Wings of Wor – Cry Havoc! and Let Slip the Angel of Wor!

Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  IT’S FANTASY SHOOTER MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Game: Wings of Wor

Console: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

Developer: Masaya

Publisher: DreamWorks

Release Year: 1991

Sticking with the “Winged dudes with laser guns” motif, Wings of Wor for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive fits perfectly with everything I’m celebrating this month.  It’s a fantasy-themed shooter AND a game that’s creepy as hell, making it more than appropriate to play during that other holiday most people observe in October.  What I really like about the box art is how there’s this demon dragon about to rip into this guy, and he feels it’s appropriate to strike a karate pose and fire his gun at nowhere near the evil reptile with nipple tubes.  It’s just brilliant.

I thought about it, and I really don’t want to know what these are for.

After much scrutiny over the box art, I figured a game with a cover that doesn’t make any sense or even requires correct spelling must be good.  So I whipped out the cartridge and…

Aw, gross!

Yeah… that’s disappointing.  What, did DreamWorks waste their art budget on those sweet nipple tubes?  It was money well spent, but they could have at least put a sticker on the cart or something.  Maybe one of those little lame stickers my sisters used to always get from the drawer at the dentist’s office because they were too scared of the finger-puppet monsters?  Anything would have been better as long as it added a little color.

Remember how sweet these were!?

No matter.  Even though the cartridge was about as thrilling as reading a newspaper from across the street, the game’s far from bland.  The first things I noticed after starting the game were the parallax-scrolling river and the suitably epic soundtrack.  The music starts out rocking your face off, but then throws in a flute solo here and there, kind of like if Jethro Tull had decided to stop sucking and put the flute away, but then decided to start sucking again mid-song.  It’s a pretty cool sound, and it reminded me of Shining Force, so you know I like it!

The next thing I noticed was how tiny my sprite was.  I’m an angel named Wor, for crap’s sake!  I should be a sight to behold!  My enemies should gaze upon my visage and tremble, much like the lady parts of women as Wor enters a room!  The title screen actually shows that very angel, an angel worthy of the name Wor, in the single most bad ass pose ever conceived: The Crane Kick!

Sweeping the leg won’t help you now!

Hell, yeah!  I’m ready to mess some shit up now! First thing I see, I’m going to wax on, wax off so hard!  I’ll…

OMG!  He’s soooooo adorable!

What the hell!?  He looks like a Precious Moments ornament!  I can’t been seen playing something like this!  I have a reputation to uphold!  I don’t want people thinking I play games that compromise my sexuality!  I better start killing things, quick!

That’s when I noticed how weird the shots looked.  The bullets are very… unfocused.  Wor seemed to sporadically fling energy balls in the general direction in front of him.  I didn’t like it at first, but when I got to a part where about a billion trilobites came at me and immediately exploded from my scatter shot, I fell in love.

Yes!  Explosions!  My manhood is secured for another day.

It was just odd to see your tiny sprite dole out so much devastation.  But ADD shooting isn’t the only thing Wor can use to wreck your ass!  He also has… feathers.  Geez, really?  Why not let him collect bubbles to make him stronger?

If only I’d said “cigar-smoking monkeys.”  This game could have been amazing!

I don’t know if those are bubbles, but they look like it, so they suck.  They come in blue and red, and they power up your weapons and your magic, respectively.  Magic is used by collecting scrolls, and they give you more powerful shots, options, or shields.  Nothing too remarkable.  The only other kind of power up in the game takes away your scatter shot, so fuck it.

Moving on, the levels are interesting and fucking weird.  You got your underground river level, your haunted house level, your… unexplained and out-of-place blood stream level?

That’s you behind all that hemoglobin.

There’s no reason given as to why you’re in a blood stream.  You just go with it because, you know, video games.  But the weirdest level has to be the Man Factory.

And if you look to your right, you’ll see where we make screaming faces.

All through the level you have to fight mechanized, disembodied limbs and heads.  It’s just a little creepy, especially since the beginning enemies were standard fare for a fantasy shooter: spiders, seagulls, fish, generic monsters and volcanoes.  But most of the later enemies are pretty weird: demon fetuses, spirits, and clouds that puke from their eyes.

I really do need an answer this time, Japan.

I think the thing that weirds me out the most about this game is that most of the enemies are faces or heads, and they’re usually stuck in that expression from The Scream.  I don’t know why, but it’s disconcerting.  However, it does make blowing them up that much more satisfying!

You’re next, Munch!

The majority of the bosses are either heads or things with faces that shouldn’t have faces.  The first level boss is a good example:

I call him Train Face!

He’s dumb as hell, though.  I beat him by using the oldest trick in the shmup book:

Point-Blank Face Blasting!  It’s a dying art.

I seriously just stood in that one spot and unloaded on him.  It was outstanding.  Too bad you can’t do that to any of the other bosses.  Take Giant Pirate Head.  Staying in one spot guarantees death.

He has a pirate ship as his pirate’s hat.  Your argument is void.

The bosses don’t get any less frightening as they gain more humanoid bodies; in fact, they become much, MUCH more disturbing.  For instance, there’s.. um… this guy:

I’m pretty sure he wants you to kill him.

And then this guy:

I can’t be the only one who sees the giant dick, right?

Also, there’s Zombie Ghandi in a blood stream for some reason:

I don’t think zombies do hunger strikes.

It may go without saying, but the bosses in this game are the highlights.  Each one is so macabre and twisted, and they really leave an impression.  The design for each is just so cool and demented, I can’t help but like them.  I wanted to keep playing just to see what the hell I was going to fight next.

Wings of Wor is a fun shooter with some great boss designs and some memorable stages, albeit there only being six.  But I like my shooters short; most are really hard, and brevity ensures they don’t overstay their welcome.  This is the case with Wings: it’s short but sweet.  It also hits that sweet spot where difficulty is concerned.  It was never too steep despite there being one-hit kills.  Respawning immediately and keeping most of your power ups upon death helped a lot.  Gameplay-wise, Wings was mostly unremarkable.  I felt enemy fire was way to slow, and the last boss fight took FOREVER!  But, beyond that, this is a fun little shooter worth playing if only to see the sights.

Thanks for your Playing!  We’re halfway through Fantasy Shooter Month!  I hope you’re having as much fun reading as I am playing and writing!  I leave you now with this somber image.  See you next time!

I’m very proud of you.

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