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Wings – a trip down memory lane

When I was about 11 years old, I bought my first computer. An old fashioned Commodore 64. A few years later,  I had saved enough money from my paperroute to buy an Amiga 600, the top of the bill in gaming back then. I’ve spent way too many hours playing games on those devices. And one of those games still brings back memories. I am talking about Wings. And the coolest thing? Wings is back!

I don’t think I’ve ever played a better dogfighting game than that. Situated in 1916-1918, you are flying one of the first combat aircraft. Sometimes you go on patrol, sometimes you are bombing a city, other times strafing the enemy trenches. The missions are fun diversion, but the dogfights were the coolest.

In this era of superrealistic games such as the Call of Duty-series or Battlefield the simplicity of those first planes is sometimes a thing to long for. No endless grinding to unlock AA-missiles. No, just hop in and start shooting.

So when the people of Good Old Games mailed me they had Wings(TM) remastered on sale, I was happy to send them some of my money. Not much, I think $2,59 is quite a bargain.

I downloaded, installed and started the game. Filled with anticipation. And also a bit nervous. What if it would turn out dissappointing. Another childhood memory destroyed?

Fun

Nope. I wasn’t dissappointed. The game was exactly as I remembered it. The guys building this (they built it anew, from scratch) did a marvelous job. They salvaged the old magic, while making it look a hell of a lot better than the original.  Just compare these two:

wings-old

Wings, the old Amiga game (photo: Gog.com)

Wings-remastered-screenshot

Wings, the Remastered version (ingame Screenshot)

Story line

The game begins as you arrive on your base. You’re CO (Commanding Officer) welcomes you and praises you for your skillful paperwork. You did such a good job, that you now get to keep the squadron journal. This may sound silly, but it is an essential part in bringing Word War I to live.

Wings-journal

Squadron Journal in Wings(TM) remastered

Every mission follows the same route. First, you get a new journal entry to read. This creates the stage, your motive, for your next patrol, strafe or bombing run. And in the meantime, it teaches you a few things about World War I. I remember that it is thanks to this game that I knew when the war ended, and that the US was originally neutral, but joined in 1917. None of that was taught in school. At least, not my school. We learned about WW II, but not about ’14-’18.

Of course, you can just skip this read, but…why? It isn’t THAT long.

After you’ve gone through this, you get your briefing clearly spelled out. And then your plane (and that of your wingmen) takes of. Wings to combat!

Re-incarnation, promotions and medals

You will then go to the 3D mode and try to survive the onslaught. Sometimes this may be easy, as you face only mild opposition. Other times, however, you may be heavily outnumbered. If you fail your mission and crash, you might be lucky and sneak back through the enemy lines and reach your base. But fail three missions, and you’re a goner… command takes away your Wings and then it is off to the trenches as a simple infantry man. Or, you die. In that case, it’s game over for your character.

However if you die, you get reincarnated as a new Rookie, and arrive on the base again. Since the former journal keeper died (you), it is now up to the newcomer (you) to keep the journal. The story just continues where it left. That way, you play the full 2-year stretch that Wings covers.

Succeeding, on the other hand, will earn you promotions and medals. Who doesn’t like promotions, or medals?

Enthusiastic about Wings?

Did you get as enthusiastic about this is I am? Go get your copy of Wings at Good Old Games (gog.com). It is currently on discount. But even if that offer expires, it’s still dirt cheap!

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