Wings (Game Boy Advance) review
""Wings" is a World War I flight-simulator/shooter game based off an old Amiga game from Cinemaware. The GBA version has many different missions, while keeping to the same formula of the original. There's Dogfighting missions (The Flight-Simulation part), Strafing missions (The Shooter part), and Bombing missions (Pretty self-explanatory). You can be either the Allies or the Germans, with over 100 missions for each side. "
"Wings" is a World War I flight-simulator/shooter game based off an old Amiga game from Cinemaware. The GBA version has many different missions, while keeping to the same formula of the original. There's Dogfighting missions (The Flight-Simulation part), Strafing missions (The Shooter part), and Bombing missions (Pretty self-explanatory). You can be either the Allies or the Germans, with over 100 missions for each side.
It's the beginning of World War I. Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungary throne, has been assassinated and the Imperialist nations of Europe use this event as a reason for declaring war on each other. You are a young pilot who is a part of a squadron. Each side has their own stories. Your squadron will complete missions in the Western Front and anywhere else the war is being fought. There are some interesting stories within the campaign, and they usually explain why you're going on the mission. It's also interesting because the stories are told in the first-person perspective, which means that you are given your characters' thoughts on the area and missions, and since you can play as either side, you are given the Allied view and the German view on the war.
The view of your plane is always from an inside-the-cockpit perspective. The default cockpit view setting displays your pilot and the inside of the plane. The only problem with this view is that your visibility is very limited. Of course, there's an alternate view which removes the cockpit, making your visibility MUCH better. The Alternate view also adds a damage bar and when it's full, you get shot down. As for damage in the main view, when you get shot at, your plane will have bullet holes in it, and when you get shot down, your plane's engine will start spewing black smoke.
The Environment of the Dogfighting missions is well... plain. The whole mission usually takes place in different ground types: grass, desert, or snow. The background consists of mountains. Unfortunately, there is little detail on the ground itself besides a few trees and shrubs, so it makes it tougher to know how far you are from the ground (Especially in emergency landings).
The view in strafing missions is now outside the plane in a 3/4 isometric perspective, not unlike the perspective used in the the Tony Hawk games. Strafing missions definitely are much more detailed than dogfighting missions. Your plane looks better and all the objects (buildings, trenches, vehicles, and even the ground) look very detailed. The explosions look nice too.
Bombing missions are done in a top-down view. The ground, sea, and vehicles are less-detailed than in strafing missions. Other than those problems, they're pretty much the same as strafing missions.
The sound and music of this game are excellent. During all the missions, the most common sounds are your plane's engine and machine guns. When you destroy something you will hear an explosion. Of course, there are many other sounds during the missions, made when you destroying your enemies.
The music is only on the menus, but, along with the "Join the Army" posters that mark the beginning of a new campaign, it definitely fits the World War I movie theme. They're very bright tunes that you would expect to hear in some World War I movie, and the music changes when you enter a new campaign. You will also hear some dramatic sounding music when you enter a mission and sad music when you die (And your coffin is being put into a grave).
There are three different types of missions; Dogfighting, Strafing, and bombing. Each are very fun and have many interesting objectives. Also, your pilot will have different skills. Each of these skills, when given skill points from missions, will improve how your plane handles, your guns' power, how often your guns jam (Mechanical), and even how much stamina you have.
Dogfighting missions are classic combat flight simulation missions. Usually the objective in dogfighting missions is to shoot down all of the enemy planes. Although in some missions, there is an additional objective such as destroying an enemy bomber or enemy observation balloons. The controls in this mode are pretty simple. A shoots off your machine guns, B changes your cockpit view, and the shoulder buttons let you look to the sides and behind your plane.
One problem I have with this mode is that the AI can get pretty dumb; most of the deaths or emergency landings you will most likely get will be from collisions with your Wingmen and enemies, but it is only a small problem.
As for collisions when you hit a balloon or a bomber, they are non-existant! You literally fly through them without taking any damage. This can be pretty cheap as while "inside" a bomber, you can shoot it and it will still take damage.
Also, this is the only mode where your guns can jam and it does get pretty annoying since you're defenseless until the guns are back to normal. Another annoying thing about jammed guns is that they happen far too often, even when you have your mechanical skill full.
Strafing missions will probably remind people of the game "Desert Strike". There are many different objectives you'll get for this type of mission. It can be destroying everything from Infantry to trains to giant Zeppelins! There are also secondary objectives which allow you to get more skill points. The controls are also very simple: A fires machine guns and B gives your plane a speed boost.
Bombing missions are just like strafing missions, only you're using a limited amount of bombs instead of an unlimited amount of machine guns and it's viewed in a top-down perspective. The only problem with this mode is that one bomb can only hit one target at a time, which means that if a vehicle is next to a building, it will most likely hit the building instead of the vehicle.
There are over 100 missions for each side, so this will definitely last a long time. There's also a Gallery mode that allows you to replay all of the missions from all of the operations. Also, there is a cartridge save that allows you to save after every mission (Although you might not want to save after you fail a mission or die).
There's even a multiplayer (Multiple cartridges required) mode using the dogfighting mission type! You and up to three other pilots can duke it out in a Battle Royale, Team Deathmatch, or Balloon Battle (Shoot down the other team's balloon before they can do the same to yours). You can also assign AI pilots if your teams aren't even enough or if your deathmatch needs more opponents to destroy.
The Bottom Line
Good visuals and audio, 200 missions, three different types of gameplay, and a multiplayer mode makes this a game you should definitely add to your Game Boy Advance collection.
Community review by sonicthedgehog (December 08, 2004)
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