But now, one of the rebels finds himself coming back to life. He has become Armed with Wings, the avatar of Blackmist, divine matter that composes all beings of this world. Armed with Wings is one being in two a man, and an eagle. With this new power, he now has another chance to defeat Vandheer Lorde once and for all.
Armed with Wings is a free flash game on Newgrounds created by Daniel-Sun. It's a unique platformer with elements of a puzzle game and a stealth game at once, since you can not only fight enemies with your sword, but also send out your eagle to solve a variety of difficult puzzles and distract enemies as you venture through the lands to reach and face the evil ruler himself. The game, and all of its successors, are also made in a mostly black and white distinct art style, reminiscent of shadow theater. The game has become highly popular and spawned several sequels and a prequel, Red Moon.
In Red Moon you play the part of Eivana as she and Hawken attempt to slay King Vandheer to seize power themselves. Since Vandheer is still around and ruling in the main game, you can guess how well that worked. This game is a bit more of a standard fighting platformer, and does not incorporate the eagle element.
The events of Armed with Wings 2 are situated directly after Armed with Wings 1. This time, you play the part of Vandheer Lorde as he struggles to regain his throne from Armed with Wings. The game is also a fighting platformer like Red Moon.
Armed with Wings 3 appears to take place many years after the events of the first two games. The shadow of a great evil hangs over the lands, and it's up to Leo a mere boy, Eivana's child to save his world. In this one, the eagle element is reintroduced, though the puzzles are much easier than in the first game. This game also has an RPG element, as Leo can gain experience, upgrade his stats, learn new skills and find new powerful spells.
In 2011, Daniel-Sun released Culmination, which follows the side story of Lone Warrior during the events of Armed With Wings 3 as he sets out on his own, blinded by rage, to slay Vandheer Lorde. That goes well. Culmination is a short, pure fighting platformer with no puzzle elements nor level system, but it really tones up the epic attacks and combos. Thanks to a deal made between Sun Studios and Cartoon Network, the game can also be played in the form of a Young Justice flash game called Shadow Mission, which replaces the Lone Warrior with Robin and the Big Bad with Young Justice villain Klarion, and whose plot involves Robin being pulled into a shadow dimension and having to fight his way out with the help of the other members of his team.
Daniel-Sun has continued development of Armed with Wings over time, and in 2015, he released a new commercial game that can be bought on Steam: Armed with Wings:Rearmed. As the title indicates, it is a remastered edition of the first Armed with Wings game, with new features like boosters to increase your stats and repertoire; an enhanced combat system and an arsenal of weapons with different strengths and weaknesses. The game is being actively developed, with new features every so often.
Daniel-Sun has said that Rearmed is one of two games that he will work on, the other being called Armed with Wings:Versus, which will feature many of the characters seen across the games. Development of the game has been postponed, presumably until development of Rearmed is finished. Daniel-Sun has stated that after these two games, there is a 3rd, as-of-yet unnamed game that he refers to as "The BIG ONE". It is meant to serve as a reboot of the plot for the entire series, with a story for each character.
You can find Daniel-Sun's website here, which also features many other non-AwW games that he has made/contributed to.
The series overall provide examples of:
- A God Is You: Essentially, the player in Armed with Wings 1 and 3. Interestingly, this status is not permanent; Those who are Armed With Wings will have their true nature as Blackmist revealed to them in their most dire hour, but the essence of the God Blackmist can leave the chosen Armed With Wings for another chosen. This is the case with the Lone Warrior, who was Armed With Wings (and thus Blackmist) in AWW 1 and 2, but was no longer during AWW 3 and Culmination, since Leo was the new chosen.
- Back from the Dead: Blackmist can bring the righteous back to life. This is how Armed with Wings is able to take his revenge on the King (AWW1), how he then brings back his rebel comrades (AWW2), and how Leo brings back his mother and Lone Warrior from the grave.
- Badass Boast: Vandheer, in basically every game he's in. "He who would channel the power of every star in the sky, I would consider a threat. Such a being does not exist."
- Big Bad: Vandheer is the most recognizable antagonist of the series.
