Zero Wing was a mildly successful Shoot 'em Up video game developed in 1989 by Toaplan. Compared to the rest of the genre, it is fairly simple and mundane; there is nothing in particular that makes it the least bit memorable...with the exception of the Translation Train Wreck that is its opening cutscene:
Captain: What Happen?
Mechanic: Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb.
Operator: We get signal.
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It's You!!
Cats: How are you gentlemen!!
Cats: All Your Base Are Belong to Us.
Cats: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say!!
Cats: You Have No Chance to Survive make your time.
Cats: Ha ha ha ha....
Captain: Take Off Every 'ZIG'!!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move 'ZIG'.
Captain: For Great Justice.
In case you need context: At the verge of the 21st and 22nd centuries, the Galactic Federation has its eyes set on taking over the Andromeda Galaxy, and recruits the Space Pirates Cats for assistance. The conquest goes as planned...until the Federation discovers the hard way that letting amoral space pirates do the work with Andromedan technology wasn't a brilliant idea. Cats backstabbed the Federation by taking over their bases, and detonated explosives on one of the Federation's major military vessels.
Said vessel is the ship that had just launched all its ZIG units—including yours. With your base ship destroyed, and armed only with a Tractor Beam and whatever weapons the ZIG can pick up on the field, you must take the fight to Cats and punish them for their treachery.
The poor translations gave way to Memetic Mutation due to how funny they are, most notably "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" quote, which was supposed to mean "All of your bases are now under our control." Some instances of Intentional Engrish for Funny will follow the form used in this game.
On this wiki, Zero Wing is also notable for being the Trope Namer for five separate tropes.note
The Sega Genesis version was made available on the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack's Sega Genesis library on June 30 / July 1, 2022 (depending on region). The North American version of the app features the European version. A Steam port will be released some time later, with the description making good note of the game's infamous status.
Zero Wing provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Before explaining that all their base are belong to him, Cats greets the heroes by politely shouting "How are you gentlemen!!".
- All There in the Manual: The instruction book has some more information on the storyline.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Trope Namer. The ship is informed that their headquarters has been invaded.
- Anti Poop-Socking: Apparently, some of the extra endings in the Japanese Sega Megadrive version that were cut from the European English version are this, with text of Cats begging you to stop and go to sleep or to just stop playing.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: The PC-Engine version shows that Cats is (or has become) an empire, rather than being just Space Pirates, and the man with a half-metal head merely represents it.
- Attack Drone: The Zig is constantly fighting against them.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: The PC-Engine version has the lead bad guy setting up the bomb on himself.
- Big Bad: The ambassador of Cats is the one who led the conquering of the heroes' bases, sparking their mission to retake them.
- Big "WHAT?!": What you say!!
- Bishōnen: The main bad guy in the PC-Engine version has some long hair.
- Bridge Bunnies: Classic famous is operator signal get who main screen turn on. Version PC-Engine CD another bridge officer is purple-hair chick.
- The Captain: He gave the famous order, "Take off every Zig!" and showed his great justice before his untimely death.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Three weapon Power Ups are colored as followed:
- Cool Starship: The 'Zig', which can move, and trap minor enemies for later use.
- Cyborg: Cats.
- Damsel in Distress: The PC-Engine version's romance subplot is based around the purple-haired princess being held captive by the head of Cats.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You simply start at the last checkpoint if you lose a life.
- The Dragon: The PC-Engine version shows that the blond ambassador has a red-headed female underling, who is the Final Boss.
- Dual Boss: The Gaias at the end of the Regulus base (st. 2; rendered as "Legrous" in all versions).
- Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": CAPTAIN, OPERATOR, and MECHANIC.
- Evil Gloating: Ha Ha Ha Ha....
- Evil Is Not a Toy: How the Galactic Federation thought asking Space Pirates to help in conquest wouldn't result in them turning on them is anyone's guess.
- Evil Redhead: In the PC-Engine version, The Dragon is a red-headed woman.
