+------------------------------+
                      | Giga Wing 2 Systems FAQ (DC) |
                      |          Darren Lo           |
                      |       lo@math.wisc.edu       |
                      |   Revision 0.1, 6/23/2001    |
                      +------------------------------+


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===========================| Table of Contents |=============================

Section 0: Foreword
      0.1: What is the Giga Wing 2 Systems FAQ?
      0.2: What is Giga Wing 2?
      0.3: Why play Giga Wing 2?
      0.4: Terminology
      0.5: Revision History

Section 1: The Planes
      1.1: Collision Boxes
      1.2: Timing Information
      1.3: Color Select

Section 2: Secrets
      2.1: Gallery
      2.2: Secret Planes
      2.3: "Character Event OFF" Secret Option
      2.4: Total Score Display
      2.5: Score Attack Stages
      2.6: "Multi Character Mode" Secret Option
      2.7: Unlock Everything
      2.8: Handy Table

Section 3: Scoring System
      3.1: Score Multiplier/Combo System
      3.2: Score Attack Mode
      3.3: Item Volcanons
      3.4: Base Point Values

Section 4: Gameplay Tips
      4.1: Reflect Force versus Reflect Laser
      4.2: General Scoring Tips
      4.3: Plane Evaluations
      4.4: Stage Strategies?

Section 5: Bibliography


===========================| Section 0: Foreword |===========================
0.1 What is the Giga Wing 2 Systems FAQ?
0.2 What is Giga Wing 2?
0.3 Why play Giga Wing 2?
0.4 Terminology
0.5 Revision History
=============================================================================


----------------| 0.1 What is the Giga Wing 2 Systems FAQ? |-----------------

In essence, it's a collection of any "non-obvious" information about Giga
Wing 2 gameplay that I can find. "Non-obvious" is a term that's not easily
defined, but let it suffice to say that I won't be reproducing information
that's in the manual or that could be found within half an hour by a casual
player.

I have the Japanese version of the game, but everything I write ought to be
applicable to other versions as well. If not, please let me know.


------------------------| 0.2 What is Giga Wing 2? |-------------------------

It's a cruelly underrated wide-screen vertical shooter for the Dreamcast.
By "wide-screen", I mean that the game's native aspect ratio is 4:3, instead
of 3:4 like most vertical shooters. This means a home conversion is possible 
without using windowboxing, redesigning levels, or requiring that you turn
your TV on its side.


------------------------| 0.3 Why play Giga Wing 2? |------------------------

If you just play Giga Wing 2 to beat the game, you won't be very entertained.
Your stock of bombs is replenished every time you die, and you have infinite
continues. So you can just bomb, reflect, bomb, reflect, die, and repeat as
necessary. The scoring in this game is ridiculous, so you can easily rack up
tens of billions of points just by blasting through the game in this cheap 
fashion. If you're not interested in improving your play of your own volition, 
or if you object to the absurdly inflated scores, there's not much in Giga 
Wing 2 for you. Most of the unfavorable reviews of the game seem to carry 
this attitude.

However, if you learn a little about the game engine and start playing for
score, the game becomes very fun (and very hard). Playing for score makes 
the bomb-reflect-die tactic unviable and will put a far greater test
on your skills of pattern memorization, dodging, and bullet-herding. Even
if you don't study the levels and practice intensely, the kleptomaniacal 
thrill of scooping up thousands of shiny medals and watching your score soar 
into the stratosphere is quite satisfying.

As of this writing, the top Giga Wing 2 solo players can score upwards of 80
quadrillion points in Arcade Mode, and over 10 quintillion points on Score
Attack stages. I'm nowhere near that level, nor do I plan to even try to
get there. But clearly, this is a game that rewards skillful play, and 
most mortal players will have plenty of room for improvement. And the
pathological fascination of astronomically large numbers will keep them
coming back for more.


----------------------------| 0.4 Terminology |------------------------------

Large numbers will be expressed using the American system. That is, a 
"billion" is 10^9, a "trillion" is 10^12, etc. I apologize to the 
adherents, if any remain, of the British system (in which a "billion" is
10^12). I'll also use scientific notation to help ease any confusion.

I'll refer to Reflect Force and Reflect Laser as "RF" and "RL", 
respectively.


