Developer(s): Omega Force
Publisher(s): Koei (JP, USA)
Midas Interactive Entertainment (EU)
Release Date:
Nintendo 64 Version
Flag of Japan: September 23, 1999
Flag of the United States.svg: September 30, 1999
European flag: July 7, 2000

PlayStation 2 Version

Flag of Japan: December 21, 2000
Flag of the United States.svg: February 27, 2001
European flag: November 28, 2001
Genre: Third-person shooter
Game Modes: Single Player, Multi player
Ratings: CERO: CERO B Rating
ESRB: Rating US-Teen
PEGI: PEGI 12 Rating
Platform(s): Nintendo 64,
PlayStation 2

WinBack (originally spelled WIN BACK —ウィン バック— for the Japanese port) is a third-person shooter developed by Omega Force, and their only Nintendo 64 game. It is widely reputed as a cult classic amongst retro shooters and retrospectively known as the first game to utilize cover based shooting.

The title is localized as Operation: WinBack in Australia and Europe, and is known as WinBack: Covert Operations in North America. Its sequel is WinBack 2: Project Poseidon.

Music was composed by Keiji Yamagishi, Kaori Nakabai and Tsutomu Hirasawa.


The Crying Lions — a military resistance from the fictional country Saroczia — has captured the GULF system, a highly destructive military space based laser satellite with an infinite power source. After they use GULF to destroy the Space Center of Development, the Crying Lions make three nonnegotiable demands to the North American government: 1. withdraw military personnel from their country, 2. publicly confess and apologize for war crimes made on its people, and 3. agree to never return to Saroczia.

The Secretary of Defense responds by ordering the Special Covert Actions Team (S.C.A.T) to infiltrate GULF and reclaim it before it recharges for another shot. S.C.A.T.'s objective is dubbed Operation Winback and begins without delay.


Shooting, hand-to-hand combat, picking up items, and operating doors or machinery is assigned to the situational "Action" button (A/Square). Machine gun turrets are scattered throughout the game and can be used to fire a horizontal barrage of bullets when found. Hand-to-hand combat is limited to weak kicks in frontal confrontations or instant knockouts against enemies with their back facing the player character. Either option is situational, and most of the damage is dealt with bullets.

To fire a weapon, press and hold R/R1 to aim and A/Square to fire. Laser guides are assigned to all firearms to aid with aiming. When an enemy is in sight, the player can lock-on to a target (C-down/Tri) to have the camera focus on them. Move the sights with the control stick/left analog stick to allow for manual aiming. Head shots deal the most damage on any difficulty setting. Reload a weapon with B/X and shuffle between different weapons with C-up/Circle. Characters cannot move and aim simultaneously; they are also completely vulnerable when reloading or selecting another firearm. Here are the basic weapons available within the main story.

Weapon Ammo Description
Handgun Infinite Standard pistol. Decent range and power.
Shotgun 8 shells per clip
Short range but powerful. Useful for taking down bosses or sturdy opponents. Can be reloaded based on available shells.
Machine Gun 30 shots per magazine
Long ranged and quick. Can easily hit multiple targets in a short span of time. Reloads by magazine.
Rocket Launcher 4 rockets (cannot reload)
Slow, long range explosive with damaging effects. Cannot press against walls while using.
Handgun with Silencer 8 rounds (cannot reload)
Same characteristics as handgun but doesn't alarm guards if fired.
C4 n/a, rare Explosive which can possibly take out multiple units. Press down on the directional pad to set it. Hidden in specific parts of the map.

Movement is done by using the control stick/left analog stick; the intensity the player uses to move it determines the speed of their character's dash. Characters can crouch (Z/Tri) and move in a hunched position to make them harder targets. Most characters are agile enough to evade (hold Z + direction + A/hold Tri + direction + Square) while crouching, allowing them to gain momentary frames of invincibility. It is possible to aim and fire a weapon while crouching, but the character cannot move and fire at the same time. Boxes can be used for crouching cover until they are destroyed by gunfire. If a character is too close to a box while it is destroyed by enemy fire, it will damage them.

