Zero Wing Genesis FAQ 2.66 
Game (c) 1989,1991 Toaplan 
FAQ (c) 2001 Frank Provo   
Author: Frank Provo        
E-mail: mosaic@innocent.com

The current version of this guide is always available in text format at:


This Zero Wing FAQ is a silly endeavor, but original portions are still 
the intellectual property of its author. This Guide is copyrighted to 
Frank Provo ((c) 2001), but don't let that stop you from launching every

Table of Contents

A. What is Zero Wing? Toaplan?
B1. The Infamous Introduction in English
B2. The Introduction Translated from Japanese
B3. The Introduction's Bearing on the Plot
C. How can I get Zero Wing?
D. How do I play Zero Wing?
E. Boss Guide
F. Endings (Genesis and Arcade)
G. More Information, Parodies, Etc.

A. What is Zero Wing?

                  "All your base are belong to us."

Zero Wing is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up, in the same vein as
R-Type, Gradius, or any other progenetor of the genre. It was 
developed by Toaplan in 1989 for the arcade (released by Taito) 
and later ported to the SEGA Megadrive (Genesis) and PC Engine
(by Naxat) systems in 1991/2. A PC Engine CD version of the game 
also exists, which includes a CD audio soundtrack, a bonus extra
level, and Japanese animation style cut scenes. Other popular 
Toaplan shooters are Truxton and Batsugun. However, none have 
achieved quite the same _cult_ status as Zero Wing for the SEGA 
Megadrive (Genesis).

Why? _Engrish._ Toaplan couldn't find a US publisher for the
game, but it sure looks like it came out in Europe. Sadly,
they didn't exactly have the kind of deep pockets it took to
localize AND publish a game in an English-speaking market, so
their translation department was a bit minimal. In fact, by
all indications, the person who localized Zero Wing was a 
lone Japanese guy who was taking English classes at night.

As a result, a rather decent, albeit knock-off shooter ended up
with one of the most memorable videogame intros ever created
Only someone with a distinctly lacking knowledge of the English
language could ever come up with something so nefariously 
humorous. (See next section) To whomever translated the game for
Toaplan - THANK YOU! Sadly, Toaplan went bankrupt in 1995.

Amusingly, the arcade game had no poorly translated introducttion,
but it did have a poorly translated ending. Together, the Genesis
and arcade versions of the game would make quite a pair. *grin*

B1. The Introduction (English version)

                            In A.D. 2101
                          War was beginning

Outside Ship - An explosion occurs.

Ship's Bridge
 Captain: "What happen ?"
 Mechanic: "Somebody set up us the bomb."

Close-Up of Excited Communications Officer
 Operator: "We get signal."
 Captain: "What !"

Ship's Bridge
 Operator: "Main screen turn on."
 (CATS appears)
 Captain: "It's you !!"

Close up of CATS
 CATS: "How are you gentlemen !!"
 CATS: "All your base are belong to us."
 CATS: "You are on the way to destruction."

Close up of captain & CATS
 Captain: "What you say !!"
 CATS: "You have no chance to survive make your time."

Ship's Bridge
 CATS: "Ha ha ha ha ...."

Close up of Forlorn Captain
 Operator: "Captain !!"

Ship's Bridge (ZIGs on monitors)
 Captain: "Take off every 'ZIG'!!"

Shows a ZIG pilot powering up
 Captain: "You know what you doing."

Shows a ZIG moving into launch position
 Captain: "Move 'ZIG'."

ZIGs on monitors, Bridge Explodes
 Captain: "For great justice."

The ship explodes.
A lone ZIG zooms into view!

If you want to see the INSANELY CATCHY Flash parody of 
the intro, point your web browser to: 

For high-rez stills of the same, visit:

If you want to see a similarly humorous comic parody or .mov of 
the intro, visit Overclocked's Zero Wing sections:

Finally, if you want to see how it all started, check out:

B2. The Introduction (Japanese version)

                              A.D. 2101
                            The war began

Outside Ship - An explosion occurs.

Ship's Bridge
 Captain: "What happened!?"
 Mechanic: "Someone detonated bombs all around us!"

Close-Up of Excited Communications Officer
 Operator: "Captain! Incoming transmission!"
 Captain: "What!?"

Ship's Bridge
 Operator: "Image coming through on the main monitor."
 (CATS appears)
 Captain: "You... you are...!!"

Close up of CATS
 CATS: "You appear to be preoccupied, gentlemen." (sarcasm)
 CATS: "Thanks to the cooperation of the UN forces, 
        we've taken over all of your bases."
 CATS: "Your ship too shall soon be destroyed."