--------------------------| 0.5 Revision History |---------------------------

6/23/2001 Version 0.1, initial release. I hope to release an update soon to
clear up some of the "I don't know" points in the FAQ.



=========================| Section 1. The Planes |===========================
1.1 Collision Boxes
1.2 Timing Information
1.3 Color Select
=============================================================================

There are 10 selectable planes in all. Each of them works basically the 
same from a "system" standpoint. They differ only in firepower, firing 
pattern, and speed.


---------------------------| 1.1 Collision Boxes |---------------------------

The collision box (the area that can get hit by bullets) of the planes is 
tiny. It's about 10 pixels high and is centered on the cockpit area of the 
plane, which is visible as a small colored strip somewhere on the plane's 
fuselage. According to the official webpage, the collision box is circular. 
It makes no sense that this is the only part of your plane that can get hit,
but maybe all the bullets are aimed exactly at the top portion of your 
cockpit, which sticks up above the plane's fuselage, and the rest of 
your plane passes harmlessly under the enemy fire. :P

The small size of the collision box is a lifesaver when trying to dodge
bullets. However, the cockpit location varies from plane to plane, meaning
that dodging patterns and safe spots may be different for different planes.
Another problem is that the cockpit area is hard to see in the heat of battle,
which makes dodging rather harder than it ought to be. When you first select 
your plane, take good note of where the cockpit is, and learn to dodge
accordingly.


-------------------------| 1.2 Timing Information |--------------------------

When you hold down the shot button, there is a lag of 29 frames (0.48 seconds)
before your reflect barrier develops. After your barrier has expired, it 
takes 235 frames (3.92 seconds) for the reflect gauge to recharge, and you
have a 90-frame (1.5 second) invincibility window. These timings are the same
for all planes with both RF and RL.


----------------------------| 1.3 Color Select |-----------------------------

It would seem pretty obvious, but somehow this escaped my notice for quite a
while... Depending on which button you select your plane with, its color will
change. To choose one of the four colors, select the plane with one of the
four face buttons (A, B, X, or Y). 

The mapping of colors corresponds roughly to the color of each button. If 
the plane is normally red (e.g., Stork), then pressing A will give you red,
pressing B will give you blue, pressing X will give you yellow, and pressing
Y will give you green. Not coincidentally, these are exactly the colors of
the buttons on the standard Dreamcast controller.

However, if the plane is not normally red, then the colors get shuffled 
around a bit, because the A button will always give you the standard color.
There's some logic to the color assignment, but also a number of exceptions,
so it's probably quicker just to list the colors for each plane below. The
colors are given in the order A, B, X, Y.

Kingfisher: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green
Sparrow: Yellow, Red, Blue, Green
Raven: Blue, Red, Green, Purple
Stork: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green
Albatross: Green, Red, Blue, Yellow
Raijin-Kai: Purple, Blue, Green, Red
Carmine Plus: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green
Porchka Dash: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green
Widerstand Zwei: Green, Blue, Red, Purple
Neo Stranger: Red, Cyan, Yellow, Green (colors only change for cockpit and 
              wing stripes)


===========================| Section 2: Secrets |============================
2.1 Gallery
2.2 Secret Planes
2.3 "Character Event OFF" Secret Option
2.4 Total Score Display
2.5 Score Attack Stages
2.6 "Multi Character Mode" Secret Option
2.7 Unlock Everything
2.8 Handy Table
=============================================================================


-------------------------------| 2.1 Gallery |-------------------------------

There are 110 pictures in the gallery. Each character has 10 portraits 
(galleries 1-5). When you play Arcade Mode and reach stage 2 or higher, 
you unlock one portrait of your character. You get another when you clear 
Arcade Mode (continues/restarts OK). 

Galleries 6-9 are broken into 5 sections of 8 pictures each. When you clear 
Arcade Mode with a given character, you unlock the next picture in that
character's section. If the character's section is filled and you clear Arcade
Mode again, you unlock the next picture from Galleries 10-11. I'm writing
this paragraph from memory, so it may be slightly inaccurate, but I think
this is how it worked. I'll check the exact behavior when I get a chance.

If your total score (score from all plays in Arcade Mode and Score Attack
Mode) exceeds 60 quintillion (6 * 10^19), one picture will be added to the
gallery. I believe it will be the next picture from Galleries 10-11, although
it might also go into the character's section from Galleries 5-9 if there's
an empty spot available.


