just going to assume they are blowing up a bunch of vehicles to save the earth from some crazy threat. So with no plot to explain I’ll point out that this game is an amalgamation of the 3 different games. Which includes a bunch of pilots, levels, and mechanics. The goal of the developer must have been to stuff as much content they could into this top-down shooter.

Depending on the level you could be fighting normal aircraft or maybe an alien spacecraft.
Depending on the level you could be fighting normal aircraft or maybe an alien spacecraft.

Conveniently the shooting part of this game is where it really shines. Each of the 14 different playable characters has a different style of plane. Each of these has a different pattern to their shot like the R.O.B. lookalike fires an insane amount of lasers that are weak. With the added bonus of having little metal balls fly out randomly to block shots. Another example would be Hien who has a homing shuriken that shoots out while shooting a volley of lasers. Also including a giant beam attack that can wipe out pretty much the entire screen. Although they do still have similar weapons each one has a variation on they can do making each character feel unique. Which seems rather rare for this style of gameplay.

Another important factor is that this isn’t a bullet hell style of shooter. Sure you’ll be shooting quite a few shots at enemies but they never send a crazy amount of flak back in your direction. Dodging will still be required but if you're good enough it felt like it would be possible to 1CC this without a crazy amount of effort. I don’t want to imply that it wasn’t hard though since I still died quite a few times I played through this. After all the end goal is still to take as many credits away from the player.

Fighting a castle isn't something you see often in a game huh?
Fighting a castle isn't something you see often in a game huh?

While flying through the sky I noted that the graphical treatment to this game was well done. All the pixel art looks nice with all the ships having small details that make them stand out. Which is more obvious in some of the bosses like the giant mech or the moored cruiser that still attacks you even though it is technically on land. While I’m mentioning the bosses I should note that most of them have multiple phases making them last a bit longer while also changing up what the player will need to dodge.

Overall a solid top down shooter that is only bogged down by some inconsistencies. Like on certain levels if you lose all your planes the game will send you back to the start. This wouldn’t be an issue if it happened on every level instead of only a select few. Along with some bosses being kinda meh compared to others which could be thanks to the compilation nature of this video game. After all, you could just be fighting a Sonic Wings 1 boss instead of one of the later games where they spiced up the action a bit. (Like fighting a castle.) Still in the end, if you are in the mood for some fast-paced arcade action for the day this isn’t a bad way to spend it.

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