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Video Game / Sidewinder

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Sidewinder is a series of combat flight games developed by Bit Town and produced by Asmik Ace Entertainement. It comprises the following games:

  • Sidewinder (PS1, 1996). Released as Bogey Dead 6 in North America and Raging Skies in Europe.
    • As the fighter ace Diver 11, you've been hired to stop various terrorists plots around the globe.
  • Sidewinder 2: Let's Dance in the Sky (PS1, 1997)
    • A group of rogue corporations have banded together to conquer the world. In response, the U.N has assembled an airforce.
  • Sidewinder MAX (PS2, 2000)
    • The developing country Eskara is caught in a bloody civil war. Mercenary pilots called "Fighting Birds" have been hired to put an end to the conflict.
  • Sidewinder F (PS2, 2001). Released in the west as Lethal Skies Elite Pilot: Team SW
    • The release of Siberia's methane reserves cause Global Warming to become irreversible, resulting in much of the world being flooded. Life on artificial "mega-floats" is now the norm, and the surviving nation have rallied the banner of the World Alliance and its military wing, the Frontier Nations (FN). Opposing this new world order is the weapon-dealing Republic of Gurtestein and disfranchised states, who have united as the World Order Reorganisation Front (WORF). As a crack pilot of the elite Team SW fighter team, you must stop the WORF and its mysterious "M-Plan".
  • Sidewinder V (PS2, 2003). Released in the west as Lethal Skies 2
    • Three years after the end of the FN-WORF conflict, the Frontier Nations's Newfoundland base is attacked by an unknown group. The attack is soon revealed to be the work of the Alliance of Nations for Greater Independance and Liberty (ANGIL), a group of European countries disatisfied with the World Alliance's leadership and backed by surviving elements of the WORF. As Earth enters a new global conflict, a new Team SW is called into action.

The series started as a straight clone of Ace Combat, though one with somewhat more realistic leanings. The PlayStation 2 installment introduced more realistic elements, such as slightly more realistic physics, limited weapon loadouts, and simulated g-forces effects.


