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Gundam Wing: Endless Duel

During the first half of the 1990s, there were two things flying high in the world of things nerds liked: fighting games and giant robots. So, when Gundam Wing: Endless Duel came along for the Super Famicom it was a case of two great tastes that taste great together. It was a solid fighting game and it had the license for one of the most popular anime of the time. The game just made sense. Gundam Wing had several mecha with cool designs that were already getting people arguing about who could beat who in a fight. Putting them all into a fighting game was a logical choice, as it allowed players to duke it out and get their answers on a virtual battlefield. The only unfortunate thing about the game was that it never had an official release outside of Japan, much to the chagrin of many a Westerner.

As was frequently becoming the case in the 90s, Gundam Wing adopted a control scheme very similar to Street Fighter II. There were a lot of moves that used quarter circle forward or back motions followed by an attack button. This helped people familiar with this sort of thing hop into the game much quicker. The game handled very smoothly as well, so once players got used to the moves it wasn’t too hard to start stringing a few combos together and going to town against opponents. It’s also interesting to note that Endless Duel was an early example of significant forward and back dashing, as well as air blocking to appear in a fighting game.

Each mecha had a decent variety of special and super attacks, often times with meters that needed to be monitored to make sure the attack was doable. Given that there were so many unique robots in the anime, it made for a bunch of cool moves that players could do. Fans of the show had so many choices as to what they could play as be it Deathscythe, Wing Gundam, Heavyarms, Sandrock, Tallgeese, and many more. The selection of Gundams combined with all the moves they could do gave players a lot of options.

Game modes were pretty standard with a story mode, a versus mode, and a trial mode. The first is what one would expect, picking a Gundam then embarking on a series of best of three battles, beating everyone until the credits role. Versus offered local duels when people had friends over. Meanwhile, Trial was interesting as it was much harder. The already tough CPU controlled Gundams became even tougher, and players were thrust into a series of winner take all single round battles. Moreover, not all health would be restored when going from battle to battle, with players only getting about 20% of max health back after each fight. So, if one had a difficult fight and lost a lot of health in one battle, going into the next things may be pretty bad with the player perhaps only having half a health bar.

Gundam Wing: Endless Duel is also one of the better looking games to appear on the Super Famicom. There is so much detail to everything happening on-screen. Each Gundam looks amazing and moves fluidly across the screen as it fights. Meanwhile, there is a lot going on in the background. Battles take place in a number of iconic locations ranging from the cylindrical space colonies common to the Gundam universe to a desert camp with dozens of mecha parked behind the combatants. The quality of the graphics in this game are truly impressive. Endless Duel is easily one of the best looking games to appear on Nintendo’s 16-bit console.

Not only does the game look great, it sounds amazing too. The soundtrack is fantastic. Each stage has really well done music that makes the battles far more exciting with a mix of rock and electronic pieces (at least insofar as the SFC was capable of this). It’s hard to pick a favorite piece here because Endless Duel’s music is so consistently good. There’s even a rendition of Rhythm Emotion that plays during the game’s intro. Of course, there’s also the sound of Gundams clashing on top of all the action, and they sound good as well with plenty of bashing, smashing, and weapons fire going on.

As fighting games gained in popularity, more and more began to appear on the Super Famicom / SNES. Many were very simple arcade ports, but every once in a while something like Gundam Wing: Endless Duel would come along and surprise everyone. It would go on to be viewed by many as one of if not the best fighting game to show up in the console’s library. As such, it’s still held in high regard to this day, with many wishing it had received a worldwide release.

- IroIro
November 30, 2019

More Fighting Game Related Articles:

- Star Gladiator Review (PlayStation)

- Battle Arena Toshinden Review (Gameboy)

- Psychic Force Anime Review

Platform: Super Famicom
Genre: Fighting
Developer: Natsume
Publisher: Bandai
Released: 1996

Gundam Wing Endless Duel Image 1
SFC Box Art

Gundam Wing Endless Duel Image 2
Shenlong vs Wing

Gundam Wing Endless Duel Image 3
Wing vs Mercurius

Gundam Wing Endless Duel Image 4
Shenlong vs Epyon