Game Cover
©1986 Data East Corp.
Release: 1986-06-03 (¥4900)
Cartdridge DFC-BW

B-Wings is a vertical shooter by Data East and conversion of an arcade game originally released in 1984. The Earth Federation has dispatched its FX-1 prototype star fighter to counter an impending enemy attack. The elite pilot and his ship must both go on a suicide mission deep inside enemy territory. The general gist of the game is to fly though thirty levels, destroy enemy ships, ground installations and massive Gobunasu armored fortresses. Although the FX-1 is relatively weakly armed in its simplest form, it has the ability to equip weapon modules called "Wings". They come in ten different types - Anti-Wing, Cannon Wing, Dyna-Wing, Fire-Wing, Jump-Wing, Hammer-Wing, Multiple-Wing, Side-Wing, Van-Wing and Wide-Wing. Each Wing weapon-module has its own special characteristics - some have a longer range than others, some shoot in a specific direction, some use explosive shells whereas others fire a frontal jet of flames or shield the fighter against enemy attacks. Although the player can select a power Wing at the beginning of the game, a collision with another enemy ship results in the destruction of such module (the second action button also ejects the equipped Wing). Thankfully in these emergency situations, the player has the option to collect other Wings left behind by special flying pods. The second action button also allows the player to dive down for a short amount of time in order to avoid enemy attacks (ejecting the equipped Wing in the process). B-Wings features a two-player alternating option.
screen shot screen shot
screen shot screen shot
screen shot screen shot
B-Wings arcade game The original B-Wings arcade game (also known as Battle Wings) was released by Data East in 1984 (picture on the left). However, the Famicom conversion tested here is drastically different and is more a remixed version than an straight port. The original arcade game had enemies on the ground layer, and although players can still dive down in the Famicom port, this maneuver is now only designed to escape enemy attacks. Then all the enemy installations actually floated over the background, unlike the Famicom port where they are part of the scenery and are laid out on a grid-like pattern. The list of available Wings is also different - whereas the arcade features eight, the Famicom version has ten on offer (plus three hidden ones, see the secret section), and removed the Ground-Wing designed to fire down on the ground (as aforementioned, ground enemies do not exist in this port). Also, the arcade game didn't have any music which is not the case for the Famicom port. Finally, the original game consists of forty five levels, whereas the Famicom port features thirty.

Game Staff (Copied from the game's end credits) :


H. Yoshida
Y. Sugahara
N. Nakazawa
A. Hara
T. Yamaguchi
Y. Kitahara

Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook


B-Wings manual
Click on picture to enlarge

B-Wings Stage select:
On the title screen, hold Up and press A, hold Right and press A, hold Down and press A, hold Left and press A, hold Left and press B. You will hear an explosion sound confirming you that the code is enabled. Press select twice to highlight the Continue option and press Up and Down to select a level (picture on the right). Press start to play.

Weapon select:
Once the Stage select code has been activated, pause at anytime during the game and press Select to cycle through the available Wings (this comes in limited quantities though).

Hidden Wings:
There are three hidden Wings in the game that seem to appear after destroying certain obstacles (it is not really clear which ones). The first one shoots large ring-shaped beams, the second one shoots black spheres (identical to the Hammer-Wing) in eight directions and the third Wing shoots pink helix-shaped beams in four directions.

Secret Items:
B-Wings hidden items Most of these secret items are hidden inside certain obstacles, and turn into an umbrella when shot at (which doesn't seem to have much effect). The most common item is shaped like a letter - the player must shoot it in order to change that letter and eventually equip another Wing. Another one is a flashing Vol item that gives the player the ability to switch weapons. Once activated, the player can pause the game and press select to equip another Wing. However, this only works once, and another Vol item needs to be picked up to switch again (they can be stocked up though). Other items are a lot more obscure - a set of items with card faces on them give various upgrades such as an armor or extra lives, and one shaped like a horse head (or a chess knight piece) doesn't seem to do anything (maybe just extra points ?). Finally, another one shaped like a shooting star gives the player the ability to warp ahead and skip four stages!

Add your Pov here !

I have mixed feelings about B-Wings. The game starts out pretty slow and you expect it to gain momentum along the way... but it never really does. I mean, the game isn't necessarily all bad news - the action is fast and each stage features its own set of unique enemies and hostile bosses. The latter actually follow the same formula throughout the game, and consist of multiple connected modules (well, except maybe for a couple of odd balls, such as a giant spider and a green frog). There is also some strategy to it - for instance, some bosses or levels are easier to beat with a particular Wing, and it can be fun to find out which ones (the game gives you some clues though). But levels are a bit bland and, the fact is, most of them look alike. Also, all the Wing modules look pretty much the same, their firing range is very limited and it is quite hard to distinguish them in the fire of action. I am also not a big fan of the soundtrack which feels a bit too "joyful" for a shooter. In the end B-Wings is a mixed bag, tons or weapons but half of them are useless, the bosses are impressive but rather repetitive in design and the ship just moves too slowly. Although looking for all the secrets hidden in the game certainly add some replay value, B-Wings is in the end an average shooter.

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