Video Game / Aero Fighters

A top-down scrolling Shoot 'em Up series by Video System, known as Sonic Wings in Japan (and sometimes in the rest of the world) (not to be confused with Sonic the Hedgehog). Known for having a variety of characters, ranging from stock nationality clichés to a dolphin and an infant.

The series spans six games, the first being on dedicated arcade hardware and the latter two being on the Neo Geo arcade platform. Aero Fighters 1 and 2 utilize modern fighter jets, but 3 has the cast using World War II-era planes instead. The next game, Sonic Wings Limited stayed exclusive to the Zinc arcade board, while Sonic Wings Special was released for the Sega Saturn and the Playstation. The last installment, Aero Fighters Assault, was exclusive to the Nintendo 64 and strayed from the formula, being a halfway realistic 3D flight simulation (developed by Paradigm Entertainment) instead of a vertical shoot'em up.

The squared-off font used in the logo was famously misread by John Green as Nerd Fighters.

The Aero Fighters / Sonic Wings series provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: Mao(-Mao)'s ending in the first Aero-Fighters, in which she seems to have Accidentally gotten stuck in her fighter which is fighting on it's own.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Angela, full bore. For starters, the character's called Steve in Aero Fighters 2. Everywhere else (Sonic Wings 2 included), they're called Angela. All you have to do is figure out why the translators felt justified in that. Making matters more difficult is that different ending pictures depict them as male or female. And, in Sonic Wings, Angela uses male pronouns. The best example of the situation is to compare their endings with Hien and Ellen. Pay close attention to how their hair is falling in each one...
    • In Keaton's ending with Angela, the latter was shown wearing a corset undergarment with a clearly feminine figure.
  • Battleship Raid: A number of bosses follow this trope, being either true battleships or massive land-based moving fortresses.
  • Boss Game: The third game as well as Assault.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: If it weren't for this and the zany cast of characters, most people would be dismissing this game as yet another generic vertical shooter.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Crashing your plane in Aerofighters Assault will only subtract a bit of your health.
  • Difficulty by Region: For some reason, Aero Fighters 3 is a lot more difficult with the European BIOS than either the American mode or the Japanese original. Enemies are a lot more aggressive early on and bullets are faster.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game was a little more serious compared to the later games, despite having moments of comedy.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The joke final boss in the first game was a monkey, which has since appeared in other games combined or attacking with last stage's mid boss.
  • Expy: Assault has a few levels where you encounter a group of four enemy pilots that have the same powers as you and your wingmen. Each one will antagonize either you or one of your wingmen, forcing you to rescue them periodically. If you've played Starfox 64, this probably sounds very familiar.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: There's a secret ending in Aero Fighters 2 and 3 where a special final boss shows up. Regardless of whether or not you beat it, you get an ending with a penguin saying "Heh heh!"
  • Flat Character: William Sid Pride in the first game.
  • Flying Car: The guest character from Turbo Force is a jet-propelled sport car.
  • Follow the Leader: The final level of Assault bears a very strong resemblance to the Venom 2 level of Starfox 64. You even fight four enemy planes with abilities mirroring those of you and your wingmen before the final level, just like the final showdown with the Star Wolf Team in Venom 2.
    • You also have three wingmen that you frequently have to save from danger.
    • Assault only came out four months after Starfox 64. It's possible the similarities are coincidental, but the two games have a lot of similarities for it to be a coincidence.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The alternate final bosses, eg the monkey in 1, and the Bedsheet Ghost in 2.
  • Good Bad Translation: Lots of them.
  • Guest Fighter: Ships from Rabio Lepus and Turbo Force appear as secret characters in several games. And in Aero Fighters Special, it gives up a few more such as some of heroes from ''Karate Blazer ending up flying a plane with its owner, whom they're introduced to after beating the first level.
  • Heroic Dolphin: There is a dolphin fighter jet pilot able to communicate in human languages.
  • Multiple Endings: All pilots have them, regardless of whether you're flying solo or with someone else, and whether or not you successfully defeat the final boss. In the rest of the series except for Assault, there's even endings for each possible pair of characters.