----------------------------| 2.2 Secret Planes |----------------------------

To unlock the secret plane for a character, use him/her to clear Arcade Mode 
without continuing or restarting. You can use any difficulty setting you want,
so you can set the level to 1 and bump up the player lives and bomb stock to 
their maximum if you so desire.

The secret planes are as follows:
Kart: Raijin-Kai
Chery: Carmine Plus
Romi: Porchka Dash
Largo: Widerstand Zwei
Limi: Neo Stranger


-----------------| 2.3 "Character Event OFF" Secret Option |-----------------

When unlocked, this is located under the "Secret Options" menu. It allows you
to disable the character cutscenes in Arcade Mode.

This option can be unlocked in two ways:
1. View the good and bad endings for all 5 characters in Arcade Mode.
2. Get a total score exceeding 300 quintillion points (3 * 10^20).


-------------------------| 2.4 Total Score Display |-------------------------

The Total Score display shows the total number of points you have scored in
Arcade and Score Attack modes. It can be seen in the "Ranking" screen and
before the character select screen in Arcade mode. Note that aborting a game 
will cause any points you have scored during that game to be lost.

The total score display can be unlocked in two ways:
1. Get a total score exceeding 20 quintillion points (2 * 10^19).
2. Complete Arcade Mode without fulfilling the conditions for unlocking a 
   character portrait, a secret plane, or the Character Event secret option. 
   In other words, all of the following need to be true:
      a) Your character's portrait gallery (one of Gallery 1-5) was full 
         when you started Arcade Mode;
      b) Your character's secret plane was already unlocked, OR you 
         continued or restarted while beating Arcade Mode;
      c) You already unlocked the Character Event option, OR the ending you 
         got was not the final ending necessary to unlock the Character 
	 Event option.


-------------------------| 2.5 Score Attack Stages |-------------------------

Only Stages 1-3 are initially selectable in Score Attack Mode. If you reach
stage 4 or higher in Arcade Mode, the corresponding stages (from 4 up to the
highest stage you reached) will be unlocked in Score Attack Mode. 


----------------| 2.6 "Multi Character Mode" Secret Option |-----------------

When unlocked, this allows you to play multiple planes (in formation) with 
a single player. The "Change" button also becomes available to allow you to 
adjust your formation, so be sure to update your controller settings 
appropriately.  You can unlock this secret option by getting a total score 
of over 100 quintillion (1 * 10^20).


--------------------------| 2.7 Unlock Everything |--------------------------

If you're the type who likes to cheat, there is a cheat code that will unlock
all unlockable items instantaneously. I recommend unlocking things the usual
way, but...

On the first page of the Gallery (Gallery 1), enter the following code
quickly: Up, X, Y, X, Down, Y, X, Y, Y. Use controller 1 or 2. If you have 
any empty spots on your Gallery 1, you will see them filled immediately.


-----------------------------| 2.8 Handy Table |-----------------------------

A single event (such as clearing Arcade Mode) will unlock all items whose
conditions are satisfied, in order from top to bottom. For instance,
clearing Arcade Mode without continuing will unlock items 1, 2, 5, and 6.
6 is considered to happen after 1, which is important when evaluating
the conditions for item 4.

1.  Clear Arcade Mode (continues OK)
    Get character portrait x 1, if possible
2.  Clear Arcade Mode (no continue/restart)
    Unlock new ship if not already unlocked
3.  Get good/bad endings with all characters
    Unlock secret option "Character Event OFF"
4.  If nothing gets unlocked for items 1-3 when you clear Arcade Mode
    Unlock total score display
5.  Clear Arcade Mode (continues OK)
    Get Gallery picture x 1, if possible
6.  Reach Stage 2 or higher on Arcade Mode
    Get character portrait x 1, if possible
7.  Reach Stage 4 or higher on Arcade Mode
    Corresponding stage unlocked in Score Attack
8.  Total Score over 20 quintillion
    Unlock total score display
9.  Total Score over 60 quintillion
    Get Gallery picture x 1, if possible
10. Total Score over 100 quintillion
    Unlock secret option "Multi Character Mode"
11. Total Score over 300 quintillion
    Unlock secret option "Character Event OFF"
12. Enter Up,X,Y,X,Down,Y,X,Y,Y on first Gallery screen (1P or 2P controller)
    Unlock everything



========================| Section 3: Scoring System |========================
3.1 Score Multiplier/Combo System
3.2 Score Attack Mode
3.3 Item Volcanons
3.4 Base Point Values
=============================================================================


--------------------| 3.1 Score Multiplier/Combo System |--------------------

Actions such as shooting and killing enemies have a base point value. This
value is multiplied by the score multiplier before being added to your score.
The multiplier is the medal count displayed under your score at the top of
the screen.

