HLV-Gundam Wing Endless Duel
Bandai
Super Famicom

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Invariably, Nostalgia Pilots’ deep dive into the series lead me back to the ephemera and tie-ins to Gundam Wing, including the Super Famicom fighting game. Bandai hasn’t had the best track record with Gundam games, but Gundam Wing Endless Duel turned out to be pretty great.
A late 16-bit era fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter II, “Gundam Wing Endless Duel” never made it to America. This is almost certainly because the anime it is based on wouldn’t be localized for another three years after it was released. But it’s also a shame, because it’s a great 2-player fighter, with tight controls, gorgeous pixel graphics, and a merciless difficulty curve.
Roughly following the plot of the show, the game features nine characters, plus a hidden playable boss. Each giant robot has a pair of light and heavy attacks, can rocket boost into the air, and fires machine guns from a distance. They also have a fuel meter, and all special and super attacks drain the gauge. Successfully blocking attacks or landing hits refills the gauge, but it doesn’t fill back up between rounds. This prevents a player from just leaning on special attacks for victory and provides some nice game balance.
The personality and capabilities of each pilot and robot are well displayed. Wing and Wing Zero have giant guns, their signature beam sabres, and can even transform into their jet modes to ram the enemy. Deathscythe is fast and excels at close-combat, Qatre has access to his army of bodyguards, etc. The stages are all pulled right from the show. Each one is incredibly detailed and downright beautiful. Heero fights inside a colony, Zechs’ stage is an Antarctic ice sheet, and Wu-Fei fights in the wilderness he spends most of the first half of the show moping in.
“Gundam Wing Endless Duel” looks and feels just right, but it isn’t a walk in the park. The computer A I is brutal and merciless. The challenge is further amped up by the fact that unlike other tournament fighters, players can hit their opponent when they’re down.
If you’re a serious fighting game player, and you need something to tide you over until the next big thing comes out, I recommend taking a look for this overlooked gem.

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