Close up of captain & CATS
 Captain: "Im.. Impossible!"
 CATS: "We thank you for your cooperation." (more sarcasm)
 CATS: "Enjoy the remaining moments of your lives...."

Ship's Bridge
 CATS: "Hahahahaha ...."

Close up of Forlorn Captain
 Operator: "Captain!?"

Ship's Bridge (ZIGs on monitors)
 Captain: "Launch all ZIG fighters!"

Shows a ZIG pilot powering up
 Captain: "We leave it up to them..."

Shows a ZIG moving into launch position
 Captain: "Give us hope for our future..."

ZIGs on monitors, Bridge Explodes
 Captain: "We're counting on you, ZIG!!"

The ship explodes.
A lone ZIG zooms into view!

[translated by WooJin Lee and two sheepishly anonymous persons.]

B3. The Plot as the Introduction Suggests

Taking into account the three organizations mentioned in the actual
Japanese translation, we're to believe three major powers control 
the spaceways in the year 2101. They are the United Nations, CATS,
and a third organization - the one the hapless souls aboard that
poor red ship belong to. Japanese animation and manga have been 
full of condescending references to the west ever since the end of
World War 2, which leads me to believe that the third, unnamed
organization is Japan. (Don't hold me to that) So you've got the
UN (the west), Japan/Asia, and CATS (an alien race).

So, in the year 2101 CATS teamed up with the UN and in a surprise
move took over or destroyed ALL of Japan's planetary bases. For
some wacky reason, the lone ship in the intro is the focus of 
the CATS leader's personal attention. The ship falls into CATS'
boobytrap just as all the rest did, but a lone ZIG fighter (Code
Name: ZIG-01) manages to launch before the ship explodes.

You are the pilot of this lone ZIG. You are to travel to the 
bases CATS took over and drive their forces away. It is up to
you to wipe this menace from the galaxy, hopefully showing the
UN the folly of their ways in the meantime.

Can a solitary ZIG defeat this alien menace and reunite east 
and west in peace? "Move 'ZIG'! For great justice!"

C. How can I get Zero Wing?

Okay, so you're curious - you want to actually play Zero Wing. Alright.

If you want to purchase the game, go to your local used game store or
visit eBay - you're hunting for "Zero Wing" for the SEGA Megadrive. It
should have been released as a SEGA Genesis game in some countries 
though. Good luck in finding it, as it was a very limited release.

If you want to emulate the game, the first thing you need is a Genesis 
emulator. A good site for this is usually http://www.vintagegaming.com/.
I use Gens from time to time - it seems sufficient.

Then you need to find the .rom image. Guess what, roms are copyrighted
material, so I can't help you find one. However, if you check out sites
such as http://www.emux.com/ or http://www.classicgaming.com/ I bet 
you'll strike paydirt.

D. How do I play Zero Wing?

Zero Wing is quite standard for a side-scrolling shooter. You play a
lone ZIG pilot sent on a mission to save the galaxy from the ruthless
CATS. The game's main selling point is its lavishly huge boss characters
and the fact that it's not "b*tch hard" like most games in the genre.

Your ship flies from left to right - more precisely, the screen is
scrolling towards you. Enemy ships and weapons fire will come toward
you - don't touch any of that stuff. Once in awhile, you'll destroy a
fat lazy ship that will drop power ups - those, you can touch. You
get 3 lives. When you die, you'll restart from a set point within the

  D-Pad -> Steer your spacecraft
  A button -> Fire weapon
  B button -> Prisoner Beam

  The tractor (or Prisoner beam as it's called in the arcade game) 
  beam lets you grab small enemies and use them as a shield,  much 
  like the renowned Genesis shooter, Gaiares.

 Power Ups: (names taken from arcade game)
  Green - Homing Unit
  Blue - Laser Unit
  Red - Valcan Unit, becomes a spread shot
  Blue Insignia - Speed Up Unit, increases speed AND earns extra lives
  Bomb - looks like an option, release it or get shot and it explodes!

  Collect 3 power ups to upgrade your weapon to maximum. The first RED 
  power up collected will give you two "option" pods that will increase
  your firing range (automatic spread shot) AND act as a shield for 
  shots above and below you. Don't hesitate to run these "options" into 
  oncoming bullets - it's better than plowing your ship into them.  Once
  you've obtained the "option" pods with a RED item, you can safely 
  collect other colored power ups to upgrade all three weapon streams.