Normal medals have a "combo value" of +1, +5, +10, or +50 depending on 
their size and color. If you are maxed out on powerups or bombs, the 
corresponding items are worth +50. Volcano medals are worth +3 (see 
section 3.3).

Your score multiplier starts at 0 at the beginning of the game. When you
collect an item, its combo value (+1, +3, +5, +10, or +50) is added
to your combo counter, and the result is added to your score multiplier.
For instance, if you collect three +1 medals and then a +5 medal, your score 
multiplier increases as follows: +1, +1+1, +1+1+1, +1+1+1+5 (+14 in all).
When you pick up a medal, the current value of the combo counter is briefly
displayed on that spot.

The combo counter resets to 0 at the beginning of each stage and after every
death. The score multiplier resets to 0 when you continue.

Note that if you never pick up a medal or a powerup, your score multiplier
will remain 0, and thus you won't score any points. It might be interesting 
to see how low you can keep your score (as opposed to the normal method of 
play, which is to jack up your score as high as possible).


--------------------------| 3.2 Score Attack Mode |--------------------------

Note: In this section only, I will refer to what I usually call the "score
multiplier" as the "medal count" to avoid confusion.

Scoring in Score Attack Mode works the same as the normal game, except that
there is a steadily-increasing "Multiplier x ____" in the upper right corner
of the screen. Despite its name, this number does not actually multiply your
score multiplier (medal count). What it does is multiply your current combo 
counter before incrementing your medal count.

For example, consider the following scenario:
1. Stage Start
2. Collect +5 medal (Multiplier x 600.0)
3. Hit enemy with one normal shot (Multiplier x 700.0)
4. Collect +1 medal (Multiplier x 800.0)
5. Hit enemy with one normal shot (Multiplier x 900.0)

At time 1, your combo counter and medal count are 0.
At time 2, your combo counter is 5 and your medal count is 3000 (600.0 * 5).
At time 3, you receive 210 * 3000 points for landing a shot. Notice that
  the "Multiplier" does not factor into this calculation.
At time 4, your combo counter is 5+1 = 6, and your medal count is 7800
  (3000 + 6 * 800.0).
At time 5, you receive 210 * 7800 points for landing a shot. Again, it is
  the medal count that actually multiplies your score, not the "Multiplier".

The "Multiplier" is reset every time you die or use a bomb, so the key
to getting big scores is to do neither of those two. You can also let the
boss live as long as possible and try to get tons of medals off him for huge
score multipliers.


---------------------------| 3.3 Item Volcanons |----------------------------

If you've played Giga Wing 2 much at all, you've probably seen a few Item
Volcanons -- the screen suddenly fills with an cascade of beautiful
kite-shaped emerald medals. Learning to trigger and exploit Item Volcanons
is the key to playing for score.

In an Item Volcanon, each on-screen medal splits into 10-13 volcanon medals,
depending on its original base value. A +1 item splits into 10 volcanon
medals, a +5 item into 11, a +10 item into 12, and a +50 item into 13. I
don't believe volcanon medals split if you trigger another Volcanon, although 
I don't have confirmation either way. Powerup and Bomb items do not split.

Each volcanon medal is worth +3. Combined with the combo counter system, you 
can see how a Volcanon can dramatically increase the value of each medal.
If your combo counter is 0 and you pick up all the volcanon medals coming out 
of a given medal, a +1 medal is now worth +165, a +5 is worth +198, a +10
is worth +234, and a +50 is worth +273. The gains are much greater when you
already have a large combo counter to start with. In practice, you'll get huge
multipliers even by collecting a small fraction of all the volcanon medals on
screen.

