Translated Gems: Gundam Wing Endless Duel (Super Famicom)
P.J. Stanton | On 11, May 2013
Every console has its hidden gems, we all know this. Yet in recent years due to Reproductions and Fan-Made translations of Japanese games, the term Hidden Gem has taken on a new meaning. Now western gamers are able to play games that came out during their childhood, that were never released here in the West. These amazing games are what I like to call Translated Gems.
Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (新機動戦記ガンダムＷ Ｅｎｄｌｅｓｓ Ｄｕｅｌ) was released only in Japan, in the way back times of 1996, on the Super Famicom.
Developed by Natsume, and published by Bandai, Endless Duel was a fighting game based on the anime Gundam Wing. The game was never ported to America because in 1996 most American’s had no idea what the hell a Gundam even was. By the time Gundam Wing stole the hearts of kids all over the United States in the year 2000, the Super Nintendo was a dated console, so there was literally no point in attempting to justify a release here in the states.
It’s a shame too, because I honestly consider Endless Duel to be the very best fighting game on the Super Nintendo. That’s not an easy statement to make either, with such great fighting games on the SNES like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Killer Instinct. Yet, Endless Duel is leaps and bounds above them all.
Endless Duel featured 9 playable characters (with a 10th unlockable) and was one of the first fighting games to feature vertically scrolling stages. Each Gundam had its own unique set of moves, counters and specials, with some even allowing for Aerial Throws, which at the time was pretty much unheard of. The game has a complex move set allowing for Street Fighter style special moves, but allows for Mortal Kombat inspired combos. Special moves drain your meter which only replenishes by taking massive damage or by landing combinations, so an opponent won’t be able to sit in the corner spamming the same move for that long. Couple that with the fact all the Gundam suits can use thruster boosts to move quickly around the map and also into the sky, it creates the most fluid fighting game on the Super Nintendo.
Story mode follows the normal fighting game formula well enough, you pick a character and fight your way up the ladder, eventually beating the final boss and unlocking a personalized character ending. With 9 different characters having 9 different endings, the game does feature a pretty decent replay factor for a SNES Fighting game.
Then there’s Trial Mode, in trial mode you have to face a rotating cast of characters each one more difficult than the last until you finally lose. Health replenishes between each battle, but you regain less and less between each battle, which creates an insanely difficult gaming experience in which you’re constantly trying to better yourself.
The game’s true shine is split screen multiplayer, like all SNES fighters. With just how fluid the game plays, you and a friend could play this game for hours on end, with each match being a relatively fresh experience. I swear there’s nothing more pleasurable in gaming then slapping your friend around with a giant mech and trash talking all the while.
Honestly if this game got an HD re-release today and was put on PSN and XBLA for anywhere from $7-$10 it would sell faster than medical marijuana in Colorado. This is a superb fighting game that truly withstands the test of time. If you’re a fan of Gundam Wing, or a fan of fighting games in general, you owe it to yourself to play this game. You can pick up an english translated complete in box copy from Timewalk Games for $95 USD. Or if you prefer emulation you can download a ROM but please donate to the translation team who work so tirelessly on these translations, and make their ROMs available absolutely free to the general public.
Next Translated Gems: Sweet Home!