Zero Wing

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Zero Wing
ZeroWing arcadeflyer.png
One of the two Japanese arcade flyers of Zero Wing.
Composer(s)Tatsuya Uemura
Toshiaki Tomisawa
Masahiro Yuge
Platform(s)Arcade, Sega Mega Drive, PC Engine (CD-ROM²)
  • JP: September 1989
  • NA: 1989
  • EU: 1989
Sega Mega Drive
  • JP: May 31, 1991
  • EU: 1992
PC Engine CD-ROM²
  • JP: September 18, 1992
Genre(s)Scrolling shooter

Zero Wing (ゼロウィング, Zero Wingu) is a 1989 side-scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game developed by Toaplan and published by Taito. The player, Trent, is a lone hero who is intent on saving the universe from an evil force.

It enjoyed a degree of success in arcades and was subsequently ported to the Mega Drive by Toaplan on May 31, 1991, in Japan, and by Sega during the following year in Europe, followed by a Japan-only release by Naxat Soft on September 18, 1992, for the PC Engine's CD-ROM².

The European version of the Mega Drive port was the source for "All your base are belong to us", an Internet meme which plays off the poorly translated English in the game's introduction.


Set in 2101, the game follows the signing of a peace treaty between the United Nations and CATS, an alien cyborg. However, CATS breaks the covenant and takes control of the Japanese space colonies. The protagonist leads a ZIG spacecraft, which had managed to escape from the mothership destroyed by CATS, with the aim to defeat enemy forces, avenge the mothership and its crew and liberate the Earth.


Arcade version screenshot.

As with other scrolling shooters, the aim of the game is to shoot all enemies that appear on screen and avoid getting obliterated by enemy fire, crashing into enemies or into foreground scenery. There are mid-level and end-of-level boss enemies that stay with the player until they are defeated. The game features eight levels.[citation needed]


After it became fairly successful in the arcades and game centers, Zero Wing was ported to the Mega Drive in 1991 by Toaplan themselves and to the CD-ROM², an add-on for the PC Engine, by Naxat Soft in 1992. The Mega Drive version was also released in Europe by Sega in 1992. The home console versions of Zero Wing were never released in North America due to the release of the arcade version being distributed by Williams Electronics. The Japanese release is able to play fine on American Sega Genesis consoles. Like most early titles it had no region protection, nor had the European release been PAL-optimized.

In the Mega Drive version, to expand on the game's plot, Toaplan added an introductory cutscene to the game. This introductory scene was translated by Sega of Europe to English from Japanese rather poorly for the European release (a phenomenon dubbed Engrish), resulting in dialogue such as "Somebody set up us the bomb", "All your base are belong to us", and "You have no chance to survive make your time". The introduction does not appear in the arcade nor CD-ROM² versions; rather, a different intro takes place with a blue-windowed ZIG.

In the PC Engine version two new levels were added - 5th (Deeva) and 10th (Vacura).


Review scores
Mean Machines91%[4]
Sega Force86%[6]
Sega Power10/10[7]

The game received positive critical reception upon release. Computer and Video Games scored it 93%, including ratings of 92% for graphics, 93% for sound, 90% for playability, and 89% for lastability. They praised "the great intro sequence", "super-smooth gameplay, beautifully defined graphics, rocking sound track, amazing explosions and incredible end-of-level bosses", concluding that it is "the game which breathes (sic) new life into shoot 'em ups on the Mega Drive".[1] Mean Machines scored it 91%, including ratings of 92% for presentation and graphics, 88% for sound, 90% for playability, and 89% for lastability, concluding that it is one of "the best Megadrive blasts in ages."[4] Sega Force scored it 86%, including ratings of 84% for presentation, 89% for visuals, 83% for sound, 89% for playability, and 82% for lastability, concluding that it is "almost as good as Hellfire" but "not quite."[6]

"All your base are belong to us"[edit]

In 1999, Zero Wing's introduction was re-discovered, culminating in the wildly popular "All your base are belong to us" Internet meme.[9]


  1. ^ a b Computer and Video Games, issue 117, pages 60-62
  2. ^ Games-X, issue 9
  3. ^ Joystick, issue 18, page 182
  4. ^ a b Mean Machines, issue 10, pages 74-76
  5. ^ MegaTech, issue 5, pages 32-35
  6. ^ a b Sega Force, issue 7, pages 70-71
  7. ^ Sega Power, issue 23, page 55
  8. ^ "HonestGamers: Zero Wing". HonestGamers. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  9. ^ Jeffrey Benner (2008-08-28). "When Gamer Humor Attacks". Archived from the original on September 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-21.

External links[edit]