An Item Volcanon can be triggered in two ways:
1. By causing more than 110 normal medals to be displayed on the screen. 
2. By exceeding the game engine's on-screen object limit. Objects include
player shots, reflected bullets, enemy bullets, enemies, medals, powerup 
items, reflected lasers, etc. If you want to trigger a Volcanon this way,
make sure to hold down the rapid fire button. The exact value of the object
limit is unknown.

You'll know you've successfully triggered a Volcanon when the background
starts to fade to black. Once the Volcanon is triggered, collecting medals
will not cause the Volcanon to abort, even if you collect enough medals to
drop under the 110-medal or object limit threshold. However, it's in your 
best interest to avoid collecting the medals until they've split.


--------------------------| 3.4 Base Point Values |--------------------------

Certain actions and conditions in the game have a base point value. This 
value is multiplied by the score multiplier before being added to your score.
The score multiplier is included in every score calculation, even the stage 
clear bonuses. Here are the base point values that are currently known.

Stage Clear Bonuses
-------------------
  1. Boss Time Bonus
     The time remaining when you defeat each boss is added to a running 
     total. The base value is this total is multiplied by 2000 times the 
     stage number.
  2. Bomb Stock Bonus
     The base value is the number of bombs you have when you clear the stage 
      multiplied by 15000 times the stage number.

In-Game Scoring
---------------
  1. Shot score 
     Hitting an enemy with a shot (normal shot, reflect shot, or reflect 
     laser shot) has a base value of 210 points.
  2. Powerups/Bombs
     Powerup items and Bomb items are worth 830 points.
  3. Medals
     Normal medals (+1, +5, +10, +50) are worth 830 points each. A volcanon 
     medal (+3) is worth 210 points.

Boss Scores:
------------
(note: the first five stage bosses are named after letters of the Hebrew
alphabet. I've used Merriam-Webster's transliterations for them.)

   *) City Stage boss: Gimel

      First Form
      ----------
      Main body: 1,625,000 points (only when the dome is closed)
      Flare cannon: 25,000 points
      Laser cannon: 50,000 points
      Feet: 50,000 points each
      Cannon: 25,000 points
      Side gun platforms: 25,000 points each
      Missiles: 12,500 points each

      Second Form
      -----------
      UFO: 375,000 points
      UFO disk: 25,000 points


   *) Cloud Sea boss: Daleth

      Main body: 2,000,000 points
      Main wings: 250,000 points each
      Secondary wings: 200,000 points each
      Proximity bombs: 2500 points each


   *) Factory boss: Yod

      First Form
      ----------
      Main body: 1,000,000 points
      Main engine: 320,000 points
      Small engine: 80,000 points
      Large rotating gun turrets: 160,000 points each
   
      Second Form
      -----------
      Main body: 1,000,000 points
      Torpedoes: 5000 points each
   
   *) Holy Realm boss: Waw

      First Form
      ----------
      Main body: 250,000 points
   
      Second Form
      -----------
      Main body: 2,500,000 points
      Exploding bullets: 2500 points each
      Wings: 50,000 points each
      Exploding bullet launchers: 50,000 points each
      Large gun cover: 25,000 points
      Central gun platform: 25,000 points
      Left/right guns: 50,000 points each


   *) Altar Stage Boss: Samekh

      Main body (Ark): 3,000,000 points
      Towers and chests: 125,000 points each
      Bits: 5,000,000 points each


   *) Seal Stage Boss: Ark

      First Form
      ----------
      Main body (eyeball): 1,250,000 points
      Sides (next to main body): 750,000 points each
      Disks (spinning gear-like parts): 500,000 points each
      Lenses (outermost parts): 250,000 points each
   
      Second Form
      -----------
      Main body (eyeball): 1,000,000 points
      Ring 2 (final ring): 750,000 points
      Ring 3 (spinning ring):  625,000 points
      Ring 4 (double ring): 500,000 points
      Ring 5 (box ring): 375,000 points
      Ring 6 (three-needle ring): 250,000 points
      Shield (outer wall): 125,000 points


   *) Sanctum boss: LIMI

      First Form
      ----------
      Main body: 4,500,000 points
   
      Second form
      -----------
      Main body: 6,000,000 points



========================| Section 4: Gameplay Tips |=========================
4.1 Reflect Force versus Reflect Laser
4.2 General Scoring Tips
4.3 Plane Evaluations
4.4 Stage Strategies?
=============================================================================


-----------------| 4.1 Reflect Force versus Reflect Laser |------------------

Depending on which of RF or RL you choose, gameplay can be quite different.
It's natural to wonder which of them is better. Here are my thoughts.