  E.g. Always grab Red, Green, Green, Green if you wanna kick butt.
  Another cool thing. If your weapon is at level 3 and you accidentally
  collect a different colored power up, you'll have that shot at level
  3 instead of starting anew.

  Each time you collect a fourth similar power up, you'll get 5000pts.
  Sometimes, when you've collected enough insignias, you'll earn an
  extra life. RARELY, when you snag an insignia, you'll earn 10 lives!

  Even MORE RARE, sometimes late in the game a round Purple tank (as in
  round container) will appear. It's the size of a small enemy. Snag it
  That's right - the homing unit becomes "giant arrowhead of death," the
  Laser shot becomes the "tree-trunk laser beams," and the Valcan shot 
  becomes an INSANE spread shot.
 The game has 8 stages... but you'll need to play through it a few 
 times to see all the endings. (Bleah)

E. Boss Guide

Stage1 - Location: Natols - Big Purple Alien
 This alien looks like a giant mutated fetus. It'll launch blue
 plasma balls at you - avoid them. Try to shoot at its forehead
 or mouth. He'll stay on the right half of the screen and move
 up and down. Stick to the left and avoid his shots while 

Stage2 - Location: Legrous - Twin Ball Ships
 This pair isn't the best boss in a shooter. Near the end of
 the level you will encounter a round ship with a few gun
 turrets mounted on it. It will fire blue lasers, a few
 bullets, and launch semi-homing missiles at you. Keep firing
 anywhere at him and move up and down to dogdge his shots.
 You'll face a purple version of the same a few seconds later.
 Vanquish both to end the level.

Stage3 - Location: Pleades - Blue Mech
 And you thought that spaceship mini-boss was big. You'll
 face a blue metal robot at the end of this level. He'll shoot
 lasers from his upper and lower body, as well as homing 
 bullets from his stomach. Watch out for the big fireballs
 coming from his whopping hand-cannon too. The homing bullets
 will prove your greatest worry, although he'll walk quite
 close to you from time to time.

Stage4 - Location: Aquese - Floating Weapons Platform
 Wow - this stage is short. After flying across a giant 
 floating weapons platform, you'll come to the end of it.
 Shoot the big bundle of wires at the bottom with a homing
 shot to release it - if you want to. Either way it's going
 to break loose and go wild with purple spread shots and a
 few blue lasers, as well as plasma bubbles from time to time.
 This is a rather large boss, so you won't have as much room 
 to move as you'd like. You'll need to destroy the front 
 midsection and main body to beat it.

Stage5 - Location: Submarine Tunnel - Fusion Reactor
 The mid-boss on this level is tough, so I thought I'd briefly
 mention something. Don't be lulled into flying into the 
 center of its floating shield devices. Stay back and shoot it
 while dodging its purple spread shots. On HARD the shield orbs
 will fire straight blue lasers. As for the actual boss of this
 level, it's a giant reactor with five turbines - each of which
 fires out a volley of aimed purple shots. Destroying the two 
 upper and lower engines is easy, but the one in back will take
 about 40 or 50 shots. Watch out for the worm creature that 
 initially protects it, as it'll come out to harass you. On 
 harder difficuly levels, that worm is insanely quick.

Stage6 - Location: Barracade Zone - Armed Cubes
 After fighting some armed cubes, you'll face three LARGE
 armed cubes. Their weapons are weak - only forward facing
 blue lasers. Their main attack though is their mass, they'll
 move forward and back and up and down in an effort to ram you.
 Stay to the upper left and you should do okay. On hard 
 difficulty, you may want to watch out for the middle one moving
 forward and then up.

Stage7 - Location: Bellon - Floating Heart
 The boss at the end of this H.R. Giger reminiscent stage
 looks like an alien heart with a giant claw coming out of
 its behind. The heart has no attacks other than moving around.
 The claw will try and grab you though and has decent range.
 Note: If you damage the claw too much, it will shatter into
 a number of hovering asteroid fragments, which will then
 just wobble around blocking your shots. Your option tanks
 can destroy them, but they'll respawn. You can tractor and
 launch them too - whee!

Stage8 - Location: Gerbarra - Alien Train Tank
 The mid-boss of this stage is no fun either, but if you 
 remember to swoop between its purple shots and under it
 during its missile volley, you should be fine. The main boss
 of this level is annoying and huge. It will fire two homing
 charges from it's lower turrets, usually in tandem with a
 straight blue laser shot from the upper turret. The ugly
 creature at the top will also fly toward you, AND home 
 missiles will launch out of the green orb on the machine's
 back. There are two strategies for beating this. 1. Sit in
 the back/middle of the screen and swoop low to avoid 
 oncoming attacks, while firing at the red case on the back.
 2. Park yourself just in front of the train level with the
 glass-cased creature and dodge it plus the missiles while
 constantly shooting the red case on the back. Once the escape
 pod launches, you've beaten the game.
 Guess what, each time you beat the game, you begin again on
 stage 1. Every time you beat all 8 stages, you get a newer
 and better ending. (Well, the first three times anyway.)