- Bottomless Pits/Spikes of Doom: They amount to nearly the same, and the games have no shortage of them. It also seems a tradition for every major boss fight to be fought on an arena surrounded by pits on both sides, and for the boss to conveniently have some attacks that can knock the player into them (Red Moon is an exception). Of course, if the boss falls into the pit, they just reappear somewhere else on the arena even if it meant instant death when you were playing as the character you're currently fighting.
- Cool Helmet: Vandheer is never seen without his helmet.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The art style is like this.
- Everything Fades: Justified, all living creatures in the game's universe dissolve into Blackmist upon death, the in-game dialogue even uses the word "disappear" as synonymous to "die" on several occasions.
- Evil Overlord: Vandheer Lorde is a pretty standard example.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Sadly, the programming in the games is often lacking. Examples include:
- AWW1: Goals that don't appear when supposed to, goals that are unreachable, getting stuck inside walls from knockback, problems with point of view and scrolling, inability to walk on certain objects may cause you to become stuck...
- Red Moon: a new bug has appeared recently which causes advertisements to mask the screen as you're trying to play.
- AWW2: Vindstot freezing in a state where she's unattackable and unable to attack.
- AWW3: Getting pushed through walls and stuck inside of them without possibility to get out nor a level restart button, Network teleporting out of reach in Survival mode, Vandheer freezing up in Survival mode...
- The boss of chapter 4 can knock you out of the "arena" with its fire rain attack, back into the pit where the bridge leading to it was. That pit doesn't kill you if you fall into it, but actually can be stood on. It is possible (though rather difficult) to get back on the bridge using a combination of wall-jumping and careful eagle positioning, but getting back on the arena is another story. It is far easier (and far less time consuming) to simply restart the level.
- Culmination: Using ultimate attack on too many enemies may cause the camera to stop following the player character, to the point of him leaving the screen completely. Worse, it may even remain stuck after you die and restart the level.
- An Ice Person: In every game of the series, including the one where you control him, Vandheer is able to fire blue damaging projectiles. Due to the series' peculiar art style, they could have been anything, and it's only in Armed with Wings 3 that they are revealed to be ice bolts.
- Made of Explodium: Weaker enemies and player characters dissipate into nothingness when they die, powerful enemies explode. Justified with everybody in this world being made of Blackmist.
- Meaningful Name: Vandheer Lorde. Also Leo (lion). And Blackmist. Also the names of a lot of places (like Gusty Valley).
- Mysterious Past: Lone Warrior is the most featured character in the series, behind only Vandheer (the only game where he does not feature is Red Moon); however, he might also be the character we know the least about. He is the leader of the rebellion against Vandheer and seems to hate the man with a passion, to the point of it being personal, but no explanation is ever given as to what Vandheer actually did that made Lone Warrior bear such a grudge he isn't telling and Vandheer might not even remember. In fact, Lone Warrior is such a mystery that we don't even know so much as his name, the only major character in the series with this distinction.
- Power Gives You Wings: The Lone Warrior, as Armed with Wings, has this, but we don't actually see them before the end of the second game. In the third, they appear, too, but mostly in the videos.
- Rule of Cool: There is no shortage of awesome-looking moves, explosions, and overall awesomeness.
- Culmination takes this Up to Eleven.
- Sequel Decay: Some pay be disappointed with the lower difficulty of the later games compared to the first one.
- Sequel Escalation: The first game was unbearably hard and lacked several crucial features, like a save function and the ability to jump, which admittedly makes for an odd platformer. Later games fixed those problems, toned down the difficulty, were much richer in terms of story, and last but not least, had more awesome attacks.
- Shout-Out: The whole series is clearly inspired by Bleach. The Power Wave and the Power of the Red Moon are very reminiscent of Getsouga Tenshou, and Vandheer's mask is quite reminiscent to something you'd see in Bleach. Completed Network is quite similar appearance-wise to Hollow Ichigo.
- Smug Super: Vandheer Lorde is the most powerful person on the planet (besides Armed With Wings) and oh boy, does he like to flaunt it in other people's faces.
- Sword Beam: In AWW3 Vandheer casts a modified one in a cutscene; it's a straight beam rather than a curved slash.
- In Culmination, the powerslash move generates huge, if short-ranged, waves of energy.
- Villain Teleportation: Vandheer Lorde, in almost every game featuring him. The only game in which he does not is AWW2 the one where you play as him. Especially prominent in AWW3 and Culmination, and especially in Culmination, seeing as the player will likely be spamming them to hell and back in sheer glee.
- World's Strongest Man: Vandheer has been stated to be the strongest fighter in the world, not counting those blessed by Blackmist himself.
Armed with Wings 1 provides examples of:
- Advancing Boss of Doom: A particular type which, instead of chasing you, tries to pin you to a spiked wall behind you, or knock you back into it.
- Badass Longcoat: Armed with Wings.
- Charged Attack: Armed with Wings is able to perform a superpowered sword slash, that becomes stronger depending on how long he charges it. It is necessary to defeat some enemies and get past some obstacles.
- The Chosen One: Armed with Wings.
- Guide Dang It!: Killing the demon boss and solving some of the puzzles late-game can be rather frustrating. Thankfully, there's a walkthrough.
- Kamehame Hadoken: Vandheer can fire one as his ultimate attack.
- Luck-Based Mission: Your success against the first boss highly depends on whether he decides to spam his windmill move, giving you no chance to retaliate against him and eventually pinning you to the spiked wall.
- Megaton Punch: Vandheer, again.
- Rule of Symbolism: Blackmist is essentially the God of this world, and Armed With Wings definitely has Jesus-like overtones. Not to mention huge white wings when using his full power as Blackmist.
- Stealth-Based Game: You can use your eagle to get enemies to face away from you while you powerslash them from behind, or make it drop rocks to make them move away from crucial spots.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The chosen of Blackmist is unable to jump even a centimeter off the ground and depends entirely on bridges to get across even the tiniest gaps.
Rearmed provides examples of:
- Infinity +1 Sword: The accurately named Master Blade, the last item to be unlocked by grinding points. It's a sword with only one ability that cannot be changed (which strikes all the enemies on screen with a series of consecutive blink-slashes, similarly to Lone Warrior's ultimate in Culmination), but what makes it unique is that it's the only sword in the game which maxes out all stats (health, damage, speed, and range).
- Purposely Overpowered: Both unlockable characters are examples of this. Vandheer, unlocked after defeating the main campaign, boasts abilities such as an extended attack range, higher jumps with his dodge chain, a spammable ranged attack usable at will, and perhaps most importantly, a downward power attack that is both ranged and aimable, allowing Vandheer to destroy enemies in hard-to-reach places without giving them the opportunity to attack him. The second unlockable character, full-power Armed With Wings, obtained by completing the level that becomes available after collecting all the Relics, plays similarly to Lone Warrior but has dramatically boosted stats in all domains along with other fun stuff such as the ability to teleport as a dodge, including into the air, which he can do up to four times without landing.
- Sequential Boss: Vandheer Lorde is one, this time around. The battle starts off similarly to the way it played out in Armed With Wings 1, with Vandheer fighting with his bare fists, teleporting erratically around the map, flinging ice bolts, and occasionally using a massive avalanche, getting faster and more aggressive as his health goes down, but is eventually finished by a power attack. This time around, however, a cutscene follows, wherein Vandheer proceeds to draw his own blade. The true final level then ensues, in which Vandheer gains some new attacks and fights aggressively right off the bat. Another short cutscene occurs after Vandheer is reduced to a little less than half of his health. When he reaches very low health, Vandheer goes absolutely nuts, becoming more relentless than ever and gaining the ability to jump into the air and fire bolts of dark lightning. At this point, if the Lone Warrior falls, yet another cutscene ensues as he accesses his 11th-Hour Superpower, regaining all of his health and receiving a tremendous boost in abilities to put Vandheer down, though even that is far from a guarantee of victory, considering how utterly frantic the king is at that point.
Armed with Wings 2 provides examples of:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Water sword of Eden unleashes geysers of water that deal massive damage to enemies. It also consumes all your energy to use it. And it has a looooong cast time, during which if an enemy hits you, you've wasted your energy. Yeeeeah. The best way to use it is on the second boss Vindstot in first phase while she's recovering.
