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 Post subject: ST: Gemini Wing
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:22 pm 

Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 778
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Gemini Wing – Tecmo (1987)

Gemini Wing is one of the most memorable shmups I’ve ever played. It has excellent gameplay, strange and unique bosses, and memorable music. This is an old-school vertical shmup with seven stages to play through. There are no panic bombs to clear the screen of bullets, and your main weapon is only a basic pea-shooter twin blaster. This game is very hard, and, depending on the PCB’s DIP settings, you can’t buy-in on the final stage, and you get sent back to stage 6 when you continue if you die your last life on the final stage!

The joystick moves your ship in eight directions.
A button: Fires your main weapon.
B button: Use subweapons, in the form of Gunballs.

You cannot upgrade your main weapon at all. You are very vulnerable if you are stuck without any subweapons. Your subweapons come in the form of Gunballs, which are dropped by creatures called Bringers. Bringers come onto the screen trailing Gunball weapons behind it. Shooting a Bringer will change the Gunball weapon type in its trail. When you kill a Bringer, it will drop the Gunballs, allowing you to collect them. You can even steal from the Bringer, and I recommend this, since, although risky, you can obtain the subweapons you want. Sometimes, Bringers will appear on the screen lying in wait and try to steal Gunballs from you!

Certain Gunballs are useful in certain stages. The Gunballs trail behind your ship, and you can carry up to 15 Gunballs at any one time. The Gunball closest to your ship will be the subweapon you will activate. Gunballs are also dropped by small Bringer larvae, though they will not drop Gunballs if there is already an adult Bringer on the screen. The Gunball types are as follows:

3-Way Shot: Quite useless, since it lasts a very short time. It is certainly better than nothing, and it passes through multiple enemies and deals overlap damage to bosses. It can be used as a panic weapon when multiple enemies are crowding in front of you. Symbol is a lavender Gunball with a three-headed arrow.

Homing Missiles: Releases a volley of eight homing missiles. This subweapon is very useful in stages 3, 6, and 7, since this is the only subweapon that can pass through walls. Many enemies in those levels hide behind walls out of your line of fire by your main shot and most other Gunball subweapons. Symbol is a green Gunball with a missile.

Wide Beam: Sends a screen-wide beam up the screen. It comes out fast, but it misses enemies which are in the same horizontal position as your ship. Not very useful as a panic weapon. Symbol is a dirty yellow Gunball with a four-point lens flare.

Spark Hurricane: Releases a flurry of sparks which rotate outward from the ship. This is by far the best subweapon in the game. It is the perfect panic weapon which catches most enemies, except for a few fast ones. It is almost useless in the wall stages (3, 6, and 7). Symbol is a blue gunball with a whirlpool.

Swinging Fire Bar: Sends out a column of flames in front of your ship that oscillates six times. Used correctly, the Swinging Fire Bar is the most powerful subweapon in the game. It lasts a long time and can kill bosses with one use if you manage to overlap them with this subweapon for the duration of its use. It is NOT recommended as a panic weapon, because your ship becomes immobile for a short time when the subweapon is first activated. Symbol is a red Gunball with a flame.

Speed-Up: These increase your ship speed by two factors. I do not recommend boosting your speed during the wall stages, as you move so fast that you might run into a wall and die. Symbol is an embossed blue circle with an “S” in it.

Point Bonuses: Gives you 20,000; 50,000; or 100,000 points, depending on the number on the Gunballs (2, 5, or 10).

1-up: I’ve seen this appear only once per game, and it usually appears in stage 4, sometimes stage 5. Spam Gunballs on the Bringer that carries it, since it is usually a Bringer that makes an entrance on the screen then quickly leaves. Symbol is an “E” inside a rounded-cornered red triangle with wings.

Enemies attack in very ornate, intricate patterns and formations. There are no bullet patterns to worry about, since most enemy fire is aimed directly at you. Your greatest threat lies in the enemies themselves. You will come to despise certain enemy types, since these enemies will kamikaze into your ship, or point-blank you. Here are the enemies to watch out for:

Miniature earwig: Extremely annoying. They fall down the screen, and when they line up horizontally to your ship, they do a hard right-angle turn right into your ship.

