LifeisXbox’s Gynoug review | Long ago, when this who speaks to you was a young grasshopper, in a time where the idea of playing games at home was still consolidating and expanding (at least here in Brazil), I was a happy owner of a Mega Drive (or Genesis, like our friends from the US used to call it). Yeah, the very first version of the console, which came with an Altered Beast cartridge. This game was an essential and somewhat fun beat-em-up that falls short after finishing it for the third or fifth time. But I only complain about it today when I look back in time. When we (by we, I mean my sister and me) were kids, it never really bothered me. Especially because owning a game was unusual: like me, most kids I knew only rented games – mainly because they were costly. Yeah, something almost unthinkable in 2021.
I remember going to the mall with my parents on a sunny day. On a sunny day that, for no reason at all, my father made something unthinkable: he bought me a brand new game! A game I’ve never seen, read or heard about it (mainly because at the age of 6/7, I haven’t yet had contact with gaming magazines, the only source of gaming news we had in that time). My dad made it a few more times later, I must admit (the reason why my collection of games was so uninteresting at that time). What was the name of that game? Oh, sorry for beating around the bush for so long: its name was Gynoug, the reason why I asked to cover this game now, 30 years after its original release.
This is a short review, our usual the good, mixed and the bad was difficult because of the nature of this game. Reviewed on Xbox One X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
Gynoug or Wings of Wor (like it was known in the US) was a single-player shmup developed by the Japanese Studio Masaya Games and published for Mega Drive by NCS Corporation in Japan, DreamWorks in North America, and by SEGA itself in Europe. The game has already been brought back to life through Nintendo Wii Virtual Console in 2008 and now, two decades after its original release, the game gets a revisit by the hands of Ratalaika Games.
In this adventure, you play as a winged warrior (which only thanks to Ratalaika port, I discovered he was an angel) by the name of Wor (hence the name of the game) in a quest to stop the spread of an evil spirit known as The Destroyer and his legion of demons. To do so, you will need to shoot down every grotesque being that crosses your path. With upgrades to your movement, fire rate, and damage, and different power-ups, Gynoug presented everything a classic shooter needed back in the day! But what really made it shine among so many games of the genre was its fantastic soundtrack, which is still as good as it was back in the day!
Within its six challenging (huge emphasis on the word challenging) stages, you will fly on dark caves, over (and below) mysterious seas, inside old castles, and mysterious factories (a combination which never made any sense to me). And thanks to the easily accessible cheat mode present in Ratalaika’s version of the game, I now know about the psychedelic stage (that gave me headaches) and the beautiful final level among the clouds.
Now we mentioned its visuals, the bizarre world of Gynoug remains colorful and well-detailed as I remembered it. Even though they now show the game’s age, the presence of filters (something common in emulated games) makes your experience a little smoother. And it makes me think about that stage that gave me a headache while playing: did it have the same effect on players back in the day?
Thankfully, Ratalaika kept all the functionalities already added in the 2008’ Virtual Console version like the rewind and save state functions (which allowed me to – finally – finish this game 30 years later) and cheats that give you unlimited lives and invincibility, among other options to make your life easier. Without them, know that you are going for a tough ride with this game. Tough and short ride: thanks to those cheats, I believe most gamers who try it will be able to finish this adventure in only a couple of hours. This is a common con when bringing old games to a new audience: it’s hard to balance the challenge that made such games shine on their time with the little to no patience gamers have nowadays. From this perspective, I believe Ratalaika nailed it, giving players the option to activate all those shenanigans right from the beginning while leaving the possibility to experience the game as it was meant to be for those brave enough.
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With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.