Reviewed by Malc

If Greenpeace knew about this game, they'd probably be up in arms. Quite often they're up in arms anyway, but it's just NOT ON slaughtering giant green wafer hatted walruses. Never mind Grand Theft Auto, Gemini Wing is all about killing innocent bats, dragonflies and hairy caterpillars, which is much more violent and disturbing.

Gemini Wing isn't your average 'cuteypie' shooter though, it's more like the baddies are drawn in a quasi-cartoon style, but not quite fluffy enough to put in a baby's pram. Graphics wise it's like a cross between Gunhed and Twin Bee if I think about it. Oh, just play it and see what I mean!

Gameplay is a bit different from your average vertical shmup. There's enough tricky bits to keep the most jaded shmupper smiling. There's places where the scrolling suddenly speeds up, and things go all blurry and whizzy. Rows of enemies appear on screen at once, space invader style, and you can't help trying to shoot the whole line, no matter if you might die or not. Parts of the game have at least 7 different types of enemies on screen at once, each of which has horribly unpredictable attack patterns. Like the ones which suddenly change direction when they pass your ship, or the ones that zoom in fast, homing in unerringly. One thing I don't like are the enemies' bullets - they look like floaty feathers, and are very hard to see in the cloud levels.

The weapons are my favourite bit of the game. You only seem to ever have a normal shot, but there are loads of smart bombs available. Occasionally, a PUG (power-up-giver) flies on screen, trailing a tail of icons. Downing the PUG will scatter the icons around the screen, and you often die trying to gather them all up. Once collected, these icons trail along behind your ship, ready to detonate on command. Some are pretty ineffective, like a rubbish three way blast, but there's also fire swathes, homing missiles and circular blasts, which are much better. If you're playing two player, if you die the second player can nab your dropped weapons, so be quick and get them back ASAP!

Unlike many other vertical shooters, you CAN crash into the background, like in level 3. This adds a new dimension to Gemini Wing, as you attempt to navigate through twisty corridors, and avoid actively growing greenery from the edges. There's even marshmallow stuff you have to blast through, a la Salamander.

Previously, to play this game you either needed a few coins, or the home version on an Amiga, C64, or one of those Japanese 68000 computers.

But now, with the release of Mame v31 it's here for download! YAY! Of course, you could always get the arcade PCB as well, I got mine really cheap, but I can hardly play it as it's vertical format and my machine is horizontal only:(

Score 7/10

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Level one, and things don't seem easy! Fortunately the spikes don't kill you, but everything else will. We're quite happy here, as we've got a trail of lovely smart bombs.

End of Level one, the aforementioned Walrus. Has a nice line in diving, don't let him bash you. Must have aspirations of being a salmon, climbing that waterfall like that...

It's quite a deep game:P

Here's a PUG with a tail of homing missile icons... grab em!

Those snapper enemies I hate. As soon as they come level with your craft, they do a right-angle handbrake turn and home in. This is level 2 btw.

End of level 2 Baddie, a rock with floaty eyes. They have a very fast laser attack, but can only shoot at 45 degree angles. Once you know this, you'll kill him easy. Who said you couldn't get blood out a stone?

This level is a bit of an anomaly. Once you kill the rock-eyes, a hole opens up, and you dive inside to this tricky area. Things get tight in here, and collecting a good supply of icon bombs is a must.

Near the end, the greenery grows in, but luckily you can shoot it and it withers. The grey-green strands aren't hittable though, so get past them quick.

Level Four, and the weather's got bad. Lots of great lightning effects, which turn all sprites black, it looks better than it sounds.

Here's on of your weapons in action, a REALLY handy fire wipe up the screen. You can tell which weapon is coming next by looking at which icon is closest to your ship.

Level 5 is the obligatory mothership level. These bats pop up out of the clouds, stay clear!

At the end of the mothership, a couple of skulls spin about, making it hard to concentrate on shooting the small gun turrets - blasting all of these will destroy the battleship.

Didn't last long on level 6, no not because I was crap! The room was getting really smelly. Becky (that's the baby) decided to poo her nappy when I started the game, and it was beginning to leak out by the start of this level. Figured I had only seconds before the dam burst so decided to do something about it.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie