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Video Game / Giga Wing

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Giga Wing is a vertical Shoot 'Em Up series developed by Takumi and published by Capcom for arcades.

It is perhaps best well-known for two features:

  • The Reflect Barrier shield, which takes whatever masses of bullets touch it and reflect them back, often inflicting massive damage upon enemies.
  • The scoring system. Due to some scoring mechanics in which collecting one of many, many medals increases the value of the next one, and your medal count acting as a score multiplier, it is easily possible to have a score well beyond the scale of most other games' scoring systems.

The series spans three games:

  • Giga Wing (Arcade/Dreamcast, 1999). Re-released in 2021 as part of Capcom Arcade Stadium.
  • Giga Wing 2 (Arcade/Dreamcast, 2000)
    • Uses 3D graphics instead of 2D, and adds a new kind of reflect attack, the Reflect Laser. Also introduces the "volcano" mechanic: if enough medals are on the screen, a "volcanon" of medals will erupt, producing even more medals. The Dreamcast port adds a 4-player option, a rarity for a shoot-em-up.
  • Giga Wing Generations (Arcade/PS2, 2004)

Not to be confused with Zero Wing.

The Giga Wing series contains examples of:

  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Stage 5 is set on a flying one, built by the Abusive Precursors using the Medallion's power.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Medallion not only doomed the Abusive Precursors, but its influence was also responsible for bringing about untold conflict among humankind.
    • The Ark is this in the second game.
  • 1-Up: There is one available in item form near the end of the fourth stage. However, it won't appear unless you've died at least twice by that point (which on default settings means you're on your last life).
  • Boss-Only Level: The Guardian of the Sealed Shrine, the Climax Boss of Stage 6, and the Medallion and the Stranger, the pair that comprises the Sequential Boss/True Final Boss of Stage 7.
    • In Giga Wing 2, the last three out of 7 stages are boss-only levels.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: This happens to Limi in the second game upon saving her sister Romi from being possessed by the Ark, leaving her ship to be piloted by Dewey, which is a sentient program installed by Kart on Limi's ship. After defeating the Final Boss, Limi's survival depends on your choice in the ending.
  • Bullet Hell: But by employing the Reflect Barrier properly, you can turn it into Bullet Heaven.
  • Cap: The maximum multiplier in the first game is 49,999,999 which can be reached near the end of the game by very skilled players. In the second game, the maximum multiplier is 999,999,999; this can be reached in the third stage out of 7 with skill. Amazingly, the score caps in any game are nigh unreachable.
    • In the second game, there is a cap of 110 medals on screen as well as an unknown total object cap; reaching either will cause an item "volcanon", where the background will go black and then each medal will split into 10 or more kite-shaped medals.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In the first two games, the lowest 8 digits of your score are colored blue, the next four yellow digits (the oku places) are yellow, the four digits in the chou supergroup is colored red, and (in the second game, where such scores are possible) the digit(s) afterward (kei) are cyannote . Generations uses a different color scheme (red for kei, yellow for chou, green for oku, gray for anything smaller).
  • Crosshair Aware: Confound that gunboat boss's second-phase pattern!
  • Cultural Translation: The kanji used as separators for every fourth digit in the player's score were removed in the US releases of the games. The US releases don't even bother to replace the kanji with commas, so reading scores in the US versions is a bit trickier.
    • The US version of Giga Wing 2 uses commas when displaying the player's score at the end of a stage, though still has the myriad-based (supergroups of four digits as is common in east Asia; see above) color-coded digit groupings otherwise.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Defeating Stranger unlocks it as a ship in the Dreamcast version of the first game.
  • Dieselpunk: The games generally take place in a world that's roughly in the mid-20th Century, where technology was accelerated by the Medallion.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Stuck/Widerstand. His bomb weapon is tricky, but if you get good enough at using him, he's not only powerful but also the best scorer.
    • Ruby, to a lesser extent. She has the narrowest coverage, but her concentrated fire makes her excellent at destroying single targets, and her high speed allows her to scoop up medals easily.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The game uses a very simple version of this, with the difficulty increasing until the first time you die (if at all). Also applies to the pity 1-Up (see below).
  • Effective Knockoff: The Medallion is capable of producing smaller versions of itself. They are not as power as the original, but they are still dangerous and used by enemy forces for their own ends.
  • Excuse Plot: Averted in Giga Wing Generations, which has no plot at all.
  • Fragile Speedster: The secret ship from the first game. Very fast, but it's as fragile as any other ship.
  • Flunky Boss: The Medallion summons smaller versions of itself to fire gigantic laser beams at the player on its second-to-last pattern.
  • Glass Cannon: The secret ship from the first game. It has a ridiculously powerful weapon and bomb. However, it's as fragile as any other ship.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In the original game, reaching the standard ending with Shinnosuke has him be quietly forgotten from history.
  • Have a Nice Death: Whenever you die in Giga Wing 2, on the continue screen, your character will utter something to you in Japanese. Most notable is Limi telling you not to give up.
  • Homing Projectile: Isha from the first game has a straight shot paired with guided missiles. Chery from the second game has a similar weapon.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: It's revealed in the first game that the Medallion itself has been intentionally goading mankind from the beginning in a perverse game to see whether they deserve survival. You put a stop to it before the cycle begins anew.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Ruby's ship, the Carmine, rivals Stuck's Widerstand for most single-target damage and is the fastest ship in the original game.
  • Minimalist Run: Giga Wing allows for a 0-score run, but it is very difficult as it is also a Pacifist Run, as your medal-increased multiplier starts off at 1. Giga Wing 2, on the other hand, starts your multiplier off at zero, meaning that so long as you never pick up a single medal, you can commit total genocide of the enemy forces and still finish with a score of 0, despite the games focusing on scores that would be easier to write approximations of in scientific notation.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Bittersweet Ending: In Giga Wing, your character sacrifices himself or herself to destroy the Medallion.
    • Golden Ending: You must beat the first six stages on one credit to see the true final stage (and boss). This results in an ending where your character destroys the Medallion and comes home alive. Beating the game with two players will also avert the need for Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Multiple Game Openings: The order of the first three stages is dictated by which character you pick at the start of the game.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Why the Medallion was sealed away in the first place, not that it prevented any conflict in the first place.
  • Pinball Scoring: Quite possibly the king of this trope.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Ark of the Covenant is the Big Bad of Giga Wing 2.
  • Recurring Boss: You meet and fight a mysterious black ship, the Stranger, several times throughout the game: in the volcano stage, in stage 4, and in stage 5. Unlock stage 7 and it will be the True Final Boss alongside the Medallion.
  • Return to Shooter: The Reflect mechanic.
  • Score Multiplier: The core of this game's scoring system. Each medal will add its own value to the value of every medal you've picked up so far on your current life or stage, and that will be added to your multiplier. For instance, picking up a +5 at the beginning will add 5 to your multiplier. Picking up another +5 will add 5 to your medal count for 10, and 10 will be added to your multiplier. By the end of most stages, each medal will usually be adding thousands to your multiplier at a time. Even in the first game, a good player will have multipliers in the millions.
  • Scoring Points: One of the main highlights of the game, in a subversion of score being regarded as a pointless number. How often do you see scores of at least 1 trillion?
  • Secret Character: See Defeat Means Playable above. The second game has the five (four standard + one secret) ships from the first game as secret ships.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each game ups the ante with more medals to collect and thus more points to be had. Giga Wing's 15 digits? Nothing compared to Giga Wing 2's 17 digits… which in turn is surpassed by Giga Wing Generations, quite possibly the only commercial game where you can achieve 20-digit scores.
  • Ship Tease: The normal ending for a 2-player game as Shinnosuke and Ruby implies that Ruby's developed a crush for Shinnosuke.
  • True Final Boss: Two of them, in Giga Wing: the black ship you've been chasing, and the Medallion. Both are fought simultaneously, and only appear if you've completed the first six stages on one credit.
  • Uncertain Doom: In Ruby's and Sinnosuke's bad ending, Ruby comes out alive, but she cannot confirm whether Sinnosuke did too.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Certain bosses can do this, particularly The Guardian of the Sealed Shrine and the Medallion.