Wingz (PS2)

This is an unreleased Korean game developed by Joycast and Hanbitsoft in 2002. There are three known builds: B2 (17/10/02); B3 (25/10/02) B4 (31/10/02). Although separated by only a week each, there seems to be progress in each version.

In the first two, you are invulnerable, whereas you take damage in the final one. More videos are included in each build, and the B4 has the best quality cutscenes. Weirdly enough, it is the B2 build that has the most playable levels from the later part of the game. This brings us to another problem with all three versions: although you can skip to the next level by pressing Select, levels 3A and 4b frequently either fail to load or crash the game.

Looking at the game’s coding, there are six levels, with twelve individual missions in total. Again, not all levels work in all builds.

You have the choice of four pilots and ships, each with different weapons. There are RPG elements in the game in the form of a shop to buy upgrades and weapons, but this does not seem to function.

The loading screens are all in Korean, but I got an online translation of the old official Joycast Wingz website:

Civilization, created without limits by mankind, eventually led to a catastrophe of energy shortages and water depletion. In addition, the concept of a nation increasingly disappeared and a group of civilizations formed. Furthermore, the concept of imperialism, which favoured the interests of the group rather than the individual, grew.

In 2026, war broke out between old national interests over the issue of owning a region's water. This war was large enough to be called the "end-of-civilization war" in later times.

In 2036, the war was over and the Earth was divided into three factions: Glathica, Zenus, and Monrovia, which maintained an ongoing and complex conflict between the three. Zenus, a group of imperialists who survived the war, plans to hire a terrorist group to attack the other two States, but Glathica, a mysterious state surrounded by domes, quickly detects it and switches from defence to counterattack. However, the relatively less-prepared free-Earth Monrovia hires mercenaries to combat the terrorist aggression sent by Zenus. Meanwhile, Maxx, Anna, Gina, and Bjorn, mercenaries employed in Monrovia, each enters a new war for personal purposes. They all have deep love and animosity. What decisions will they make in a war where life and death intersect ...?

Platform : PS2 (I'm preparing for convergence on Xbox and PC in the future)
Coming soon: Autumn 2002
Genre: 3D Flying Shooter

Publisher : HanbitSoft

So we have a war setting, with three conflicting factions. The game is very linear, though, and all four characters progress through the same missions. These are as follows:

1A - You fly through futuristic city, with a constant flow of enemies shooting at you.

1B – Another city, this time out at sea. The level features stormy weather.

2A – A desert canyon and rock formations.

2B – Another desert, this time with ancient Egyptian ruins. There’s a humanoid mecha that pursues you across the landscape, and a large arachnid mech as a boss.

3A – One level that presents the most problems across all three builds for some reason. The setting is a port of some description, with derelict ships and cranes.

3B – Continuing the sea theme, this mission has a half-sunken city.

4A – Back to the coast, with another port and old battleships. The mecha from 2B returns to harass you.

4B – Another mission that has issues with loading. This is a very impressive level, as you fly through a vast cityscape.

5A – Going underground this time, flying through caves and on into a large city.

5B – The setting switches to a series of manmade tunnels.

6A – Another hi-tech city, and even more impressive than 4B.

6B – The final level, where you have to attack a floating city. Unlike the previous levels, this is not on rails. You use L2 and R2 to move forwards and back. This level only really loads in the B2 build, but there are no enemies to fight. You can destroy the city (hope there are no civilians in there) and that triggers the ending.

The game has an opening video which sets the scenario for each of the four main characters. This is different in the B2 version and the characters have a different look to them. In the B3 and B4 builds, each of the four characters has a short video, all four of which are then repeated in the one of the two ending videos. Did each of these form a separate ending, with the longer video available when you finish the game with all four characters? The videos show each of the individuals pilots in a bar, when an unidentified assailant burns down the door. Maxx responds by firing his gun, probably joined by the others. Then there’s only the legend, “To be continued”. Given the amount of work that went into the game by this stage (there is even a credits video), the developers may have been looking at a sequel.

In conclusion, all levels of this on-rails shooter can be played, although the final one lacks enemies. Why it was cancelled is unknown, but it's worth seeking out and playing.

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