Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’ll fly with angels, which in Gynoug is far, far grosser than it sounds.
Early Sega Genesis was weird Sega Genesis, at least until Sonic raised the system’s profile in mid-1991. Western development, particularly from Sega itself, hadn’t fully ramped up yet, so many publishers looked to Japan to find cool stuff. This resulted in a lot of quirky, below-the-radar games seeing release—in particular a ton of arcade ports—which would feel real obscure just a few years later. So many gems!
One perfect example was 1991’s Gynoug, known in the USA as Wings of Wor (playlist / longplay / VGMdb). It’s a pretty fun horizontal shooter from a time when shmups were drowning the Genesis, the rousing tale of an avenging angel locked in combat with a series of increasingly grotesque tumors, elderly fetuses, and crustaceous dick-monsters. And you thought Kid Icarus was weird.
It’s got music, too!
NCS / Masaya / Carls493 (YouTube)
Providing the score to this madness was none other than a young Noriyuki Iwadare, who, in the days before Lunar (previously on Morning Music) and Grandia, had quite a deft hand for YM2612 chiptunes. Much like Gynoug’s unusual graphics—small sprites, but lots of fancy effects—Iwadare’s score has a workmanlike quality and occasionally punches above its weight. Lotta rousing anthems here, and some classical influence, too. The boot-up / title sequence (this other longplay lets it play out) is a particularly pleasant audio/visual journey.
Anyway, yeah, those early-year Mega Drive games. Go explore ‘em sometime! Lotsa good stuff to find. And, occasionally, phalluses.
That’s a wrap for today’s Morning Music! Thus ends my week of writing from vacation exile. Soon, the mods will no longer be asleep. Feel free to jump into the open thread below, and I’ll see you next week.