This video game series provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Gyrfalcon 01 starts out using an F-22, which is indistinguishable from his wingmen aside from taking forever to shoot down. Once he gets serious, he switches to an X-29Z, a Lightning Bruiser plane that isn't flown by anyone else.
  • After the End: Due to massive climate change, the world in these games is left largely uninhabitable, with the population surviving on mega-floats. Various missions take place in the ruins of real-life locations, such as Paris and Mt. Fuji.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Lethal Skies features two canyon-run missions. Lethal Skies 2 features only one, but makes up for that by having you destroy an enemy fort from the inside.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The cover of Lethal Skies Elite Pilot: Team SW uses the same artwork as Sidewinder F (pictured above) but tinted red, giving the cover a very different mood.
  • Boss Rush:
    • "Hopeless" starts with your base under attack from a walker. When you take it down, a quadrocopter brings in a second one, and both the mech and the quadrocopter need to be destroyed.
    • "New World", the final mission of Lethal Skies 2. It starts by pitting you against a Kill Sat, and after it's destroyed, another one comes in. Then, after disposing of that one, Gyrfalcon comes in for a final rematch.
  • City on the Water: The mega-floats in Lethal Skies.
  • Cool Plane: Plenty of awesome real-world planes appear in these games, but a few are unique to the series:
    • The F-25 Black Owl, a sleek-looking cross between an F-22 and a Su-35 and generally one of the best planes in the series, along with the similar X-16S Haggard.
    • Lethal Skies 2 has the S-47, a VTOL stealth fighter based on the Su-47. It also has the F-5Z and X-29Z, heavily souped-up versions of the F-5 and X-29.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted in the Lethal Skies games, which track damage to your fuselage, radar, engine, and wings separately. Taking radar damage makes it harder to lock on with radar-guided missiles, engine damage slows you down, and wing and fuselage damage affects your maneuverability. And, of course, taking too much fuselage damage destroys your plane.
  • Degraded Boss: Several M-Plan mechs return in the sequel, albeit watered down.
    • While the walker's original incarnation required you to take out several targets on top of it before taking out its core, the sequel lets you go for the core right away.
    • The flying fortress that attacks in "Intruder" is a scaled-down, less resilient version of the one fought in "Moby Dick".
  • Escort Mission:
    • You escort a tanker fleet in "Easter Parade" from Lethal Skies, while "New Beginning" from the same requires you to escort a transport plane.
    • The first part of "Gran Blue" in Lethal Skies 2 has you escorting a wing of B-2 bombers. From the same game, Road to Victory has you providing air cover for a tank column.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Jake's voice becomes deeper between games, coinciding with his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Jake, a wingman in Lethal Skies, returns as the enemy ace Gyrfalcon 01 in Lethal Skies 2.
    B2 Pilot: How can you? You were an FN ace!
  • Fragile Speedster: The F-5Z in Lethal Skies 2. It's highly maneuverable and easily the fastest plane in the game, but also has the smallest supply of chaff and flares. As such, you'll have to dodge most incoming missiles the old-fashioned way.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the unlockables in the Lethal Skies installments have obscure, unhinted-at requirements:
    • In the first Lethal Skies, the X-16S Haggard is unlocked by destroying a random building in "New Beginning" (which soaks up a ton of punishment, making an accidental discovery unlikely). Meanwhile, the F-25 Nightowl is unlocked by beating "Aurora Attack" in less than 1:30 minute.
    • In the sequel, the first SP mission "Quick and Dead" is obtained by getting an A or S Rank on "Break Through" and then complete both parts of "Gran Blue" after having already beaten them at least once. The second SP mission "Firemen" is unlocked by destroying every enemies in "Paradise Lost" after having beaten the mission at least once.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: In real life, the F-5 is a fighter plane from the 60s that's woefully outdated next to most of the other planes available, while the X-29 was an experimental aircraft that was never intended for combat. Lethal Skies 2 upgrades them into the F-5Z and X-29Z, both of which are powerful planes comparable to the F-22; in fact, they're the fastest planes in the game.
  • Hold the Line: The first encounter with Gyrfalcon takes place in part 1 of "Gran Blue", where you have to escort a squadron of B-2 bombers to an airfield. Shooting them down is optional; you only need to keep them busy and stay alive until the bombers land, at which point they disengage and the mission completes.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Played straight in the PS1 installments. This is downplayed in MAX, as the planes can load up to 16 missiles maximum, and running out of them is a very real possibility during missions. On the other hand, Vulcan ammo is unlimited. The Lethal Skies games avert this entirely with regards to missiles; what you see attached to your plane is what you get, and the number of them you can carry varies between planes, with the A-10 having the biggest payload and the YF-23 having the smallest.
  • Kill Sat: The Final Boss of Lethal Skies 2 is a floating weapons platform shaped very much like your typical weaponized satellite that drops FAE bombs capable of sinking a mega-float. Once it runs out of bombs, it resorts to dropping itself on the mega-float.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The first game features the F-22 as a selectable plane, but it's codenamed "Superstar" and looks completely different from the real thing. Strange, as Air Combat, released a year prior, features an accurately named and modeled F-22.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Lethal Skies introduce multi-warhead missiles. Depending on how many targets the player is locked on, the warheads may either split among multiple targets or converge on a single one.
  • Mighty Glacier: The A-10, introduced in Lethal Skies 2. It's the slowest plane available, but it's also incredibly tough, has a large missile capacity, and boasts the strongest guns in the game.
  • Monumental Damage: A mission in Lethal Skies 2 is an airstrike on an ANGIL base built into Mt. Fuji. Once the base is destroyed, Mt. Fuji erupts. Notably, one of your wingmen in this game is Japanese; if you bring him along for the mission, he gets a minor Heroic BSoD at the end.
  • Ocean Punk: The setting of Lethal Skies.
  • Old School Dogfight: While Lethal Skies depict missile behaviours somewhat more accurately than other console flight games (missiles actually lead the target rather than tracking the exhaust), their range and power is greatly reduced to allow for traditional dogfights to be the focus.
  • Perspective Flip: Completing the main campaign of Lethal Skies 2 unlocks a series of Sidetrax missions, which are effectively rehashes of existing levels with the sides switched. For instance, "First Contact" had you fending off an airstrike on your base, while the Sidetrax version has you carrying it out.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Out of the team SW pilots in the first Lethal Skies, only two return in the second.
    • The X-16S from Lethal Skies was removed from the plane roster in Lethal Skies 2.
  • Recurring Boss: Gyrfalcon, the ANGIL ace squad, is fought no less than four times over the course of LS2.
  • The Remnant: What's left of WORF eventually goes on to become ANGIL in the sequel, bringing with them a number of remaining M-Plan superweapons.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Lethal Skies 2 recycle several tracks from Sidewinder MAX and at least one from an unrelated flight game published by Asmik Ace, Super Air Diver.
  • Skippable Boss: A WORF Quadrocopter shows up in the "Easy Operation" mission of the first Lethal Skies, but nothing (beside the player's inclination to get a S-Rank) stops the player from simply ignoring it and focus on the power plant that is the mission's objective.
  • Spider Tank: One of the WORF M-Plan weapons is a quadrupedal mech equipped with missile launchers and an artillery cannon. A similar mech appears in Lethal Skies 2.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Uchuu Daisensou (released in Europe as Space War Attack), a flight-based riff on the Earth Defense Force formula done using the Lethal Skies engine.
  • Tanks for Nothing: To be fair, tanks usually don't match up well against fighter jets. Or giant Chicken Walkers, in LS2.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The AV-8B in Lethal Skies 2 is kind of a joke; it lacks an afterburner, can't dogfight well, and its air-to-ground capabilities are mediocre. However, it has VTOL capabilities, and one mission requires you to land vertically in a courtyard. Guess which plane you're going to be using for that mission?
  • Time-Limit Boss:
    • The objective in "Death City" from the first Lethal Skies is a ground-based carrier with an F-25 in tow. Take too long to destroy it, and the F-25 will take off. If it gets away, you'll have to restart.
    • The Spider Tanks in "Turning Point" and the flying machine in "Intruder" from Lethal Skies 2 have to be intercepted and destroyed before they destroy your base.

Alternative Title(s): Lethal Skies


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