RetroView - Wings

RetroView - Wings


Pining away for a remake of Wings, we played the original version on the Amiga.

Platform: Amiga
Released: 1990
Genre: Action/Simulation

Significance: Last game released by the original Cinemaware company, a company that produced such classics as Defender of the Crown, Rocket Ranger, TV Sports Basketball and The Three Stooges.

The last game of a dying legend
RetroView - Wings
The saying goes - save the best for last - and that was arguably the case with Wings and the Cinemaware company. Although Cinemaware did produce a number of highly popular games in the late 1980's and early 1990's, including Defender of the Crown and The Three Stooges, Wings would be their last.

Wings was a World War 1 flight sim set between 1916 and 1918 around the Somme region. Although I use the term "simulation" loosely with regards to this game. There was no need to learn how to take off, or land as this was all done 'off-screen'. The simulation only really began when you were up in the air, and even then, it was a simplified version of a flight sim. That was probably the appeal of this game to the wider audience, as you didn't need to know the finer points of flying a World War 1 biplane.

The background of the game was well set out, with the high quality introduction sequence giving the gamer a little detail on how the war was going. There was also a journal where you were given a story about how the war was going, happenings around the airbase and historical details written by your alter-ego in the game. These journals were informative and interesting to read, but rarely had anything to do with the previous mission or following missions.

There were three types of missions. Firstly, there were bombing missions where the gamer was given a primary target and usually a secondary target to bomb beforehand. This was done in a birds-eye view, and was probably the easiest part of the game. The main difficulty was to dodge the anti-aircraft fire.

The second type of mission was the strafing run. This was done in an isometric style. This type of mission was a little more difficult than the bombing missions, as you needed to fly lower and were more susceptible to damage. The main target of these missions were road-trains full of enemy vehicles, anti-aircraft guns and minor targets (in importance and in size) were enemy troops positioned in the trenches. Those missions were probably the hardest due to the fact that the little guys would hide in the trenches and then pop up and shoot at the gamer - thus giving you little time to shoot back at them.

RetroView - Wings
The third, and major type of mission was the dog-fighting missions. These missions would account for half of the available missions in the game. As mentioned previously, to call this a flight sim would be overstating the game. All that was required was a joystick that enabled you to move left and right as well as up and down. Of course, you were flying World War 1 flying machines, so pulling up would cause the wooden box you called a plane, to stall. This would normally end your mission and your life as you would end up in a ball of flames somewhere in the French landscape. Many missions would be to bust enemy balloons that were spying on your troops on the ground, but inevitably these, as with all the dog-fighting missions, would lead to plane on plane battles. Your little pilot would indicate where enemy fighters were by turning his head in the direction of the enemy and you would then have to use your trusty trigger finger to shoot down those pesky "Huns".

RetroView - Wings
There were 237 missions in all, and to completely finish them all would take some time. After the missions, you were given a run-down of your performance, and if you were doing well, you could be awarded one of the five medals on offer. The game kept records on the number of planes shot down as well as the number of completed missions and gave you a ranking on your performance in four areas.

Although poor by todays standards, the graphics were amazing at the time and continued Cinemaware's usual high quality. Graphically, you could see the tiny men hiding in the trenches, as well as the enemy planes coming at you from a distance. The sound was of a high standard too, giving you the feeling that you were right in the thick of the World War 1 action.

Overall, this game was definitely a classic and worthy of a remake. Truly, if a remake for the PC were on the cards, this game would be one that would get me to put my hand in my wallet and slam some cash down at the cash register. Well, one can only hope.