Gemini Wing

I have no words.

Source // Arcade Museum

On its name alone, you could probably guess what Gemini Wing would have you do. Fly some kind of thing while shooting some other kind of things. This much is arguably obvious.

What isn't obvious is how Gemini Wing decides to tackle to vertical shoot 'em up genre, and it's not what I expected at all.

Fun Times

The entry for Gemini Wing conjures up the idea of a shoot 'em up that is all about bright colours and nonsense enemies, seen in a fun and ridiculous way, rather than a grim and hideous one. Animals and insects you might recognise are recoloured and repurposed as your opponents, looking far more alien than you'd ever have pictured them. The first boss encounter is a green walrus emerging from a waterfall, for example.

But you don't just see different enemies here as the mechanics of the genre are changed a little too. Gemini Wing gives you power-ups for your one starting weapon, but these power-ups form a chain-like tail behind your ship, following your movement around the screen. They include the likes of missiles, extra shots and even waves of screen clearing fire. Like many shooters, they don't need to make sense physically, so long as they look cool.

It's an interesting idea, adding to the huge amount of stuff happening on the screen at once: Enemies, enemies with their own power-up tails, bosses, detailed, animated backgrounds - it's all going on in Gemini Wing.


I'm able to say that with ease because - sadly - all I can do at the moment is watch it being played. There is a lot of things happening during this game, with the odd pause and spot of downtime here and there, usually before a boss encounter of some kind.

It gives you time to get a glimpse of what power-ups you have, but I'm not entirely sure how you're supposed to make sense of them, especially when they're whizzing about the screen trying to follow you. I think you can cycle through them, though don't quote me on that. I'd hope you'd be able to cycle through them if only to see what you have available.

As you might have guessed, if you get hit they'll all go flying, and in co-op mode, that means your partner can pick them up. Could be an interesting feature to have, I guess, but when watching single player runs you don't exactly get an idea of how hard the game is to know how often those power-ups go flying.

Final Word

As I've said before, it's hard to judge when you can't play a game. Gemini Wing looks different, I can definitely say that, but it also looks like 'too much' in places, and not 'good enough' in others, which is something I shouldn't say really.

The art style gives off mixed responses, shall we say? The animations do look good, but there is so much going on that they can get cluttered and lost amongst each other. The music is pretty good though the strange, slightly fuzzy sound effects get in the way of that too.

I'm not sold on Gemini Wing yet, but it looks interesting enough to keep an eye out for. If you've got more luck than me in playing it, find out for yourselves if I'm talking a load of old rubbish or not.

Fun Facts

The alien menace is supposedly brought to Earth because of a journalist stirring up some hatred towards them. And these 'journalists' say they're on the side of the consumer... pah!

Gemini Wing, developed by Tecmo, first released in 1987.
Version watched: Arcade, 1987 (MamePlayer)