By Michael Mygind
Windjammers (or Flying Power Disk in Japan), published by Data East in 1994 for the NEO GEO MVS arcade, is basically air hockey with a Frisbee. The game has six selectable characters, each with their own strengths and skill levels. Each character represents a certain country, with most characters looking like hulking heaps of ‘roid rage.
Sidebar: 1994 was a big year for controversy regarding steroid use in professional sports including MLB, the Summer Olympics & the WWF. COINCIDENCE???
The game consists of playing each opponent in a best of two series of three 30 second matches or until either player scores 12 points or more. There are different ways of throwing the “Flying Power Disc” that include a curved throw, a power throw and a toss that will score 2 points if uncaught – but will result in an opportunity for a special throw if caught by the opponent. If a player catches the disc at the right moment, they can either charge up and perform a special throw which will send disc in a fast pattern that is unique to each character or do a special toss which will send the disc rolling at a high speed towards the goal. Each player’s goal is split between two point zones awarding 3 points if score on either side and one zone that rewards 5 points if score directly in the middle. Each court that you play on has its own quirks whether it be a narrow court or barriers in the middle that act as bumpers. In addition to the core gameplay are bonus games that include a Frisbee catching dog (It was the 90’s after all) and a set of bowling pins that you have to knock down.
The visuals are great and could easily pass as a game that SNK published. The music is up-tempo and compliments the fast gameplay.
Overall, I really can’t say anything bad about Windjammers. It’s fast and comes in quick bursts of gameplay, but is best played with someone else. Windjammers was only released for the Neo Geo AES, MVS & CD and is becoming more and more sought after. But, it can be emulated, so I strongly urge that you look for it and try this one out.