Remember Legendary Wings? The
classic NES game, released in 1981 by Capcom, put you in control of a winged harbinger of
fireballs. Whats more, if you had an Icarus to your Daedalus, you could play
two-player simultaneous and dish out twice as much firepower. Great powerups, lots of
baddies, and both top-down vertical and horizontal scrolling. It entertained me and my
friends through endless sleepover gaming sessions. There have been plenty of shooters
since then, but none have come as close to mimetic re-interpretation of the classic NES
title as Gunbird 2. Capcom has given us many good things. Unfortunately, Gunbird 2 has one
tragic flaw of mythic proportion.
Like Legendary Wings, Gunbird 2 puts you in control of a flying
hero. You pick one of seven anime-styled super characters, and according to fashion, you
can play two-player simultaneous and double-team a slew of big, bad Pirate crew minions.
The action is frantic. The now classic Capcom style comes close to movie quality cartoons
on the latest systems. Everything blows up, bullets fly in insane quantities, youre
constantly getting bigger and better weapons, and each character has two kinds of special
that can really do some harm.
special move can be performed anytime you have a powerup, and is basically a super-powered
close-range attack. The second special can be done so many times per life, and obliterates
every bullet while damaging every enemy on the screen. These moves are devastating, and
fun to watch. But youll never really run out of your limited special, because you
die often enough to pretty much keep a good supply. Dying often is not the flaw of this
game you can continue to your hearts content, and even when both players die
and both players hit Game Over, you restart only a little behind wherever you were.
Continues are unlimited.
sounds like Gunbird 2 must be really tough, it is. Were it not for the ability to continue
all the time until you brute force your way through the game, it would be nearly
impossible to finish. And even when you get pretty good at it, it takes a lot of continues
to complete. While many gamers would rather have to get good enough at the game to beat it
with no continues, the "continue as much as you want" system is actually the
best possible scenerio for Gunbird 2.
suffers from what I like to call "Dragons Lair Syndrome." While it seems
like it could go on forever, the game is incredibly short in its entirety. The first time
I played, I beat it in 30 minutes. The second time, on a higher difficulty: 20 minutes. We
finished the Very Hard level in a scant 14 minutes of furious action. Gunbird 2 would just
be incredibly frustrating if you had to work for three weeks to realize the game is so
short. And it is this brevity that makes Gunbird a two star game.
appreciate classic forms, throwbacks, even kitsch, but that doesnt excuse games that
fit into these catagories from being fully formed. Gunbird 2 is a very cool game if you
hanker for some old-school top-down shooter action. But there is no reason to play this
game for more than two hours. You dont get more characters. Nothing changes when you
up the difficulty. The only extra modes are different ways of moving the screen. You can
play vertical scroll, horizontal scroll, or vertical scroll. Within a couple of hours you
will have beat it many, many times and played every character. Youll wonder where
the next level is.