Codex Gamicus

Boogie Wings (known in Japan as The Great Ragtime Show (ザ・グレイト・ラグタイムショー?)) is a side-scrolling shooter arcade game released by Data East in 1992. The game contains unique gameplay, along with many nonsensical or comedic themes not present in other games of the genre, but was never ported to other consoles because of its relative unpopularity in arcade centers.


File:Boogie Wings.png

Screenshot of Boogie Wings

The game is set around the time of World War I, where the player maneuvers biplanes, automobiles, animals, and various other unidentifiable objects to battle an army of mech-wielding scientists.

The player uses the 8-way joystick to control the biplane's movements, and the 2 buttons to shoot or hook enemies. The biggest characteristic of the player's biplane is the hook attached to its rear section. The hook is also controlled by the joystick, and enemies or objects that come in contact with the hook are dragged along by the plane. Dragged objects cause damage to anything they collide with, and the player can release the objects on the hook by pressing the hook button again. Dragged objects are destroyed when the player releases them from the hook, or if they collide enough times to break apart.

The ship's power gauge increases when the player taps the shot button rapidly, and filling up the gauge causes the plane to shoot a bolt of lightning that covers a large area of the screen. However, the plane overheats if the player taps the shot button too many times, so this attack must be used sparingly.

The game's graphics are highly detailed, and many of the backgrounds are likened to European towns and cities or World's fair-like scenes. Many of the game's background objects can also be destroyed or dragged around with the hook.


Though the player's main vehicle is the biplane, they can still continue on foot if their plane is shot down. The player can attack with a handgun while on foot, and can also ride various vehicles found along the way to make the progress easier. The vehicles include various animals such as giraffes, elephants, and horses, pogo sticks, bicycles, motorcycles, jeeps, and several types of robots that can hop and shoot missiles. Though the biplane is by far the most effective unit in terms of game completion, the presence of the ground units adds another layer of amusement to the game. Wolf Fang was developed and released in Japan by Data East a year prior to Boogie Wings, and the vehicles in Boogie Wings were derived from the gameplay in Wolf Fang, where the player could continue on foot even after their robot was destroyed.

Nonsensical themes[]

Numerous nonsensical themes or scenes appear throughout the game, such as:

  • A battle against a ferris wheel rolling on the rails of a jet-coaster.
  • A battle against a gigantic Santa Claus who ambushes the player with a handgun.
  • A pennant item that serves no purpose when collected.
  • A fountain of water infinitely spewing out of a fire hydrant that was fished up from the water.
  • A blues singer, dog, and village girl who move around on the field with no effect on the player's character or the enemies.
  • A bronze statue of Tough Guy; a character from another nonsensical Data East game called Trio the Punch.

A dialogue begins when the player reaches the last boss, and the player's character can fly away with the boss or take control of the boss depending on the player's answer to his questions. The game also asks the player whether they want to see the ending screen after defeating the final boss. Though there are cases where the ending can be skipped, few others ask whether the player wants to see the ending at all. Each object displayed during the ending screen can also be caught and thrown with the hook to add to the player's high score.



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