Codex Gamicus

Legendary Wings (アレスの翼, Aresu no Tsubasa,? "The Wings of Ares") is a fantasy-themed shoot-'em-up game released by Capcom as a coin-operated video in 1986. The player takes control of a young soldier equipped with magical wings who must save the world from a malfunctioning supercomputer. A home version for the Nintendo Entertainment System was released exclusively in North America in 1988. The original coin-op version is included in Capcom Classics Collection: Volume 1 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox and in Capcom Classics Collection: Remixed for PlayStation Portable.


Legendary Wings is set in a distant future where an alien supercomputer named "Dark", which has been helping human civilization achieve a new state of enlightenment since ancient times, has suddenly rebelled against mankind. Two young warriors are given the Wings of Love and Courage by the God of War Ares in order to destroy Dark and ensure mankind's survival.[3]


The coin-op version of Legendary Wings can be played by up to two players simultaneously, with a second player being allowed to join the game at anytime or even continue after a game over. The game's controls consists of an eight-way joystick and two buttons which changes depending on the context. The game consists of five areas with two different playing styles: the first segment in each stage is a top-view vertical scrolling segment in the player flies across the sky, shooting at airborne enemies with their gun while dropping bombs at ground enemies, in order to reach the palace at the end of segment. When the player defeats the guardian and gains entrance to the palace, the game switches to a side-scrolling perspective, in which the player moves towards their goal on foot (by walking, crouching, and climbing ladders, as well jumping) until reaching the boss at the end, in which the player character will begin to fly with their wings again. In addition to the regular levels there are two optional levels that are accessible from the vertical-scrolling segment: a trap level in which the player is forced to escape from if they're sucked by the giant mechanical face on each area; and a hidden bonus level where the player can obtain various treasure chests to increase their score.

The player can improve their gun by destroying certain enemies or weapon capsules and picking up the "P" item stored inside. The player can power-up their character up to five levels: the initial power-up will increase the player's speed; the second will change their gun to a twin shooter, as well as further increase their speed; the third power-up allows for continuous ground attacks; the fourth power-up improves the player's gun so that it shoots in three directions; and the fifth and final power-up will upgrade weapon to the "Psycho Flame" gun, which can destroy most enemies with a single shot. When the player is shot by an enemy, they will lose a life and revert to their initial power level.[3]



The original Legendary Wings for the arcade was released in three different variations: a Japanese version (titled Ares no Tsubasa) and two overseas versions. The Japanese release features two different player characters whose names are shown on the game's attract sequence: "Michel Heart", a young woman in a pink bikini; and Kevin Walker, a young man in blue briefs. The first of the two overseas versions retains the original characters, but changes the color of Michel's bikini from pink to green. The second overseas version replaces both characters with nameless male heroes, one in red trunks and the other in blue, both whom wear golden wings instead of the regular white ones from the other characters.[4]

Nintendo Entertainment System[]

The NES version of Legendary Wings features several significant differences from its coin-op counterpart. While the basic premise and formula remains essentially the same, several changes were made to the gameplay, particularly in how the player's power-ups work in this version. Like in the arcade game, the player can upgrade their fire power-up by picking up "P" icons hidden inside certain containers.[5] The player can improve their character's firepower to four levels: starting with the normal gun, the player can improve it to a twin laser, a penetration beam,[6] and a three-way flame shot. Picking up the fourth power-up will turn the player character into a Firebird, which can shoot wide shots that four times as powerful as the default gun.[7] The player is shot during a power-up state, it will simply revert the player to their previous power level. If the player is in Firebird mode, they can withstand up to two direct hits from enemies before getting the downgrade.[8] To continue after a game over, the player must retrieve heart icons hidden within the game's bonus levels to gain continues (up to nine continues can be stocked).[5]

Appearances in other games[]

Michelle Heart makes appearance in the original Marvel vs. Capcom as one of several support characters who assist the main fighters in combat. She also appears as a trading card in SNK's Card Fighters series. In Namco X Capcom, the character of Sylphie (the shopkeeper from Forgotten Worlds) dresses up as Michelle Heart when she performs one of her special attacks.


  1. Ares no Tsubasa at Capcom's video game gallery (waybacked) (Japanese).
  2. List of NES games at Nintendo of America (PDF).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Capcom. Legendary Wings. Arcade. Level/area: Operator's Manual, page 05.
  4. Legendary Wings review. Blame the Control Pad.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Capcom. Legendary Wings. Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 11.
  6. Capcom. Legendary Wings. Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 7.
  7. Capcom. Legendary Wings. Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 8.
  8. Capcom. Legendary Wings. Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 9.

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