Real Talk By: The Wizard
Welcome to Windjammers! The well known sport of competitive Frisbee disc throwing into soccer goals! This isn’t ultimate Frisbee though, so put your putters away. This is Pong on steroids all ramped up with special moves, dives, and lobs shots! I have no idea where Data East came up with the idea of this sort of game way back in the days of the good ol’ Neo Geo, but they we’re really on to something.
The goal of Windjammers is simple. You take 2 players on a court similar to beach volleyball, or a tennis court, and take turns throwing a frisbee at each other in an attempt to get it past your opponent to score some points. Depending on the court there’s obstacles that the disc can hit before reaching the goal to be stopped, and the goal is actually a wall that spans the length of the court and has separate areas for different point totals depending on where you hit. For example you may score just 2 points, or hit the small area and score 5 points. The matches are 30 seconds, and best 2 out of 3 or first to 15 points. The gameplay is fast and frantic with diving, lob-shots, special moves, and curve shots.
The music in Windjammers is not the greatest. But it’s really not hard on the ears either. You are normally so busy in the game that you don’t even notice it except during the character selection, and at the very end of a match. It is worth noting that the characters all have phrases they say during selection and while playing a match. This can be pretty funny at times and adds a little extra needed charm to the game. There’s really not a lot to say about the music except that the game shines in other areas. The graphics in Windjammers are really not the games strong point either. They are a bit choppy and clunky looking but get the job done. The sprites are quite large as you would expect from a Neo Geo title. I think anyone who picks up this game won’t really pay attention to them, because they will focused on the action.
The controls in Windjammers are simple. You use 2 buttons and a joystick. You can slide, throw a lob shot, throw a regular shot, or attempt to time it right and throw back a special shot after catching a disc. There are at least 2 special moves per character and they will perform a different special move depending on which button you mash the fastest after catching a shot just right. You can also add English to shots to fool your opponent into not catching the shot, This is by far the most difficult aspect of the game. I have been playing for years and I’m still uncertain exactly how this works. All I know is any roll of the arcade stick or D-Pad before a throw will do something. Using simple Street Fighter special moves like quarter circle forward, quarter circle back, and even stuff like quarter circle up or down will always put some new curve on the disc. Not only will your opponent have no idea where the disc is going you won’t either! The controls are easy to learn and can be picked up in a few matches. The only control issue I have is your character loves to dive when you simply want to quickly catch a disc and you end up getting scored on. Other than that they are on point.
Good ol’ gameplay. This is where games are made or broke. Happy to say Windjammers has all the gameplay you could ever wish for. The single player campaign against the computer can be hard a times, and there are some OK special bonus games, but where this game really gets it right is the 2 player battles. You can have some epic battles with real friends. Windjammers multiplayer is the type of game pretty much anyone can enjoy. All my friends play next gen consoles, but when they come over they always ask me to fire up the arcade cabinet and throw in Windjammers.
Out of all the 50+ games I have for Neo Geo, Windjammers is the only one they ever want to play. We argue about who gets to pick what character because they all have different speeds and power, and special shots. The matches get very frantic. You will constantly be put in positions where you have 10 seconds to score 11 points for the win, and where you just need that last point and try to throw in a lob shot to land on the ground for a single point for the victory. And it’s always very crazy when you throw out the special move, and your opponent catches it and shoots is back unexpected! I feel like Windjammers is a adrenaline junkies game. There is always something exciting going down, and as soon as the match is over you just want that rush again. The gameplay here is top notch when played with friends.
Windjammers is a fast paced frisbee tossing game with OK music, and average graphics, when compared to other Neo Geo games. The gameplay is fast, hectic, and addicting. The controls are simple and work just right. There is a small pool of characters to choose from with varying abilities, speeds, and power. In the rather small library Neo Geo has to offer that mainly consist of fighting games, Windjammers is a breath of fresh air. Not only on the Neo Geo, but on all consoles ever made, there is simply nothing else like Windjammers out there. There are Windjammers clones like Bang Bead, but nothing compares to Windjammers period!
Out of Five
+Fast Frantic gameplay
- 2 vs 2 would have been awesome
-Graphics and music just OK.
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