Gundam Wing. It’s a famous anime from the Land of the Rising Sun but quite frankly, it was never one of my “things.” You know, growing up my things were Godzilla, WWF, scary movies and Super Nintendo just to name a few. Never got into Gundam Wing. My only memory of it was buying a toy of one of the super deformed version in the mid ’90s rather randomly at this Japanese hobby shop. I say that to say… I would love this game even more if I had a genuine connection with the Gundam brand. And I already like this game a lot. It’s probably the finest Super Famicom exclusive fighting game ever made. So if you love fighting games and Gundam, then this is a match made in Heaven. Let’s take a closer look.
The game opens up with this rather nice cinematic intro. It is very Street Fighter Alpha 2-esque in its execution and style.
You can spot the similarities, right? I almost expect Sagat to come bursting through any second now!
It gets you pumped up to fire giant laser beams and the like.
Each fighter has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some are more agile than others. Others are a bit stronger, and so forth. Before we look at the fighters a bit more closely, let’s review some of the core principles of the game.
When you’re standing more than halfway across the screen from your foe, you can press a button to automatically fire your vulcan shot. This sends forth a series of bullets that don’t do a tremendous amount of damage, but enough to sway the tide of the battle your way. It’s good for a quick long distance attack. But see that 300 bar up there? Each time you perform a big special, it loses some points. Bigger moves drain more points. To fill it back up, you have to attack with your normal moves. This means you have to strategize — you can’t just go in there with guns a’blazing.
Each fighter has a super special (double Hadoken motion plus attack). This can be performed at any time in the match provided you have enough points. This is pretty cool since it means you don’t have to wait for your energy bar to be down to 25%. I guess it’s a variation on the old super move meter but somehow it feels slightly different even though in practice it really isn’t.
One of the neat things about this game is the ability to damage your foe even while he or she is on the ground. This also creates new opportunities for combos that aren’t present in other SNES fighting games. There is a slight juggle system at work here, and you can even block in mid-air in addition to dashing forward or backwards. Seeing as how this was released on March 29, 1996, Endless Duel benefits from some of the more modern fighting game tropes.
All fighters can also double jump or even TRIPLE JUMP. Being giant flying mechs you figured that this game would somehow bring that into play somewhat. And these features definitely do the trick.
That’s what you get for ripping off the great name of SHENG LONG!
I love Wing’s Dragon Punch variant. It gives you a chance to string together multiple strikes as he savagely swipes down at his opponent mid-air. Nice!
Heavy Arms lives up to its name. It’s got a whole lot of fire power backing it.
Wing proceeds to show Heavy Arms the finger. Then Wing backs up the trash talking with a CLUTCH victory that is far too close for comfort.
Sandrock’s stage is absolutely gorgeous, with that blazing sun popping up over the horizon. I love taking to the air with a double or triple jump to show off the sun in all its burning glory.
Wing’s blast rivals that of the sun’s power. Doesn’t look too good for ol’ Sandrock here…
Sandrock’s beautiful stage is second only to this, which shows off the captivating Northern Lights.
Wing polishes off an amazing 9-hit combo with his super special blast. I love how the colors of the beam and the Northern Lights in both pictures magically match!
Tallgeese (who is unsurprisingly the tallest mech in the game) puts up a good effort, hitting me with his devastating super special move even, but in the end he’s no match for Wing. Mechs flash orange during the final blow. Nice touch.
Mercurius has some nifty special moves, and proves to be a formidable foe.
Well GOT DAMN! [It’s actually Gundam… -Ed.]
You do know that I am PURPOSELY letting the computer pound on me so that I can capture their special moves, r-right? [Yeah, uh huh, sure thing… -Ed.]
Yup, I really had to hold back from opening a can of whup ass on his, er, ass. [Right, of course… -Ed.]
Whew, another tight battle goes down to the wire. The vulcan shot comes in handy when you need a little push to get you over the edge and nab that W.
And you thought SNK bosses were cheap! Epyon is cut out of a similar cloth. He’s got high priority strikes and easy combos that will turn you into a crying meme.
Please, make it stop. I may or may not be in the fetal position right now. I can neither confirm nor deny.
WHO’S YER DADDY NOW, BITCH!? [Did you tell the readers how many save states and retries you had to go through? -Ed.]. Uhhh, well would you look at the time! It’s a wrap!
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, or Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (to give it its full proper Japanese title), is an impressive fighting game for the Super Famicom. The anime ran for 49 episodes — it aired on April 7, 1995 and its final episode aired on March 29, 1996. Fascinatingly enough, the same day it went off the air was when Bandai released the Natsume developed fighting game. It must have been a bittersweet day for hardcore Gundam fans. Their favorite anime ended but they received this little treasure to enjoy.
Endless Duel is a sophisticated “modern day” fighting game. It feels like a “versus” fighter in a very elementary sense. From the little details such as the humongous screen text to the combos and double jumps, it feels like you’re playing a beta version of the first wave of Capcom’s “versus” fighting games. It’s impressive to see such a clash of titans on the Super Nintendo running as smoothly as it does. But that explains why there is ZERO speech samples in this game. They had to save the memory to devote it to the frames of animation. So you won’t hear any announcers screaming “ROUND ONE, FIGHT!” or even the fighters themselves talking trash. It’s just the music and sound effects of steel connecting on steel. It’s not a big enough issue to harp on, but once I noticed it, I felt like something was off, or missing. But you do get used to it, and it was for a good cause: the game looks incredible and moves so fluidly it has to be seen to be believed. It makes me wonder what a port of Darkstalkers or X-Men: Children of the Atom would have looked like on the SNES.
So ask yourself these three questions:
1. Do you like playing the Super Nintendo?
2. Do you like fighting games?
3. Do you like Gundam?
If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, you’ll really like this. And if you answered yes to all three, then you probably already own this game and mastered at least half the roster by now. At any rate, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel is a fine fighting game, and quite possibly the best one to never hit SNES American shores.