Large moths: They oscillate back and forth on the screen, moving slowly downward. When one lines up horizontally with your ship, they greatly increase their horizontal speed, which can cause them to slam right into your ship.

Green fruit flies: These enemies approach and perform swinging circular movements once they reach the midpoint of the screen. If you don’t kill those at the edge of the screen, those will move so fast once they start their circular pattern that they may crash into your ship.

Praying mantises: These enemies always travel fast. They are the striker enemies of the game. Some of them even shoot at you. You always risk colliding with one of them since near the bottom of the screen, they start to veer off sideways.

Small moths: Very annoying enemies which either come from behind then make a beeline to your ship, or come down from the top at high speed, then make a beeline to just above your ship, effectively trapping you at the bottom of the screen to be left at the mercy of other enemies.

Eggs: They take multiple hits, and shooting one will cause them to dart downwards at high speed.

Materializers: Just like in Gradius, but they come in two types. The ovals die in one hit from your main weapon, while the paramecia die with five. The materializers closer to your ship will drift much slower towards your ship than those that materialize further from your ship. Use that fact to your advantage.

Bats: These enemies appear only in the first half of Stage 5. They pop out of the clouds and move around erratically. They sometimes even pop out near the bottom of the screen, at times right underneath your ship! Keep moving in this part of the stage.

Bosses in Gemini Wing are generally not very difficult, except for the final boss. Some possess attacks which can kill players who are not paying attention.

Green Walrus (Stage 1): This guy spits out bubbles in a spread pattern. The bubbles travel slowly, and your ship can squeeze between them. Do not stay beneath him too long, otherwise he will swan dive right into you.

Twin Cyclops (Stage 2): They shoot aimed bullet streams at you. Their most devastating attack is a fast huge laser fired from their eye. Always pay attention to the direction that their eye is looking. They fire lasers in random directions, and they are always scanning with their eye.

Sea Blob (Stage 4): It moves around slowly back and forth on the top of the screen. Its sides shoot aimed bullet streams at you. Its weak spot shoots fireballs straight downward. It hides its weak spot at regular intervals. This boss is very easy when you lead its weak spot so that the aimed bullet streams miss you.

Mothership Tail (Stage 5): This is an impressive part of the stage. This boss can range from very easy to somewhat difficult. The eight eye turrets on the tail have to be destroyed. There is a port that releases invincible skulls which set off bouncing around the screen in random directions and random speed. You can never tell what speed the skull will start to move, and fighting this boss too long will cause more skulls to be released. The most effective strategy is to point-blank the eye turrets. The eye turrets fire aimed three-way spreads at your ship, but it you are close to the turrets when they fire, they shoot their spreads at a very slow speed.

Centipede (Stage 6): Its weak point is the head. Do not hover over the holes in the ground, since he pops out through them without warning at times. This can be a very long, drawn-out fight if you are not aggressive.

Bringer Queen (Stage 7): This guy is invincible to your main weapon. This giant dragonfly is so huge that you are left with a small portion of the bottom of the screen to move around—and you must avoid crashing into the walls of its chamber! It fires aimed bullet streams at you, and periodically fires an 8-way pattern of giant football-shaped bullets. It can be only hurt with Gunballs. Ironically, the Three-Way Shot Gunball is best subweapon to use against this guy. Its weak spot is its tail, but the boss protects it most of the time with its rear pair of wings. You can obtain Gunballs by shooting the eggs it releases from its tail. Use Gunballs when it uncovers its weak spot.

When you beat the game, you receive a “Fortune Bonus,” which gives you 20,000 points for every Gunball you are carrying, and 50,000 points for every extra life.

In the wall stages, you can overlap the “emplacement” enemies safely and shoot them.

The growing vines in Stage 3, Stage 6, and Stage 7 will solidify once they touch another wall. You can destroy the vines at this point and not worry about them growing back.

The thunder in Stage 4 will cause ALL sprites (including bullets) to turn black. Pay attention!

There is no boss in Stage 3.
Thanks for the memories, shmups community!

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