Developer: Takumi Publisher: Capcom Release: 05/16/01 Genre: Shooter
Giga Wing was one of the Capcom shooters for the Dreamcast that helped re-establish my love for the genre. At a time where the best of the best were shunned for expensive imports and other gems finally receiving a Western release, it was enlightening. It was also a triumph for great game design, with its creative reflection mechanics. And of course the press hated it. Less than a year later and Capcom and company are back with a sequel that did everything but better than its predecessor. Giga Wing 2 is a great game and a hidden gem in the Dreamcast library.
Giga Wing 2 takes place in the Serbian Republic. While two once peaceful parties, the Republic Army and the Union Garrison, are now in conflict over the power of a mysterious ark. To stop the conflict, the mercenary group Giga Wing is called in along with five of its members to take a personal stake in the proceedings. , Some were built to destroy the ark, others’ lives were destroyed by the war in Serbia. But one thing is clear: art must be destroyed.
Five new pilots enter the fight but the differences are not as clearly as before and come down to shot pattern, power and speed. Limi has an explosive shot that is difficult to use as it adds to the onscreen chaos. Cherries can fire in every direction which is great for beginners. Kart’s shot is wide and it is much slower than the others. My personal favorite is the one that’s probably the most straightforward but I love that. While it’s a bit disappointing that the characters don’t have much personal quirks to their ships, there’s enough extra nuance to the game’s mechanics to make up for it.
The innovative Reflection Force returns and the scope has been expanded in such a way as to enhance the gameplay. Now you have two options: reflect the obstacle and reflect the laser. The Reflect Barrier mostly works the same way as the original. However one important nuance has been added to help in getting higher marks. If you are shooting, reflect in that direction. This makes it easier to cluster and collect medal spawns. The reflected laser is very cool and clearly intended for beginners. Instead of reflecting bullets it absorbs them to power the homing lasers. The more bullets are absorbed, the more lasers are fired. The tradeoff is that they randomly choose their targets. For those who find it hard to use, this is an easy option. I honestly can’t decide which one I prefer; The implementation of both is brilliant for having a good time.
The bullet’s reflection isn’t just a cool gimmick. This also leads to further mechanics. Defeated enemies win medals that multiply your score. Breaking bullet range or reflecting enough bullets to produce more than 100 medals creates a volcano in which everyone The medal is divided into 10-13 more medals. It’s utter chaos onscreen and the key to earning scores in the quintessentially. This is where the specifics of the reflective force come in. In the last few seconds of the blockage, it shrinks before exploding outwards. You can manipulate the bullets in this small window to group enemies and medals together to trigger a volcano. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a score chaser and the ridiculousness of the game’s total points means I don’t care. But triggering the volcano is extremely fun and a great way to clear the screen.
It’s important to master these nuances because even though the game is accessible with multiple difficulty settings, it can still be daunting. There is no extra life and extra firepower is minimal. The game wants you to focus on the reflective force in order to survive and offers a practice mode for doing so. No matter how crazy the chaos may be, when you can navigate the madness and walk immaculately it is manageable and extremely satisfying. Yes, you can abuse infinite credits to force your way. But it’s not beneficial and chances are you’ve overlooked the mechanics if you’re doing this. It’s not a particularly long game, so it’s not like the challenge is insurmountable.
There are seven levels in total, although it’s not exactly accurate. The last three stages are all lengthy boss battles with multiple stages. But the game has replay value beyond that. Each of the four starting characters has different weapons that affect the way you play and your strategy. Plus you can also unlock the original cast and their ships. While watching the five heroes and how they interact with the new mechanics is incredibly fun, it’s not like the game wasn’t meant to be. There’s a four player cop mode that I’ve never had a chance to participate in. There’s also an extensive art gallery that unlocks as you play with each character. Personally I like games so much that these are not necessary. But every bit helps.
Giga Wing was a triumph of 2D art and a beautiful game that pushed an insane number of sprites onscreen. Giga Wing 2 uses 3D graphics and is just as beautiful and more bang. The third dimension allows for impressive camera shifts and angles that frame the action in a way that is cinematic. It also allows for more elaborate special effects. Despite the growing spectacle, the game never forgets that it’s all in the service of the gameplay. But the increase in production prices is welcome. I can see how some people might like the work of 2d sprites but in my opinion the game looks as good if not better than its predecessor.
What a wonderful game. Giga Wing 2 is everything a sequel should be. Big, bad and better in every respect. Challenge for die hard shooter fans if you want it. It might seem daunting for beginners but the game is very accessible. I wholeheartedly recommend Giga Wing 2 as it is a very strong title in the Dreamcast library.