Isn’t it always the case, just as you’re about take some annual leave to get some well deserved rest from blasting enemy spaceships day after day, the aliens of the Xenon system decide to ruin it all by coming back into your own solar system with their army of attack star-ships. To make things worse they’ve gone through the asteroid belt causing chain reaction of meteors to swarm throughout the solar system, threatening to wipe out moons and planets. Well as you are the fearless hero, you need to ditch your holiday plans and jump into your Golden Wing to defend the entire solar system from this invasion, as after all… you are the last hope…again.
Golden Wing is a modern day Asteroids clone for the Commodore Amiga that provides high quality arcade blasting action. The premise is simple, clear out all of the meteors and enemy ships within each wave to complete a level and then move onto the next. I’ve never been a fan of the genre previously but Golden Wing is a prime example of how high quality production values can dramatically invigorate what is otherwise an outdated gaming genre.
The first thing that hits you when you start playing is the wonderful aural sonics with a high energy pumping soundtrack (there are three different in game tunes) along with some beefy sound effects and digitised voices dragging you instantly into the game. The bright vibrant 16 colour pre-rendered and hand drawn graphics look great on the screen, especially if you play the game on a CRT monitor.
The inclusion of power-ups adds an additional layer of depth to the otherwise simple and straight forward shooting action. At the beginning of each level your Golden Wing ship is some what cumbersome to navigate around, so picking up Speed Ups will make your craft more agile, Shield pick ups will make you invulnerable for a limited amount of time, Bomb pick ups will apply one hit to every enemy on screen at the time, with the fourth and final pick up providing the invaluable Extra Life.
The screen can get quite cramped with the number of enemy objects on screen at any given time and it really looks spectacular when you start a new level and you are immediately set upon by a number of different objects putting your Golden Wing craft at risk. At times I would lose a life just because I was mesmerized by the enemy graphics. To break up the action, Golden Wing feature boss levels to provide that sense of a point of achievement.
Despite all this praise, the game is not without its faults. Hit detection is the main thing that could do with a lot of improvement as your Golden Wing can succumb to an object that does not appear to have actually made contact. Conversely, you can have a part of your craft overlapping a power pickup but, irritatingly the game won’t register the contact. It can also be a little frustrating at the start of a new wave level to have enemy objects spawn right on top of your craft, which means you need to memorise the starting points of meteors and enemy ships for many of the later levels if you want to keep your lives intact.
Putting these niggles aside, there is no denying the quality of the arcade action on offer with Golden Wing. This is some serious addictive gaming that will have you coming back for more time after time and is a very welcomed addition to the modern day Amiga gaming library.
Golden Wing was initially released in 2018 as a free digital version but game collectors can pick up a great physical cardboard box edition (featuring the game on a 3.5 inch diskette, instruction manual, A4 size poster, badge and stickers) from Bitmap Soft for a very affordable price that will look great on your retro gaming shelf.
Fast paced and addictive shooting action wrapped up in high product values that will have you playing the game hours on end.
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Contributes to RetroGamerNation YouTube channel, RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Reset 64 Magazine, The 8-Bit Annual and various other publications.