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
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 its 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 from Above: Among others the bomb of the Harrier (AV-8) in Aero Fighters, that causes several Vulcan bombers to carpet-down the sceen.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Crashing your plane in Aero Fighters Assault will only subtract a bit of your health.
- Demoted to Dragon: Gorgonzula is bumped from one of two final bosses to penultimate boss before Lar or Tenukie in Aero Fighters 2. Lar and Tenukie themselves end up joining him in Aero Fighters 3.
- 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 the last stage's mid boss.
- Excuse Plot: A terrorist organization called Fata Morgana (or was it Phutta Morgana?) is trying to Take Over the World with the help of some otherworldly creatures known as the Hildride (or are they Hildroids)? The protagonists are part of an international peacekeeping force called "Project Blue" trying to stop them. Project Blue and the terrorists were only mentioned in the manuals for Special and Assault, whereas the Hildride are mentioned a grand total of once during "The Man"'s solo ending in Aerofighters 3. The first two games? No plot at all.
- 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.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The alternate final bosses: Gorgonzula the Killer Space Monkey in 1, Tenukie the Bedsheet Ghost in 2, and Soh-Takeko the Mahjongg-Tile girl in 3.
- 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 Blazers ending up flying a plane with its owner, whom they're introduced to after beating the first level.
- Heroic Dolphin: Spanky, a dolphin fighter jet pilot able to communicate in human languages.
- Inconsistent Dub:
- Many characters who get a Dub Name Change revert to their original names in later games, including Glinda (Glenda), Steve (Angela), Cindy (Cincia), Kohful (Kowful) and the boss Amadan (Bazeel).
- Hien for some reason has a hyphen in his name in Aero Fighters 2.
- Spanky reverted to his Japanese name (Whity) in Aero Fighters Special, but was changed back to Spanky in Aero Fighters Assault.
- The villainous organization the heroes fight against is called Fata Morgana in Aero Fighters Special and Phutta Morgana in Aero Fighters Assault.
- The "special" Final Boss in Aero Fighters is called "Gorgonzula" in the manual but "Mohetu Saru Bomb" ingame. Incidentally, the Japanese versions aren't consistent with his name either, alternating between "Super Monkey Bomb" and simply "Great Ape".
- Some copies of the third and fourth games retain the Sonic Wings title in the English version.
- Given the very limited English release Special had, many of the above are likely the result of a rushed translation.
- 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.