One night, three months after the previous fight. . . .
In the city of M in western America, the skies' darkness was torn to pieces by a strange, speeding flash. And at that moment, many gigantic aircraft arrived. When the townspeople looked up at the outmoded fuselages, they didn't see that something was scattered from the airplane. . . .
Then everyone saw, falling with parachutes, many soldiers and combat vehicles who consequently gained complete control of the town.
Similar incidents happened worldwide in every country. One country received a battleship's gun fire on the open sea; another was devastated by a tank unit that suddenly appeared in the forest. Strangely, each invasion used a weapon like those from World War II.
Even the base of the secret rescue team who protected world peace in shadow was attacked by the mysterious flying corps. The team's fighter planes flew away and were burned up promptly, one after another. The base was immediately devastated. Hardly any of the most powerful and technologically-advanced machines were left, the electronics did not work completely, and the anti-artillery systems were completely broken. The enemy used inferior, outdated reciprocating engine aircraft. Furthermore, even the experimental fighting bombers were included.
Commanding officer Lord River received the report and, after a moment of silence, gave his decision. "Strike, making use of all active weapons. You also have permission to use the old weapons in the underground storage hangar."
This latest mission was regrettably troublesome. I appreciate your participation.
-Sonic Wings 3 Japanese manual
Of all the Sonic Wings games, Sonic Wings 3 has the most far-fetched plot (which is saying a lot!). The opening sequence of the game shows the enemy force destroying Project Blue's weapons. The doors of the secret underground hangar then open, revealing the World War II-era aircraft the pilots must resort to using. Some of the enemies throughout the game reflect this throwback to the 1940s, while others are the usual mix of bizarre alien and oceanic creatures Sonic Wings players have come to expect. The only home version of this game to be released in the USA was the Neo-Geo CD version, which was called Aero Fighters 3.
In general, the enemy seems to be the combined forces of Fata Morgana and the Hildroid; however, a few enemies from other Video System games appear as well. The pilots fighting in SW3 are as mixed a group as the enemies. Some return from previous Sonic Wings games: Mao Mao, Hien, Whity, Cincia and Ellen, Keaton (now in an upgraded robot body), Kowful, and Lord River-n-White. However, cameos from other Video System games abound: two of the three Blazers (Glen and Gill) originally appeared in Karate Blazers, and Malcolm hails from Tao Taido. The two hidden characters, Kotomi and The Man/Captain Waffle, are also from previous Video System games: Kotomi from Rabio Lepus (the only pilot not originally a playable character) and Captain Waffle from Spinal Breakers, who flies the Diabloon from Turbo Force.
The only completely new (as far as is known) playable characters are Chaika, Pooshika, Alex (and Pictus), and Glenda of the Blazers. All previously playable characters from Sonic Wings and Sonic Wings 2 who are not playable in Sonic Wings 3 are shown in cameos in various end sequences.
- Kotomi and/or The Man (Captain Waffle in 1P mode or Gore in 2P mode): On the character selection screen, hold down B and the player 1 start button. Each highlighted character's plane will be shown rotating; hit the down button each time the plane is facing directly towards you. If you are successful, one of the secret characters will be selected (Kotomi if you have the cursor in the left column of planes and The Man if in the right column). In two player mode, you will play with both Kotomi and The Man.
- This combo is a little tricky to get right at first because your timing must be perfect. If you want, you can use the on-screen timer to time your button-pressing; press down when the timer is on 7, 5, 2, and 0. However, the plane shown must be facing exactly forward, and overall, it seems to be easier to execute the code by watching the planes, not the timer.
Click the thumbnail at right for a chart mapping the route selection branches. Game play always begins in Tokyo (at the bottom of the chart), but the player may choose her/his route otherwise. To choose the stages branching to the left, the player must shoot off the left wing of the checkered plane that appears after s/he defeats the final boss of the current stage. Likewise, the player shoots the right wing of the plane to choose the right-hand stages. To receive Pseudo-Bagarius or very rarely the Giant Squid as a final boss, choose left-hand paths; to receive Gurabura or occasionally Soh Takeko, choose right-hand paths.
- The Blazers: Glen, Gill, and Glenda
- Chaika and Pooshika
- Cincia and Ellen
- Kowful and Lord River-n-White
- The Man
- Mao Mao
- Checkered plane
- Cross Fire
- Daio Ika
- Do-ni Revision
- Ethiopian Lungfish
- Fire Master
- Giant Squid
- Graf Zeppelin
- Grand Canyon Mid-Boss
- Junkers 287
- Large Mysterious Sphere Osaru Station
- Maxim Gorky
- Me 323 Gigant
- Rocket V3
- Soh Takeko
- Tenukie Chaudo Osaru Station
- Tokyo Tower
- Vazeel 3
Sonic Wings 3 was released in arcades in Japan; it was released internationally as Aero Fighters 3. Used PCB/Jamma boards are readily available online.
- Japanese Arcade Instructions 1 2 (JPEG)
- Japanese Arcade Artwork (high resolution JPEG)
- More Japanese Arcade Artwork (high resolution JPEG)
- US Marquee (JPEG)
- All endings
For home systems, Sonic Wings 3 was released for the Neo-Geo. Both cartridge and CD versions of the game exist and are still easily found online.
- Japanese NeoGeo Manual (PDF)
- Japanese NeoGeo Flyer front (PDF)
- Japanese NeoGeo Flyer back (PDF)
- US NeoGeo Manual (PDF)
- Sonic Wings 3 is the last released Sonic Wings games for Neo-Geo MVS and AES port.