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Wings of Fury (Kris Hatlelid)

July 4, 2010

Wings of Fury (1990) is one of the Amiga games I remember playing the most – mainly because it was about the only “real” game we had for the computer. I got it for free at an Amiga club meeting and played it off and on for about ten years when I finally sat down and played through the rest (there’s no ending to speak of, which was disappointing). In this game, you fly an F6F Hellcat (best plane of World War II) to destroy Japanese bases and ships from the carrier USS Wasp. There’s a little bit of historical accuracy including the F6F’s superior diving speed, the scorched-earth methods of winning, and nice little touches such as downed planes and dead soldiers remaining on the map until the end of the level along with night missions. Oh yeah, and the little guy who flags you in for landing! The music appears only in the intro, title, and level select screens.

“Wings of Fury” – (Kris Hatlelid)

This is an arranged piece from the intro. There is a LOT of text there, and even though it scrolls a little quickly, there’s literally about 50 seconds before the music changes, so I’ve cut down on the ambiance a little and also extended the fade-out at the end. The ambiance is actually quite interesting, sounding like a purring engine. It provides a nice build and tension as we wait for the main theme (particularly with the few bars in the middle), but also reflects the darkness of war. Then the main theme explodes with strings and trumpets, creating this excellent bit of hero music, and anthem to march to the airplane to go out and blow shit up. Due to storage limitations on the system, the main melody is only a few bars long and loops quite frequently, but it’s only for the intro screen, so it doesn’t have to be that long anyway. (In case you’re wondering, the only other song on here is a straightforward military drum march).

Because of this, “Wings of Fury” has quite a melody sitting there waiting to be unlocked, and I was a little surprised there are actually two remixes of this song that are both quite decent. The first is an orchestral mix that’s a little drawn-out (and sounds a little Scottish) while the second is an over-the-top rock mix with explosions and airplane engines (though I admit they sound a little like a Huey…). The rock anthem was used in Wings of Fury 2, a free remake by one devoted fan, Edwin Bos. It’s a 50MB download and worth checking out.

The composer, Kris Hatlelid (full name Krisjan), composed the original piece for the C64 (1987; this is the Amiga version, which is much better). His works include The Duel, NBA Showdown, and the C64 ports of Castlevania and Metal Gear. He still has a pretty big profile on the web, with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.

Looking back now at this game, I can find quite a few odd things that I never noticed as a kid. When you’re young, chances are you don’t think too much about what you’re doing, but the game is really kind of intense. There is no way to win without completely destroying all the Japanese forces on each island – which involves bombing and strafing every last bunker, AA turret, barracks, hospital, and running soldier (and they give little cries when you kill them). Maybe you don’t think about this much at the time because there are so many things to watch out for – torpedo planes attacking the Wasp (now there’s an ironic name…). Jingoistic? Yeah. Then again, the Japanese release reversed the roles, so I guess there was no other way to play World War II. *sigh* Kids…

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