- Evolving Attack: Each weapon gets stronger if you collect the same colored power-up as your ship, otherwise it just changes the weapon to the same level but of a different kind. At most you can only reach 3 levels of your weapon and final upgrade requires to find a rare bomb-carrying supply ship, break it open, take the bomb into the tractor beam and hold it there until you find a second bomb-carrying ship and break it open too. As the bomb will explode after taking enough hits and there are very few bomb-carrying supply ships, this is not easy at all. In addition to that, it seems that it's not possible in the PC-Engine CD version of the game.
- Excuse Plot: Cats destroyed your ship and has taken over your bases in order to take the Galactic Federation's place as rulers of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy. Get even with them.
- Fighter-Launching Sequence: This is declared with the line "Take Off Every Zig". All ships in the intro are caught in an explosion, but only one is safe from it.
- Flash of Pain
- Fling a Light into the Future: The original Japanese version had this instead of "For Great Justice".
- For Great Justice: Trope Namer. This is declared as soon as the Zigs are taking off.
- Gainax Ending: The first ending for the Sega Genesis version shows a group of Toaplan's mascot Pipiru dancing around the screen. The second ending is A Winner Is You illustration and the third appears to be a Sequel Hook and closes with a giant Pipiru winking at the player. The Japanese release, however, follows this with a series of 32 endings featuring Cats saying something amusing to the player- the last one has him tell the player a cheat code.
- Gratuitous English: The PC-Engine version of the Zig launch sequence has people shouting "All green!", "Scramble!", and "Okay!"
- Homage: Go check out our reference page.
- Homing Projectile: The green shots.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In the Japanese version, the 19th ending has the Big Bad declare that he's your mother. Don't bother asking how that's supposed to work.
- Multiple Endings: The Japanese Sega Genesis version has a whopping 32 endings after the first three. They're comical scenes featuring Cats, whose speech patterns are all over the place and he keeps making references to comedy routines or telling the player to stop bothering him. This is capped with a secret code only found 20 years after the game's release that had to be deciphered.
- The Only One: Your Zig is the only one to escape the station after the "Take Off Every Zig!" sequence.
- Shout-Out: The joke endings in the Japanese version involve several references to comedy routines and Cats attempting to sing the opening theme of the Astro Boy anime.
- Sole Survivor: Your Zig is the only carrier fighter that clearly survives during the famous opening, sadly.
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: Trope Namer. A bomb is set on a fleet ship, and the fighters have barely enough time to get ready for battle before it blows.
- Space Navy: Cats is in command of one, and there are also Zig houses, which only Zig can survive.
- Space Opera: The backstory of the game involves an interstellar war.
- Space Pirates: Cats in the arcade and Mega Drive versions. It's graduated to The Empire in the PC-Engine CD iteration.
- Spread Shot: Red shots cover the screen with this.
- This Cannot Be!: In the original Japanese, the captain says this, as opposed to the Engrish "What you say!!"
- Tractor Beam: This was the game's main innovation. The Zig can project a short-ranged beam that traps minor enemies, which can later be flung at other enemies. You can only trap one enemy at a time, though, and you can't have both a captured enemy and a bomb. This can also be used as a shield to protect your ship, but only from the front and only for one shot.
- Translation Train Wreck: Oh, so much. The game is famous for this.
- War Was Beginning: Trope Namer, as the backstory involves this.
- A Winner Is You: Less notorious than the introductory cutscene, but still part of the "Blind Idiot" Translation:
- Wolfpack Boss: The three giant Gaskins at the end of the Barricade Zone (st. 6).
- Womb Level: Bellon (st. 7) is full of what appears to be malevolent plant-animal-hybrid life, xenomorph-headed Hermits, and far too many eyes in the background. The Jeim mid-boss even has one great eye whose pupil occasionally becomes serpentine, and the boss, Eve, is some kind of Eldritch Abomination with a tail that keeps stabbing at you.
- "You!" Exclamation: "It's you!"
- You Have No Chance to Survive: Trope Namer. The enemy fleet leader says this after he's sure the humans have lost the war.