The Sega Genesis Challenge – Wings of Wor

Wings of Wor is a shmup released in 1991 in Japan, Europe, and North America for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. The cover artwork by Boris Vallejo depicts Wor, our feather winged protagonist facing off against a strange bloated cyborg flying lizard thing. Really I have no idea what it is and have yet to encounter anything looking like it in the game. The controls are fairly straightforward with one button firing your weapon, one to select magic scroll, and one to activate the selected magic scroll. All in all, fairly straightforward. Wor is rather agile so dodging attacks is not very difficult except when the screen starts to fill with bullets.

The game starts with a pretty neat pseudo-3d star field before launching into the intro screen. The launches you straight into the action, just like all classic shooters, and very quickly you realize that none of these monsters make sense. Only a handful can really be identified as something recognizable (giant spiders, giant snails, skeleton thing) but for the most part you are fighting unknown crystals and strange orbs. The first time I saw one of the crystal monsters I thought it was a power-up and died when I collided with it.

Your special attack consists of magic scrolls that you collect throughout the stage. When you collect a scroll the letter will indicate what spell it is and once used it disappears. You can have a max of 3 scrolls at any given time. As stated before one of the controller buttons will cycle through your scrolls and the other activates the currently selected scroll. Honestly, I was excited about this when I read it in the instruction book but was completely disappointed with the execution. This could have been done so much better. Honestly I just gave up after awhile and stuck to firing my primary weapon which shoots a continuous stream if you hold the button down.

The difficulty level of these game is pretty high up there. You do have 3 lives before you have to continue and 5 continues before game over. Pretty standard. But when you die, regardless of where you are in the stage, you start back at the beginning. That is so incredibly frustrating. I know this is not the only shooter that does this, but I will say the same about any others that seem to reward memorization more than anything. To beat this game you will have to play the same exact stage over and over and over and over until you have ALL of the patterns memorized just so you can make it to the next level where you rinse and repeat. Oh and, by the way, you only have 3 lives and a handful of continues before you have to start over at the very beginning.

Honestly, I liked several of the visual effects in the game but that is really the extent of it. The frustrating lack of checkpoints, the crazy incomprehensible “monsters”, and the intense difficulty all combine to make this game one for the shelf, not the console. On the upside, it does have a fairly cool cover.