F. Endings

Don't have the stomach to beat the game once, let alone three 
times? I don't blame you - here's what you'd see in the Genesis

  Watch 10 little purple "raisin" guys dance for you.

  Art shot of the train in flames.
  Credits rolling off to the side.
  ZIG plane swoops into the frame and sits there.

  Your battered ZIG putters through space
  A giant red ship locks it in a tractor beam
  A green planet. The giant red ship floats into view.
  The giant red ship burns its engines and flies around the planet!
  A big purple "raisin" guy winks at you.
  (No credits this time?)

 Once you've seen all that, all you can do is keep
 playing until you run out of lives. If you're that
 good to make it through three times without using
 cheats, codes, or saves, you are a shooter God.

 Author's note: If the programmers were honorable men, they'd have
 wrapped all the endings into a single glorious end sequence. Also, 
 what in the blue blazes are those purple raisin creatures?!

And here's what you'd see if you beat the arcade version:
 ARCADE ENDING1 (thanks Remy - www.utterer.com)
  You'll see a text obscured by a bunch of dancing "raisin" aliens:


 Author's note: There's probably a second ending, but I'm sure not
 going to be the one to find it. I lack the stamina. Also, why 
 didn't the Genesis version have this bad Engrish at the end? It's
 insanely funny and goes well with that version's intro.

G. More Info, Parodies, Etc.

If you have any information to contribute to this FAQ, email it to
me at: mosaic@innocent.com.

If you want to find out more about Toaplan and their games, check
out: http://www.toaplan.com

Toaplan's Zero Wing Genesis Page is here:
SHMUPS at ClassicGaming.Com has a review of Zero Wing you'll want
to read: 

If you want to see the INSANELY CATCHY Flash parody of 
the intro, point your web browser to: 

If you'd like to check out an MP3 of the song or check out the
band who made the "All your base are belong to us" theme, visit
their site on MP3.COM at:

For high-rez stills of the same, visit:

If you want to see a similarly humorous comic parody or .mov of 
the intro, visit Overclocked's Zero Wing sections:

Finally, if you want to see how it all started, check out:

Zero Wing Parody Stores on Cafe Press are popping up like flies!:
 (The stars are my subjective ratings of how the merchandise looks)
   http://www.cafepress.com/dreldarion/      **   (his was first!)
   http://www.cafepress.com/zerowingstuf/    ****
   http://www.cafepress.com/tlmom            **** (two stores)
   http://www.cafepress.com/everyzig/        **
   http://www.cafepress.com/movezig/         ***  (multiple stores)
   http://www.cafepress.com/zwstore/         ***
   http://www.cafepress.com/greatjustice     *
   http://www.cafepress.com/zig              *
   http://www.cafepress.com/setupbomb        **   (two stores)

According to CNet/ZDNet GameSpot's (http://www.videogames.com/) 
"Instant Poll" from 2/21/2001 through 2/23/2001:
     How are you gentlemen !!

    Responses: (3,895 votes - 101%?!)
     All your base are belong to us.  1282 (33%) 
     For great justice.                187 (5%) 
     Main screen turn on.              127 (3%) 
     Take off every 'ZIG' !!           137 (4%) 
     What you say !!                   821 (21%) 
     No opinion                        929 (24%) 
     Somebody set up us the bomb !!    412 (11%) 

Woah, even The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk) has 
picked up on Zero Wing - I guess the fad really is dying:


And finally, in the "I kid you not" department. MTV's Loveline
radio show (aired 2/22/2001) apparently got a call in from a 
woman who complained that her boyfriend makes her say "All your
base are belong to us!!" during sexual intercourse. Okay, that's
pretty dumb.

This FAQ peaked at #11 on the GameFAQs Top 50 and was on the 
chart for 5 days! This FAQ peaked at #1 on the GameFAQs Genesis 
Top 10 and has been on that chart for 6 days!

THANKS go to Zany Video Game Quotes (zanyvg.overclocked.org), 
Overclocked (www.overclocked.org), and Something Awful 
(www.somethingawful.com) for starting this whole mess in the first

Remember: "All your base are belong to us."