Walls can be used as secondary cover by tapping A/Square while a character is near it. The character's back will be pressed against the wall. Characters can creep to a corner and use it as a vantage point for sniping. Press and hold R/R1 to shoot. Let go of R/R1 to have the character snap back to the wall. Weapons can be shuffled and reloaded while against a wall. Shooting causes a character to swing into the line of fire so timing each shot is crucial. Walls do not provide perfect protection as it is possible for bullets to nip in between cover. Tapping A/Square again frees a character from it.

The main traps found on maps are laser traps. Contact with a laser equals instantaneous death. They can be deactivated by destroying the control box or by locating the off switch on the map. Traps are introduced as stationary hazards yet move in advanced stages. Explosive boxes pose another source of danger within a level as they blow up once a single bullet hits them, damaging any target within range. It may be a convenient method of taking out crowds. CPU enemies cannot perceive these boxes as situational weapons and boldly fire at them if the player is in the same direction. They may cause severe damage to themselves or an unsuspecting player by unintentionally setting them off.


Input the following codes before any of the demo movies at the "press start" screen. If inputted correctly, the game should play a gunshot sound.

Maximum Power Mode (unlimited ammo for all weapons): L, C-right, C-left, C-right, C-left, C-down, C-up, C-down, C-up. Hold L and press Start.
Sudden Death Mode (one-hit kill for every character in any mode): C-left, C-right, C-left, C-right, C-up, C-down, C-up, C-down. Hold L and press Start.
Trial Mode: Up, Down, Down, Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left, Left. Hold C-down and press Start.
Unlock all Versus characters: Up, Down, Down, Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left, Left. Hold C-Up and press Start.


Single player narrative experience which limits the player character to Jean-Luc Cougar. Players can choose to start a new game or load from their previous save. Total of thirty-one stages. Unlimited continues.

Story has two different endings. If the player reaches the freight elevator's fourth floor under three hours of game time, they unlock the good ending route. Any other time leads to the bad ending.


Learn the control basics with Steve.


Maximum four players can compete against one another in the following modes:

Death Match - shoot-out with other players to decide who is the last man standing.
Lethal Tag - fight for command of a single white cube. Whoever has the white cube scores points, and the first to score seven points wins.
Cube Hunt - hunt for seven colored cubes scattered across the map. Avoid getting hit to keep cubes in inventory. The first to gather all seven cubes is the victor.
Quick Draw - shoot seven cubes as quickly as possible. Winner is the person who shoots them down the fastest.
Team Battle - team version of Death Match. Work with another player to take out the opposing team.

Characters within this mode may have different attributes and weaponry than Jean-Luc. To unlock additional characters without using the code, play Story on Easy and Normal difficulty. Rack up at least 23,000 points to unlock every character. Points can be obtained by avoiding medkits and by not taking damage while relying on the handgun.


Play any stage within the game without having to play Story. Unlock without the code by completing Story with the good ending.


Change Story's difficulty level to Easy, Normal, or Hard. Computer enemies will deal less/more damage depending on the difficulty level. Adjustments for controller settings, camera settings, vibration settings, and sound are present.



  • Jean-Luc Cougar
Hikaru Midorikawa (Japanese)
Age: 27; Weight: 172 lbs.; Height: 5'10"
The main protagonist of the story. Jean-Luc is a former SWAT member who is the leader of the Advance Strike Team. He is admired by his juniors in S.C.A.T. for his level-headed professionalism. His handgun is a memento of his older brother, Alan, a presumably deceased member of the Navy Special Forces. Regardless of the ending, he is one of scant survivors of Operation Winback.
  • Lisa Roberts
Lynn Harris (English), Mariko Kouda (Japanese)
Age: 24; Weight: 108 lbs.; Height: 5'5"
The only female member whose grandmother is Japanese. She aced criminal psychology at the university and was formally an agent for the National Bureau of Investigation. Dan scouted her for S.C.A.T. She mainly goes with Jake's group throughout the operation. In the bad ending, she is killed off screen with Jake in the generator room. During the good ending route, she is taken hostage near the end of the game by Cecile. She survives the mission in this scenario.
  • Jake Hudson
Dennis Falt (English), Masaya Onosaka (Japanese)
Age: 27; Weight: 175 lbs.; