Thursday, December 22, 2011

Game of the Day - Double Wings

Double Wings is a pretty typical vert shooter, but done very well.  You choose one of many planes (bi-planes) to fly and then take off to conquer all the normal arcade shmup enemies.  The graphics are very sharp and quasi-cute.  And the sounds are nice depending on which plane/weapon you are sporting (some of the weapons sound a little tinny).

There's a strange mascot in Double Wings and if you went to the University of Kansas (I didn't), you'll be pleased.  Because it looks just like a Kansas Jayhawk.  I don't see any explanation or know why they chose this, but the little bird introduces the levels, asks you to continue and generally hosts the game.  It looks just like it came off the basketball court at KU... weird.  Anyway, the little guy also shows up in the game.  When you continue, one of the first things that happens is that the little Jayhawk floats around for you to be able to pick-up (power-up).  If you get him, you are awarded some sort of power-up you wouldn't have otherwise had - sort of a reward for continuing.

The game can be very difficult - and the way you are respawned when you die and continue doesn't help.  Unlike other games of this era, where you usually respawn right where you were with the enemies still in their current status, Double Wings goes old school.  You are backed up a little on the level and any damage done to enemies is erased.  So, it can be very challenging to defeat the bosses.  Because if you die during the battle, you have to start over - you can't just pick up where you were with your next life and finish him off.  It must have taken me 10 or so continues to beat the first boss.

One final thing to mention.   I know there are other games that do this, but I can't name any of them now, but Double Wings has a nice feature when it comes to scoring.  Every time you choose to continue, the last (ones) digit of your score gets incremented by one.  That way, your score might be 500,503 if you have continued 3 times - or 1,800,900 if you didn't continue at all.  It makes it so you can look at the high score table and immediately know how many continues someone used to achieve the score.  Very cool.

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