- Bag of Spilling: Vandheer as a playable character loses a lot of his powers he had as final boss, like his Megaton Punch and his Kamehame Hadoken. Of course, this could be due to him being weakened by his defeat at the hands of Armed with Wings.
- Bilingual Bonus: Fuego Mountain. Fuego is fire in Spanish.
- "Quema Tormenta" is Spanish for "Burn Storm", though Daniel-Sun probably meant "Burning Storm". Also, Smoking Martillo; "Martillo" is Spanish for hammer, thus, "Smoking Hammer".
- Blow You Away: Vindstot, some unnamed mage in the Gusty Valley, and Vandheer with the sword of Wind. The first two can both blow you away into a spike pit.
- Blown Across the Room: Most bosses have power attacks that will send Vandheer flying usually that's the last attack in their combo chain. This is a bad thing because most bosses have Bottomless Pits around their arena. Hawken is particularly rage-inducing with this, because his knockback move is dished out using his Whip Sword, which has an immense range.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Heroic example. Why didn't Blackmist just kill Vandheer, but decided to seal him instead?
- Boss-Only Level: The few levels preceding the final boss have no enemies at all and are only there to raise the tension.
- Bragging Rights Reward: You get the sword of Lightning when starting a New Game+.
- Continuity Nod: Armed with Wings as a boss uses the same chain combo of sword strikes he could use as a playable character, along with a charged power slash.
- Difficulty Spike: The Hard mode in this game is very noticeably harder than Normal. It changes not only the power and amount of enemies, but also the layout of several levels to be noticeably harder. Also, it turns several bosses, which are fairly easy on normal mode, into vicious killing machines who will spam their attacks with barely any window to hit them in return.
- Fate Worse than Death: Vandheer ends up sealed in a white room for all eternity... or not, since he gets out in Armed with Wings 3.
- Fireballs: Quema Tormenta's ultimate attack is a massive ball of fire that can only be avoided via super jump and deals massive damage if it hits. Unfortunately, it also uses so much energy he has to take a break, during which he's wide open.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The Armed with Wings fight. If you lose, Vandheer is killed; if you win he is sealed in a room forever... or is he?
- Infinity +1 Sword: The sword of Lightning special consumes less energy than your cheapest special move, deals enough damage to kill even bosses in one hit, and most importantly, calls down lightning from the skies. And it looks like a lightning bolt, too.
- Lethal Lava Land: Fuego Mountain.
- Making a Splash: Vandheer with the sword of Water.
- One Last Smoke: Vandheer denies a last smoke to Smoking Martillo, which is probably a good idea, seeing as Martillo is able to attack with smoke.
- Playing with Fire: Quema Tormenta, and Vandheer with the sword of Fire. Oddly enough, Smoking Martillo wields the sword of Fire but does not have any Fire attacks.
- Punched Across the Room: Vandheer's grab move is a variation of this. He telekinetically raises his unfortunate victim above his head and then sends them flying with a blast of magical energy. Usually, this kills normal mooks on the spot.
- Some enemy attacks (like Armed with Wings' power slash or Hawken's whip uppercut) do this as well, usually in an attempt to throw you down a bottomless pit or spiked pit.
- Razor Wind: Vindstot can attack with slicing blades of wind.
- Shock and Awe: With the sword of Lightning.
- Smoking Is Cool: Smoking Martillo, obviously.
- The Starscream: Brother Hawken. He betrays Vandheer in Red Moon in an attempt to seize power. Come Armed with Wings 2, Vandheer calls upon him for aid, and this time he joins the rebels and betrays him again.
- Super Smoke: Smoking Martillo can turn to smoke and push an enemy away with smoke clouds. In easier difficulty modes, he is visible when turned to smoke, but not on Hard.
- Villain Protagonist: Vandheer.
- Whip Sword: Hawken's weapon is a variation, in that it's a regular sword swung around on a cord connected to the hilt.
Armed with Wings 3 provides examples of:
- Annoying Arrows: The archers don't deal much damage (then again, most of the enemies don't deal too much damage anyways), plus their arrows can be deflected. However, they can become deadly if they hit you mid-jump and send you hurtling into a bottomless pit.
- Boss-Only Level: Much like in the previous game, before reaching Network and Vandheer, you cross some empty territory with no enemies at all.
