Created by three Microsoft interns in the summer of 2006 and released midyear in 2007, “Aegis Wing” at its heart breathes the air of the classic shooters of yesteryear. Anyone with any solid foundation in gaming will be quickly reminded of shooters such as Defender and Gradius. However, there are a few blemishes in this Live Arcade free download that keep it from being everything it could have been. Nonetheless, the end product is one that’s worth downloading.
The biggest problem many will have with the game is its extreme difficulty. Anyone that doesn’t have patience will find themselves looking to throw their controller at the nearest living thing while playing the single player campaign. Shocking statement, but that’s how tough “Aegis Wing” gets at times. In addition, the graphics and sound aren’t really on the level of the other 360 Live Arcade games, but nonetheless do a decent job of portraying the sci-fi atmosphere.
Because the single-player campaign is so challenging, many gamers will try to play the game with a bunch of friends. However, and luckily for this title, the multiplayer mode is nothing short of gratifying. Supporting up to four players, “Aegis Wing” is a blast to play with a few friends, especially when they’re all yammering over their headsets to help each other out. In addition, there is one innovation in the game that takes the gameplay to next level and solidifies the game as more than just a summer internship project.
Using the X-button, all four players can link together to form a ship with more than enough firepower to take down some of the game’s extremely tough enemies. While one player controls the ship and fires his weapon, the other three players can also fire their weapons. If that method isn’t working well, another tap of the X button will let the unhappy ship part from the union and continue the game while the other three stay linked.
Not only is this option one of the coolest ever seen in a side-scrolling shooter, it saves “Aegis Wing” from reveling in mediocrity and makes the game accessible to gamers of varying levels of skill. Those who grew up on games like “Ikaruga,” “Raiden Project” and “Philosoma” will appreciate the game for its immense challenge, while novice gamers will enjoy the game’s multiplayer campaign.
Considering the fact that the game is a free download on the X-Box Live Marketplace, there’s no reason why any 360 owner shouldn’t give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose but hours of solid old-school shooting action.