Zero Wing - Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)
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Zero Wing

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Release year: 1991 | Players: 1 player | Developed by Toaplan

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Zero Wing (AKA ゼロウィング Zero Wingu in Japan) is a 2D side-scrolling shoot ‘em up released by Toaplan in 1991. Sega then released the game for the Genesis (Mega Drive) in Europe the following year. This poorly translated version of the game was ridiculed by many and became the source of funny internet memes.

In the future, a great war has broken out. A space ship was destroyed by an enemy force headed by Cats. Cats boards the said ship and declares that they have taken control over their vessel. Unknowingly, the captain of this ship escaped with a Zig spacecraft. The captain then pilots the Zig in combat against enemy forces, in an attempt to liberate the Earth.

Zero Wing is quite similar to R-Type (or Super R-Type). You get to control the Zig and your aim is to shoot all enemies you encounter on screen. Of course, you’ll also have to avoid being caught in enemy fire. Crashing into the scenery isn’t an option as well.

Zero Wing Cover Box

Zero Wing Cover Box (GENESIS)

You can collect power-ups for three different kinds of weapons: a red cannon that fires multi-directional shots, a blue laser beam that fires a straight line, and green homing missiles. The Zig can also acquire two powerful drones that triples the impact of your every shot.

The game has eight levels that you must go through. But unlike most other alien shoot ‘em ups that make you sweat with the amount of bullets filling the screen, this game is rather laid back. The bosses are not that engaging and seem to be poor rip-offs of other game villains.

The game’s introduction is the best part. It’s a cinematic opening that’s very appealing, even if the dialogue’s English translation isn’t the best. The ship, its large monster enemies, and the bosses at the end of each stage are all masterfully designed and animate well.

Likewise, Zero Wing has a great soundtrack. Each level has its own background theme and nothing is reused.

Although the game has nothing unique to set it apart from other shoot ‘em ups, it is still fun and rewarding to play. If you’ve played all the R-Types on Genesis or other systems., you should definitely give Zero Wing a try.

This game has been ported to Arcade, Sega Genesis (this version) and PC Engine CD-ROM.