- Breaking Out the Boss: Inverted: it's the boss (Network) who breaks out his subordinate (Vandheer Lorde). But played somewhat straight in that it is Vandheer who is the Final Boss, not Network.
- The Chosen One: Leo, this time.
- Continuity Nod: Vandheer uses the Blade of Lightning as his new signature weapon, which he presumably obtained inside the room of sealing, just like the player gained it after finishing AWW 2.
- One of Leo's specials is a giant energy wave, a nod to Eivana's powers conferred by the Red Moon in..., well, Red Moon.
- Crosshair Aware: The location where the fourth boss' fireballs will fall is marked by a beam of light.
- Developers' Foresight: After the first stage, the Blacksmith will give you the new "traditional karate" style. However, if you are on a New Game+, you will already have this style. The dialogue will change to reflect this. Oddly, this doesn't happen with the other styles you are given.
- Doppelgänger Spin: One of Vandheer's attacks involves confusing the enemy with a flurry of movements so fast they leave afterimages, before delivering a powerful uppercut with his sword.
- Flash Step: Vandheer, Network, and you can do it too with the appropriate magic!
- Field of Blades: The first boss has an attack that makes a multitude of swords stab out of the ground, pointy ends up, of course.
- Final Boss Preview: You first fight Vandheer in level 3. The next time you face him, he's the Final Boss.
- Fireballs: The flaming skull boss rains them from the sky and spits them from his mouth too.
- Flaming Skulls: You fight such enemies in the fourth level. And the boss of said level is a giant, pyrokinetic version.
- Healing Factor: You can buy this as an upgrade for Leo, both for his health (which will gradually heal him to half his maximum health whenever he has less than half) and special bar (which is always on).
- Hopeless Boss Fight: You can't win the first battle with Vandheer Lorde. You just have to survive long enough.
- King Mook: The fire skull boss of level 4, to the jumping skull enemies in the same level.
- Messianic Archetype: Leo, complete with a virgin birth.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Leo comes to face Network, the latter asks him: "Have you come for justice, or revenge?" then snorts derisively that Leo is but a child blinded by his own hatred... until, that is, he sees Blackmist's wings on Leo's back.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Vandheer is now this. The "can" is broken in the third chapter by an even greater evil.
- Shock and Awe: Gaaz' ultimate move is a fairly hard to avoid lightning storm. It's possible, and fairly easy, to kill him without him doing this even once, though.
- The Man Behind the Man: Network is kinda this to Vandheer Lorde this time, Vandheer himself being his Chosen (just like Leo is to Blackmist). Interestingly, Vandheer is still the final boss, while Network is second-to-last.
- This Cannot Be!: Network.
- Turns Red: Many bosses in the game do this at low health, starting to move faster and/or gaining other abilities. Particularly notable for this are:
- The first boss (who stops walking around slowly and starts running around at high speed, making him much more deadly, as it becomes harder to keep your distance; also when he uses his special, the swords move around before emerging, making them harder to avoid),
- The fourth boss, who rains down more fireballs faster when damaged. The size of the fireball he casts just before taking a rest also goes up as his health goes down. If he's really badly wounded, he takes you by surprise by casting not one but two of them.
- Network, the fifth boss. Once taken to half health, he proceeds to collapse the sides of the area you're fighting him in to a bottomless abyss (which can be a nasty surprise if you were precisely there just as you brought him tohalf health). He will also start using his special moves much more often, and uses more of them too. He also gains Anti-Flinch when he has about 1/3 of his life remaining.
- Vandheer Lorde too. Once he loses about 1/4th of his health, he gains Anti-Flinch. He may seldomly use his special moves at first, but he'll use them every other combo once he loses about half his health.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Network, the antithesis to Blackmist, is obviously the Satan of this world. Which might make Vandheer the Antichrist? And Leo has Jesus-like overtones a child with no father, son of Blackmist if you will.
- You Killed My Father: Well, mother.
Red Moon provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Eivana, the player character.
- Foreshadowing: This game has the very first appearance of Network, in the ending cutscene. Back then, his purpose was unclear as he just sorta appears and stands there, stopping Vandheer from finishing Hawken off in the process. We never get any explanation of what he is and what he was doing there until AWW3. This encounter is how Eivana learned about Network and got the idea that Vandheer might be able to face him.
