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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | Previews | GigaWing 2

GigaWing 2
Reflect bullets for fun and profit (if you can live that long). - by Mr. Domino

GigaWing 2 Logo

Bomb. Die. Bomb. Die. Bomb. Die.

That's probably most people's experience with GigaWing, the Takumi CPS2 arcade game that Capcom was kind enough to bring onto the Dreamcast. GigaWing is a real quarter sucker brought home, and the seemingly impossible bullet frenzy had most people dismissing the game as a shallow shooter. Not only did the game look old, but its gameplay was pretty stale as well. Takumi fixed a lot of the gameplay problems with Mars Matrix, making the experience interesting enough to enjoy but still too tough and ugly looking for many.

So, why get excited about another Takumi shooter, let alone a sequel to GigaWing? Well, for starters it's going to look really nice. Sure, graphics shouldn't be a reason alone to be interested in a game, but considering how bad the first two Dreamcast ports looked, GigaWing 2 is a miracle. The game uses 3-D background art over 2-D gameplay a la Radiant Silvergun, and the result is a great looking, stylish shooter which actually looks worthy of the Dreamcast. Fans of 2-D art may be disappointed with the move from 2-D to 3-D, but then Takumi's artists, well, aren't worth crying up some spilled milk over exactly. While the GigaWing designs were average and Mars Matrix way too bland and muddy, GigaWing 2 raises the bar for Takumi with some really nice character and level designs. The character art is actually good for a change, and the levels are impressive thanks to the ever shifting movement provided by the 3-D backgrounds and locales. Everything animates convincingly, from the propeller blades on the craft to the cannons on larger ships. Being a Naomi port certainly helps bump up the resolution, and the port looks terrific on the home screen (cough Mars Matrix cough).

The bullet hell continues with GigaWing 2, though it's more pattern based this time around.

Cutscenes tell the story! The story is told via cutscenes!

The most striking visual change besides the sparkly new 3-D graphics is the new art direction. GigaWing 2 is a prequel, taking place in 1908. This means the game takes on a more mechanical theme a la Steel Empire, which is a nice change of pace. As far of the Special Mercenary Commando force "GigaWing," you are sent to take out a revolution in the Celvenia Republic. (What's with political themes in Takumi's shooters?) Each of the five pilots in "GigaWing" have their own unique ship with its own weapons. The ships sport more variety than the standard wide shop/beam selections, using different ammo in addition to altering firing angles to make things interesting. There are even more hidden ships ready to be unlocked, including the original GigaWing crew, adding to the longevity of the game.

Of course, gamers can't live on graphics alone (insert Sony joke), so thankfully GigaWing 2 has more to offer than just the same old game in a new shiny cover. GigaWing 2 does mark the return of the reflect shield but also throws in some reflect lock on lasers to make things a bit more interesting. The more bullets you reflect or absorb into lasers, the more powerful the weapon. As in Soukyugurentai, you'll need to know when to employ the best weapon to make it through alive, and considering the source, things are going to be much tougher in GigaWing 2. New shooter fans or those whose reflexes are stagnant need not apply. Sure, you could burn through the game on unlimited credits, but where's the fun in that? Don't try to answer, cause it's a trick question. There is no fun, you see.

Various modes of play ensure greater replayability.

The 3-D graphics breathe new life into the explosions.

However, there may be fun in store for GigaWing 2's new four player mode. Even considering the general shallowness of the original, having a four player mode is sure to be a huge addition worth taking note. While having that many players going at it at once is sure to make the game easy, it's still a nice addition and a good sign that Takumi isn't content to just rehash a game for a sequel. Of course, it's a challenge in itself just to find a second player to play a shooter with let alone three more, but maybe some of you are lucky enough to not have this problem. At the very least, having four players just alternating bomb launches will make the game easy enough to get other people in on albeit dull to play.

GigaWing 2 is looking more promising everyday. Most of the aesthetic gripes places on the developer's prior Dreamcast output seems to be addressed with the new look of the game. It's about time the Dreamcast got a shooter which really showed off the system's power. Although the bullet hell of GigaWing 2 and other Takumi shooters certainly isn't for everyone, what's here looks very promising for those who enjoy the challenge of the Toaplan school of shooters. Look for it to be delayed at a retailer near you!

Next: More screenshots!

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