Like Encounters in Space in my $20 Game of the Week, this week’s Lost Classic, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel is one of the few good Gundam games in existence. For those of you not in the know, the Gundam Wing series takes place in the After Colony Universe, which is outside of the Universal Century universe depicted in the original Gundam series, War in the Pocket, Stardust Memory, and pretty much any other Gundam series which had been released up to that point (besides the G Gundam series, which itself takes place in its own universe, but that’s another story). Like the original Gundam series, Gundam Wing tells of a war between Earth and the space colonies. A group of young pilots wage a war against a corrupt organization which is trying to play both sides against each other. The series spawned movie, Endless Waltz, which takes place a year later and deals with the aftermath of the war. The series proved to be a favorite among fans everywhere, despite a few annoying characters here and there. Unfortunately, at the time of this game’s release(1996), Gundam, like many other classic anime properties, had no presence in North America (indeed, the Gundam Wing series wouldn’t make its U.S. debut until 2000). It goes without saying that Bandai didn’t bother with an English translation, leaving this game a favorite of importers and emulation pirates.

Endless Duel is pretty much your basic mid 90s fighting game which makes use of a preexisting intellectual property. You take your pick of several pilots and defeat the rest in a series of one on one battles. Each mobile suit has its selection of special moves. They can also hover for a short time. There is a super meter which allows players to preform more powerful versions of their special moves as well as machine gun attacks. Players can play through arcade, versus, and trial modes. Some of the music has been lifted from the show. By completing the game on hard mode, players can unlock a secret code to play as the boss. Although there isn’t much in the way of replay value, the control is responsive, the backgrounds are detailed, and the game does a good job of representing the source material.

Although Endless duel makes no huge attempt to set itself apart from the numerous other fighting games out there, it does a good job of providing fun gameplay and representing the series in interactive form. It’s doubtful that we will see this game come to Virtual Console any time soon (as Wing’s popularity has waned in favor of more recent Gundam series), but since Namco-Bandai still holds the rights to the license, there is always hope.