I always get excited whenever I get a chance to check out retro games that are being remastered and released on new consoles. It means I don’t have to pull out boxes and clean consoles, which is a huge time saver! Gynoug was originally released for the Sega Master System back in 1991. If the title doesn’t sound familiar to you, that may be because it was released in North America as Wings of Wor. Side-scrolling shooting games were all the rage at the time with releases like Thunderforce and Hellfire, so does Gynoug do anything different than the usual side-scrolling shooter?
Gynoug is unique in the fact that you aren’t piloting a ship, but an angel. You are playing as Wor, an angel who has to battle the demons that are attacking heaven with their leader, who is known as Destroyer. The story really isn’t present in the game itself, I found it by doing research online. If I had the manual from the original release it would have told you the whole thing, but it doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is you are shooting the weird creatures.
Wor has abilities that allow him to shoot a variety of weapons towards the creepy creatures that are trying to take over. When you destroy a capsule you can collect blue orbs that increase the speed of your shot, or red orbs that make each shot do more damage. There is a limit on the amount of levels that you can have for the orbs as each type maxes out at five. You will have to collect as many orbs as you can, because if you get hit, you will lose orb levels. Besides orbs there are a variety of other power-ups to collect that change the type of shot you have.
At the start of the game you have a spread shot that is incredibly helpful so you can progress in the stage and collect more items. There are three different gems to collect that will change the pattern of your shot; red gives you a wide-spread shot that shoots forward, blue shoots forward, slightly above and behind; and yellow gives you a weaker forward and backward shot. If you find a shot that you prefer, I suggest making sure once you get the one you like, avoid collecting the other colours of gems.
There is one other type of item that can upgrade your weapons, elemental scrolls. The scrolls are designated with a letter depending on its type. You are able to carry three scrolls at once; if you have multiple scrolls with the same letter, all three will work together and enhance their effect. Some have a time limit, whereas others will let you use it a set amount of times. If you pick up more than three, the scrolls you currently have will be replaced with the new ones. Energy Balls let you shoot projectiles that take out enemy bullets, Lightning Bolt—as you might guess—shoots lighting in front of you, Ground Attacks have projectiles that stay close to the ground and take out enemies, Thunder Bolts damage all the enemies that are currently on the screen, Wildfire makes your projectiles stronger, Aura Shield protects you from enemy fire for a set amount of time, and my personal favourite, Elemental. Elemental protects your character and allows your bullets to pass through walls damaging any enemies that are hiding behind them.
The sound in Gynoug is great! Especially if you are listening with headphones on. The game also has great graphics and features some very “unique” enemies that you need to destroy. Most of the bosses that you encounter are creepy looking man-machine hybrids, like the human mixed with a locomotive. Because of this, Gynoug will definitely be more memorable than a lot of the other shoot ’em up titles that you play. Dismembered arms will drop down from the ceiling trying to grab you, bodies fall out of coffins, and skulls fly around the screen trying to chomp you. The backgrounds that you are flying past are animated in a way I personally haven’t seen in a game like this. In the first few stages, they rotate and contort. Then in later stages, they pulsate like they are alive. They work great with the bizarre and strange enemies you encounter.
Gyroug is a true bullet hell game. There were multiple times where my screen was full of shots, both mine and the enemies’, so it got quite difficult to avoid everything coming at me. Luckily in this remaster that Ratalaika Games worked on, you have the ability to make and load save states anytime you want. It also allows you to rewind the game as much as you like. So if you get hit by a stray bullet, you can rewind to avoid getting hit. In the later levels I used this more than I want to admit, but my eyes were already overstimulated, so I definitely did not want to have to restart the stage again.
Gynoug doesn’t have to be a very long game, it can be completed in as little as three hours. But this will depend on what difficulty setting you have the game on, how many continues and lives you have set and how many save states and rewinds you use. Using all of these definitely makes the challenge a lot easier. If you have the game on normal or hard and just have the default amount of lives and continues, it will obviously be harder-especially if you choose not to rewind or use save states. I can promise that Gynoug has an interesting message on the end screen, I have not seen one like this before. Once you complete the game you are taken back to the first stage to continue again with your current score and weapons to re-challenge the game again.
Gynoug (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Gynoug is a memorable shoot ’em up that is a must play for anyone who loves this genre, especially with a retro look. This game will definitely work your eyes to the max, so I recommend playing earlier in the day because late at night when you are tired I am sure you will be frustrated!