Zero Wing: Simple But Intense!

Zero Wing

As mentioned in our other Toaplan reviews, Duncan and I have been playing these recently to review and enjoy. Enjoy is something we both did for sure, I didn’t suffer any technical issues with the games or their performance and I really enjoyed being drawn into to the intense art of an arcade shoot ’em up game again. Think the amusements when you were a kid and you are most definitely in the right ball park as to what to expect from the Toaplan Arcade Shoot ‘Em Up Collection Vol. 1.

Zero Wing

Zero Wing is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up arcade game that was first released in 1989. The game has since been ported to various platforms, including the Sega Genesis and PC. It’s PC and Steam Deck that we are focusing on in this review as this is where I spent time playing it.

The graphics in Zero Wing are basic and limited by the technology of the time, but they still manage to create a visually appealing and immersive experience. The sound effects and music are average, but they do a good job of adding to the game’s atmosphere. They really have captured the essence of retro in this, it goes without saying that on a modern day PC and also on Steam Deck they perform well. Zero Wing does show as officially unsupported for Deck but this essentially means that it hasn’t been tested as yet, however we can confirm it works perfectly without hitches at all.

The gameplay in Zero Wing is fast-paced and action-packed. Players control a spaceship and must navigate through levels filled with enemy ships and obstacles while avoiding enemy fire. The controls are responsive and easy to use, making the game accessible to players of all skill levels. I would say though that if you approach this is an old game with no real challenge, them you will be caught out as it very clearly has multiple ways that it can keep you on your toes and if you don’t have your skills and reactions about you, it will find a way to punish you.

Zero Wing

One of the most notable aspects of Zero Wing is its difficulty level, which can be challenging at times. Players will need to have quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination in order to succeed. The boss fights are especially intense and require players to dodge and shoot their way to victory. Overall, Zero Wing will take just under the hour mark to complete and take down all the bosses, but much like Twin Cobra, there’s a huge amount of steam achievements that will keep you fighting on to ensure that you collect them all!

Feature wise, they have retained the original game features, whilst also adding in quality of life improvements to the game as we note below.

Original Game Features
• Skill-based shoot ‘em up action with horizontal scrolling in a treacherous galaxy full of enemies, bosses and levels!
• Capture your enemies with the powerful “Seizer Beam” and fire them at their allies for devastating destruction!
• Take control of the Red Scatter Cannon, Blue Laser, and Green Homing Missiles and upgrade them for even greater
• Invite a second player at any time in the co-op version!
• Rock out to the original soundtrack from composers Tatsuya Uemura, Masahiro Yuge, and Toshiaki Tomizawa

Quality of Life Improvements
• Minimal Input Lag: Emulation, input processing, and rendering all complete on the same frame.
• Quick Save using F1-F10, Reload with Shift+ F1-F10
• Online leaderboards for Single Credit, No Assist, and Assisted plays

Instrument panels with extra gameplay information and artwork.
• Rewind the game between 10-18 minutes, depending on the action.
• Capture sharable replays to immortalize your interstellar victories (or funny moments).
• Assist Features such as auto-fire at multiple rates.
• Very Easy Mode: Lower the difficulty to breeze through the adventure.
• Pixel perfect or full-screen scaling in windowed orfull-screen mode.
• Rotate the gameplay in 90-degree increments.
• Steam Achievements
• Choose between Raw Input on Windows or Steam Input.
• Hone your skills in the ultra customizable practice mode!

In conclusion, Zero Wing is a classic arcade-style shoot ’em up game that is well-worth checking out for fans of the genre. Despite its basic graphics and average sound, the game’s fast-paced gameplay and challenging difficulty level make it an enjoyable and satisfying experience. If you’re looking for a retro shooter that will put your skills to the test, then Zero Wing is definitely worth a try.

As with Twin Cobra, Zero Wing delivers a retro experience that people definitely need to experience and overall the care and attention put into this, it delivers a really solid experience, whilst coming to life on Steam Deck and not taking up a huge amount of space. For this reason, I’ve opted to maintain a rating of 3 stars as it’s a solid all rounder that will provide achievement hunters endless hours of fun.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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