- Bad Moon Rising: The Red Moon, obviously.
- Cluster F-Bomb: More like "Cluster S Bomb", but same effect; Hawken, when he and Eivana are at Vandheer's non-existent mercy.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The Vandheer Lorde fight. If you lose, Eivana dies. If you win, Vandheer still kicks the duo's asses anyways and they're forced into hiding.
- Limit Break: The power of the Red Moon, which can be unleashed into a devastating power wave once you have slain enough enemies or collected a Moon orb.
- Shock and Awe: Vandheer's ultimate power in this game is conjuring a line of lightning blasts.
- The Starscream: Hawken, who wants to overthrow Vandheer Lorde.
- Wham Line: Arguably:Vandheer (to Hawken's boast about the Red Moon): Hmph. A Red Moon. So? What kind of King would I be if I couldn't harness the power of a Red Moon? Something as forgettable as that won't help you at all.
- When the Planets Align: "Once in a decade, the moon shines red," and on that day, Eivana and Hawken (but also Vandheer) gain incredible power.
Culmination provides examples of:
- Continuity Nod: Vandheer has the same moveset as in Armed With Wings 3 though he's now a lot more brutal with it.
- Dueling Player Characters: Depending on your difficulty, you'll get to play as either Vandheer or Lone Warrior against the other.
- Dying Alone: The Lone Warrior in the end, though we know it doesn't stick.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Daniel-Sun must really love this. Lone Warrior is doomed by canon he is to be slain by Vandheer Lorde and then revived by Leo. Normal Mode plays with it a bit, though, since you take control of Vandheer Lorde for the battle. Hard Mode plays it straight, since you fight Vandheer with Lone Warrior and Vandheer will pretty much one-hit kill you as soon as you bring him down to no health.
- Golden Ending: Averted. Whether you play normal or hard, there will be no good end. The final battle differs, but the result is the same.
- Invulnerable Attack: Lone Warrior has his ultimate move. Vandheer has invincibility frames at the end of his specials (notably his super speed slash). By the end of the battle, the best moment to harm him is the split second between those frames and the moment when he starts counterattacking.
- Mirror Boss: Lone Warrior's battle against Vandheer is one this time around. Two agile swordfighters with three special moves each (though Lone Warrior's ultimate is useless on Vandheer) and many combo possibilities perhaps more than any other boss in this series, this is a battle of pure skill. Of course, Vandheer's attacks have a longer range and he's not limited by energy.
- Natural Weapon: Most enemies are shadow-demons with blades for hands.
- No-Sell: Do not even try to use Lone Warrior's ultimate move on Vandheer. He is immune to it, and you'll just waste energy you could have used for power slashing him.
- Reverse Grip: The normal way for Lone Warrior to hold his sword. Curiously, he didn't do it in AWW3.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Basically the whole plot.
- Rule of Cool: Runs on this, perhaps even more than previous installments.
- Teleport Spam: Used in Lone Warrior's ultimate special. He becomes invulnerable and links all the enemies in sight with a "thread" of sorts, then teleports around, delivering a powerful slash to every target marked so. Very satisfying to pull off on a multitude of enemies, especially since doing so will probably give you the energy to do it again.
- Vandheer as usual can teleport, but he normally does not spam it; however when you take control of him for the Normal difficulty battle, you have the option to spam his teleport slash over and over again. It's a Game-Breaker because the AI cannot avoid it and Vandheer never loses energy, so you can spam it to your heart's content with no retaliation and tear Lone Warrior apart.
- Turns Red: Vandheer starts off doing little but his basic combo (though even that has a long range and is pretty punishing), and he leaves himself vulnerable doing it. As time goes on, he starts using his teleport slash at the end of it, simultaneously leaving less room to hit him and doing more damage himself. He also uses his specials a lot more later on. He also begins to run instead of walking at the midpoint of the battle. By the end of the battle, he's pulling off crazy stunts like a long sequence of Flash Steps all over the place before attacking, and flying in order to drop a bolt of energy on you.
- You Rebel Scum!: Said by Vandheer almost word-for-word.