Thanks to ININ Games for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 11/11/2021
In this 1991 horizontal shooter from Masaya, you take control of a winged warrior, who sets out to destroy the forces of evil erupting from a grotesque den… Yet another Masaya shump, ported by Ratalaika Games, formerly known as “Wings of Wor” in the US, although that version is completely excluded here.
We saw it with Gleylancer, and yep, all the usual emulation standards of that port are here, including the impressive CRT filter, display options, and control/cheat support. Not really anything to say having done so several times in the past week, but I’m happy to report nothing is bugged on this end, so the screen resolutions actually work.
For the game itself? It definitely looks a bit basic at times, and comes off as a typical looking horizontal shooter, not nearly with the same amount of impressive sprites or stages as Gleylancer. The final stage has a really cool scroll effect in the background, and some of the bosses look really wild, but otherwise I found most of the game’s visuals to look subpar, and the music to be rather forgettable. It was made before Gleylancer, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that the presentation is weaker than a game which came later, but it does come off as a game that just focuses on the bare essentials in presentation without really impressing. Still, it’s fun to notice certain sound cues that would get recycled in said later games!
Gynoug is a Horizontal shooter, where the main objective is the usual: get to the end, slay the bosses. It’s far simpler than Gleylancer, since you only have a basic shot button to worry about, with a secondary shot button for powerups you collect and redeem, akin to the Gradius series. Unlike Gradius however, these powerups are designated when you collect them, rather than having to save a certain amount for certain ones. Thus, you could find a thunderbolt, a barrier, and a lightning storm one, but could only use them in the order you picked them up in, unless you want to either waste the ones you don’t need, or collect more upgrades to push out the ones in your queue.
Right off the bat, the controls are very tight and responsive, again, just like Gleylancer. Since there’s no options or speed settings to worry about, combat is just a simple matter of moving and shooting, and I was able to get used to the controls in no time at all, a great sign! There are six stages to go through in total, and each of them consists of a long stretch, usually with a midboss in the middle of the stage, before you encounter the main big bad at the very end.
All while you defeat enemies, rack up points, and pick up drops, including those aforementioned powerups, along with blue and red orbs that increase your attack power, and wings that increase your speed, a must-have when dealing with bosses that rain bullets all over you, or tight enemies that demand quick reflexes. Besides that though, Gynoug is shockingly basic, almost to the point of boredom at times. While there are varying difficulty levels to keep you on your toes, I still found the stages to be far too long and boring, lacking in good level design, and continuing sends you back an insulting amount. Luckily, the typical rewind and save state options are still here, as are a list of cheats available from the beginning, so anyone can beat the game with these features.
Depressingly, there seems to be no “vintage” mode that disables all this like in Gleylancer, so you’ll have to manually disable them in the options menus and unbind the rewind key if you feel like going that route. The game itself also completely lacks a local score leaderboard, with only the highest score being saved in the options menu, of all places, so scorechasing ain’t much of a fun experience here either. You just simply play according to your style, then go for beating the game, with not much else to it, and I was able to finish the game in a hour or so without much incentivizing me to go for a cheat less Hardest difficulty score chase like I did with Gleylancer, simply because the levels didn’t impress me all that much. The game actually changes the ending text based on the difficulty and if it’s the second loop or not, but otherwise there isn’t too much replay value here, even from a scorechasing standpoint.
In conclusion, Gynoug is a fairly average horizontal shooter, even if it’s nowhere near the same exciting level of action that Gleylancer provided. Still, the QOL options here are very welcome, and just like with that game I feel that this port easily makes for the ultimate way to play Gynoug, one that yet again, is far cheaper than buying a real cartridge of it or the US Wings of Wor.
While the lack of that aforementioned US version is a bummer, you really can’t go wrong with this port at all, and it’s pretty much a flawless port of a decent Genesis shump, the only real problem coming from how generic it often feels, and the level design being completely dull to the point I don’t feel like I’ll remember much of it months from now. Hell, the final stage is literally a boss rush with no other hazards or obstacles!
Still, here’s hoping this port train continues, and we see some of the Masaya games I wanted for NSO as part of this line of reissues…
I give Gynoug a 6 out of 10.