*) If you need to clean the screen of bullets, RF is a better choice because
it kills enemies as soon as you reflect the bullets. With RL, you need to 
wait for the barrier to expire before it shoots. During that charging time, 
the enemies are still alive and are happily filling the screen with more
bullets -- bullets that you will have to dodge after your invincibility window
runs out.

*) RF requires aiming and some degree of bullet herding (luring shots to the
location and direction that you need), whereas RL does not require this. RF
can easily miss a moving target, whereas RL does not. On the flip side, RF
allows you to control which direction you want to reflect bullets in or to
concentrate your fire on a single enemy, whereas RL automatically spreads its 
fire over all targets.

*) It is believed that RL can only hold 256 shots. If you collect bullets
beyond this limit, RL's attack power will not increase. There is no comparable
limit for RF. The net effect is that RF is a more damaging attack in most
situations.

*) If you want to trigger an Item Volcanon by exceeding the object limit, RF
is preferable because you can fire while reflecting. You cannot fire at the
same time as your RL lasers. RL also absorbs bullets while the barrier is up,
thus decreasing the number of objects.

*) It's impossible, or at least very hard, to perform double Item Volcanons 
with RL. Since RL attacks all enemies at the same time, you don't have the
control over timing that's necessary for a double Volcanon.

*) For its part, RL can trigger some Item Volcanons which are very difficult 
or impossible to trigger with RF. For example, the second form of the Stage 6 
boss teleports after you've done a certain amount of damage to it. Since RF 
spreads its hits over time, the boss tends to disappear before you can get 
the Volcanon. With RL, you just suck up shots and then hit the boss all at 
once before it can move, generating the required number of medals.

*) The game cutscenes say that the ray of hope that can stop Ark is "Reflect
Force", not "Reflect Laser". :) I think it would have been a nice touch to
change the dialogue depending on which reflect method you had selected.

Conclusion: Because of the auto-lockon, RL is best for beginners. They can 
swoop around collecting enemy bullets without the added hassles of bullet
herding, aiming, and the like. A good RL charge will easily clear the screen 
of weak enemies, which is quite useful. I recommend RF for intermediate and 
advanced players due to its greater firepower and control. RF is also the 
choice of most scorers, although some choose to play RL and do quite well 
with it. RL may be useful as an added challenge for experts, and in those
limited situations where it's better than RF (such as the Stage 6 boss
second form).


------------------------| 4.2 General Scoring Tips |-------------------------

First and foremost, don't die unless you're at the very beginning or very
end of a stage. If you die, your combo counter resets. Since the majority
of your score multiplier will be obtained when your combo counter is highest,
dying effectively incurs a huge penalty. At the very end of a stage, since
your combo counter will reset anyway, it may be advantageous to die 
(depending on the situation) if your bomb stock will increase as a result.
However, the number of points you get this way is relatively small.

Second, learn to get Item Volcanons. This takes some experimentation. You 
will either need to leave vast swarms of weak enemies around, or else collect
a few big guys who can take a pounding and give you lots of medals. Either 
way, learn not to keep the rapid fire button down, since this will do 
unnecessary damage to your enemies and you won't get medals out of it.
Sometimes it helps to first try to draw enemy fire into the center of the 
screen or to the middle of one side, so that you can get more coverage off 
your reflect.

Third, learn to get double Item Volcanons. In certain situations, you can
trigger two separate Item Volcanons off a single reflect. The key to this
technique is to trigger the first Volcanon as fast as possible, and the second
Volcanon as late as possible off your barrier's flare-out. One of the easiest
places to see how this works is on Score Attack stage 2 (the sky stage) with
RF. Right after the beginning swarm of cannon fodder, two large white 
shield-shaped enemies will come in from either side. As soon as they start
their volleys of pink bullets, get up close to the left one (but not 
so close that you run into any medals) and reflect. If all goes well, the 
background should start fading to black right when your barrier has finished 
its initial expansion. Make sure NOT to reflect any shots from the right 
enemy during this phase. While your barrier contracts in size, pick up medals
while avoiding the enemy bullets. By the time your barrier reaches its 
minimum radius and starts to expand again, the first Volcanon should be
almost over. Just as your barrier flashes outward to its maximum size and
disappears, fly straight into the volley of bullets as fast as you can. If 
you've done it correctly, a second Volcanon will be triggered. If you did 
the second reflection too early, the medals from both enemies will split 
during the same Volcanon and you will collect fewer of them. It's critical
to wait for the final flare-out before going for the double Volcanon. 

