Giga Wing is a 1999 vertically scrolling shooter arcade game developed by Takumi and published by Capcom on their CPS-2 arcade system board and ported later that year to the Dreamcast console. The arcade version is notable for using a horizontally aligned monitor (much like Treasure Co. Ltd's Radiant Silvergun), something that is considered rare for a vertical shooter.
Giga Wing takes place during a fictional war within a steampunk setting. The player controls one of four different futuristic aircraft and must destroy enemy aircraft, tanks, ships, and buildings using both guns and missiles mounted on the aircraft and a limited supply of bombs which damage or destroy all enemies on-screen when used. The game is based on the player(s) trying to destroy a medallion which possesses great power. Many of the bosses use the medallion as a weapon. At the end, it shows that an evil man who pilots a ship called the "Stranger" is the real person who is in control of the Medallion, and was responsible for the war, as well as other conflicts in the past including World War 2, and you fight him three times as a mini-boss and as the last boss. He appears to be a friend of Stuck 30 years ago when you fight him with Stuck.
There are four different characters in the game, and each of them has their own individual storyline. Players can also do team play mode that has two characters at once, creating a new storyline. In each storyline, there are two endings. In the bad ending, the character the player uses will sacrifice their life in a kamikaze attack that destroys the Medallion. In team up mode, generally one of the character does this, but in sometimes both characters survive. In the good endings for either solo or team play, the characters don't sacrifice themselves.
The player chooses one of four different craft and shoots through seven stages. Each game (on default settings) begins with three lives, and an extend can be earned in stage four if specific requirements are met. The option to continue is given when all lives are lost, although the seventh stage is only accessible if the player does not use any continues.
Each ship in Giga Wing has three attacks.
- Normal shot (Tap the A button): A spray of bullets that can be strengthened by collecting power-ups.
- Reflect Force (Hold the A button): An attack that reflects all enemy bullets and sends them back in the enemy's general direction, causing damage.
- Force Bomb (Press the B button): A large attack that nullifies all bullets on screen and causes great damage to all enemies. Each fighter has a different explosion formation.
Power-ups and bombs
Power-ups are released when certain ships containing them are destroyed. A maximum of three can be collected; they increase the power of the player's guns. The power-ups are shown as purple P's that bounce around the screen. Once the player is destroyed, the P's that have been collected come out of the destroyed ship and must be recollected to get the players power level back to its former state.
Each ship starts out with two bombs and up to seven can be collected. Each bomb left in reserve after any boss fight gives the player a bonus.
Score multiplier system
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The points received for destroying enemies are the product of their nominal value and the player's current score multiplier, which is increased by catching the medals that some enemies and destructible scenery release when destroyed.
Catching the medals increases the current score multiplier by the current medal value, which in turn increases by 1, 5, 10, 20, or 100 multiplier points for every medal caught depending its type. For example, catching three "5 point" medals at the beginning of the game leaves the score multiplier at 31 (1+5+10+15) and the following medal will be worth multiplier points equal to its base value plus 30.
Score multiplier is also increased by 100 when obtaining P icon when player's ship is at maximum power level.
The score multiplier is reset to 1 when continuing after losing the last life; the current medal value is reset after losing each life.
Giga Wing is notable for having, at times, literally hundreds of enemy bullets on screen. To prevent the player from being overwhelmed, the game features the Reflect Force. The Reflect Force is a reflective shield that is activated after the player holds the A button down for a short period of time. Any enemy bullets that come into contact with it are reflected back in the general direction it came from. If a shot is reflected and hits an enemy, it becomes a 1-point multiplier medal that can be collected; this is a major contribution to score.
The reported world record score for Giga Wing is 291,252,468,839,040 points; the score multiplier mechanic entails a lower limit to the average score for each enemy of many thousands or several millions of points, and end of level bonuses are scaled accordingly.
Like other shooter games, Giga Wing contains a rank system. A player's 'rank' is determined by how well or badly they are playing, the game then adjusts the difficulty accordingly. It has been noted on one of Shmups.com's strategy threads that Giga Wing contains a simple rank system that is influenced by how early a player dies in the game. If a player were to live on one life for a good duration of the game, then the bullets would begin to travel much quicker. On the other hand, if one were to die earlier in the game, the bullets would travel much slower. In fact, some players 'suicide' as soon as the game begins to take advantage of this.
The sequence of first 3 stages (lava, base, train) are changed depending on the chosen character. If the game is started with 2 players, the stage sequence is determined by player 1.
If the player can complete stage 6 with only 1 credit, the stage 7 becomes available, otherwise the game ended with pilot sacrificing its own life to win the war. In the case of 2 players, both players must complete stage 6 with only the respective beginning credits to enter stage 7. Kana!
At the end of each level the player fights a boss character, such as a battleship, a huge bomber, or a building-sized tank. Destroying the boss is not necessary to complete the level, but the player will not receive the points bonus for it unless they shoot it down before the timer runs out.
Obtaining 100% boss break also gains bonus points.
The Dreamcast version of Giga Wing contains a few improvements over the arcade game, as well as a few bonus features:
- Slowdown present in the arcade version was eliminated
- Remixed music
- Character art has more detail
- Slightly changed minor enemy placement
- A score attack mode
- A gallery mode
- A fifth selectable plane (the Stranger) that is unlocked by either finishing the game with only one credit or by accessing a cheat code
- Giga Wing at Museum of the Game
- Takumi arcade GW site: Takumi arcade, DC
- Capcom GW site: arcade, DC
- Sega GW site
- Giga Wing (Arcade) at GameFAQs
- Giga Wing replays at Super-Play.co.uk