Giga Wing

Shooters were starting to lose their steam in the late 90s and early 2000s but that didn’t stop developer Takumi Corporation teaming up with Capcom to release “Giga Wing” in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast. Giga Wing offers four different pilots to choose from each with their own storyline and weapons in this steam-punk inspired vertical shooter. Would Giga Wing become a hidden treasure on the Dreamcast or would it go down in flames?

Giga Wing revolves around a mysterious medallion that gives great powers to whoever possesses it. There are four characters to play as and each of them offers a separate story for their journey to the medallion. The story plays out in small text cut scenes of the characters talking to themselves and revealing their history.

From the manual:

“Numerous wars have been fought since ancient times – many civilizations have emerged and disappeared. The cause of the wars is Medallion, a divine stone that brings both prosperity and destruction to humankind. Uncounted civilizations have sought it, fought for it, and vanished. What they gained in their struggle for power was nothing short of annihilation!

Now, in the year 2050…

Civilizations of the world have again resumed fighting for Medallion with powerful weapons developed with advanced technology. This has become the most explosive war in history. Four air fighters take off into the sky. Each pilot carries a stone that holds mysterious power, said to be the only way to destroy Medallion. A new chapter is about to open in the never-ending saga of the fight for Medallion.

The future will soon answer the question: will this battle be the last?”

Here are the characters and their bios:

Sinnosuke is descended from a tribe that guards a powerful stone possessing the ability to summon thunder and lightning. He is on a mission to destroy the Medallion, which has caused his people to wage war among themselves. The only way to stop this madness is to disintegrate the Medallion once and for all.

Isha has trained as a pilot all of her life. At one time, she was a famous ace fighter pilot, but she quit the Air Force to pursue peace. Since that time, Isha has lived in a spiritual community, nursing the sick and injured. Upon learning that the Medallion is causing her people to fight, she takes to the air once again in an all-out effort to destroy the powerful stone.

Hailing from the southern continent, Ruby used to be an aerial pirate. Ashamed of her past, she foreswore her life of plunder and founded on orphanage to help children in need. This time, she’s joining the air war to protect the future of all children.

Now a retired doctor, Stuck lost his eye in an air accident, and through his own kill replaced it with a cybernetic orb. When his wife was stricken with a terminal disease, Stuck tried to use the power of a magic stone to save her. Instead, the stone transformed her into a golden statue. Now Stuck fights to find a way to reverse his wife’s condition.

I played as Sinnosuke and didn’t do too well with him so I switched to Stuck who was a bit better for my style. In the end, Stuck’s wife is transformed back from the golden statue to her healthy normal self granting Stuck’s wish after the Medallion is destroyed.

Giga Wing sounds cool but that’s about as far as the game gets to being cool. There’s very little introduction at the beginning of the game with just a brief text message about a powerful medallion. I was taken back by the graphics and not in a good way. This game easily looks like it belongs on the Super Nintendo which was two generations ago from the Sega Dreamcast. Nothing about the environments, enemies, gameplay, or controls made me think this game belonged on the Dreamcast.

I like that you can select between four different fighters and that each has different stories and weapons. The best part about the game was the character designs, I thought each looked unique with colorfully illustrated portraits bringing the characters to life. I only beat the game with Stuck so I’m not sure how the other characters act but he was full of terrible dialogue. There was a massive explosion at the end of one of the levels and he says “I must have been in a massive explosion” and later when he is in another dimension fighting the Medallion, he remarks to himself “I should have brought a camera.”

Giga Wing is a vertical scrolling shooter and on the Dreamcast, I thought I was in for a treat. I was sadly wrong as it offers a very quick playthrough with about six levels. You can customize the game with difficulty and how many bombs you have which was cool but the actual gameplay was sub-par. It’s a shooter that will fill the screen up with thousands of bullets and one hit kills you. The ship you control isn’t speedy and it doesn’t steer very well so death will occur multiple times throughout each level. That’s okay though because you have unlimited continues making the game beatable within twenty minutes. You can shield yourself briefly by charging your weapon which would come in handy if you needed it but since you just respawn with unlimited lives I didn’t use it. I did use the secondary weapon which was massive bombs that would blow up all enemies on the screen. Your bombs were restocked after each death so sometimes it was beneficial to die. I used the bombs on the bosses taking them down within twenty seconds. The final boss was cool but like the rest of them the bombs took him down.

Never heard of this game until I googled “Dreamcast Shooters” and it came up. I was disappointed, to say the least after playing it.

Giga Wing would rate higher if it was on the Super Nintendo or Genesis because it looks like it belongs on those consoles instead of the Dreamcast that is shoulder-to-shoulder with the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube. It’s not a difficult or long game but the characters add some replay value. I don’t recommend it unless you are a shooting fanatic. It’s best the leave this forgotten game, well forgotten.

Giga Wing scores a 5.7 out of 10.

Do you remember when Giga Wing first came out? Who did you choose to play as? Did you think highly of this game or am I wrong about my views associated with it? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!

If you’d like to own a copy of Giga Wing, you can purchase a used copy of it for the Sega Dreamcast from eBay for around $55.

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