Fourth, collect as many medals as possible. This sounds obvious, but it's
important. When you've triggered Volcanons, especially, you will want to 
get up right below where most of the medals are. Then when they split, you
can get a good portion of them. When using RF, try to concentrate medals in a 
spot where you can collect them all.

Finally, destroy as many parts of the bosses as you can. Boss parts are 
worth a lot of points even before the score multiplier is considered. With 
most bosses you can trigger a Volcanon every time you reflect, so you will
want to do most of your damage via reflection and not via your normal gun
(don't use it at all if possible). You don't want to kill the boss's main
body before you get the other parts, so if you're using RF, make sure to 
distribute the damage appropriately. Subject to these constraints, you should
try to kill the boss as quickly as possible, since you get a bonus for the 
time remaining. Don't let the timer run out.


--------------------------| 4.3 Plane Evaluations |--------------------------

In order from top to bottom, based on the score rankings I've seen (secret
planes excluded because I've barely played them):

Chery/Stork: This seems to be the highest-scoring plane in Arcade Mode. It's 
the second-fastest plane there is, and the seeking fire is pretty useful for
taking out scattered enemies. On the other hand, the seeking fire can also
end up damaging enemies you don't want to hit. Although the Stork's gun is 
quite weak, you will still want to avoid constantly mashing down the 
auto-fire button all the time. Chery's Stage 1 is the Cloud Sea stage, where
you can build up a massive score multiplier, and her Stage 3 is the Factory
stage, where you can score lots of points.

Kart/Kingfisher: This is the slowest plane, but the spread on the main gun is
good without being excessive, and the Spark Bomb is very strong. Kart also
has the high-scoring Cloud Sea/City/Factory stage ordering. Among the standard
planes, most top score attackers seem to prefer the Kingfisher. I'm not sure 
why, though.

Romi/Sparrow: Fastest plane of the lot. The main gun is strong but not
exceptionally so, and doesn't have any spread.

Limi/Raven: This plane has average speed -- it's faster than the Kingfisher
and Albatross, but slower than the Stork and Sparrow. The exploding pods 
that it fires are extremely strong, perhaps the strongest normal gun in
the game behind the Neo Stranger.

Largo/Albatross: This is the second-slowest and most unpopular plane. Its 
firing pattern is quite different from the rest of the planes, which means 
you'll have to play quite a different strategy to do well with the Albatross. 
The plane shines in up-close fights, but is somewhat difficult to get used 
to. High Albatross scorers can score very high (though not as high as the
other planes).


--------------------------| 4.4 Stage Strategies? |--------------------------

This is where I will put stage strategies, if I ever discover any decent 
ones for scoring. My current high scores are anywhere from 6-20 times below 
"state of the art". If you have a strategy you would like to submit, feel 
free to do so. :)


=========================| Section 5: Bibliography |=========================

Official Giga Wing 2 home page (Japanese)
http://gw-2.dricas.ne.jp/

Your one-stop source for Giga Wing 2 info. It includes a lot of the system
information given in this document, and a Rankings page where you can check 
out the scores of other players. You can also learn a lot by lurking on 
the BBS and reading the old messages.


Arcadia home page (Japanese)
http://www.arcadiamagazine.com/

Though I've never seen an issue of Arcadia Magazine, I gather that a lot of
information on Giga Wing 2 has been published in past issues. Unfortunately
they don't put their content online, but you can take a look around and try
to order some back issues if you want/dare.


Ushinawareta Game o Motomete (Japanese) (notice a trend? :)
http://w3222.nsk.ne.jp/~aphrodite

Contains lots of great info, strategies, and essays on Giga Wing 2 and 
several other shooting games, as well as general musings on the shooter 
genre and video games. Highly recommended.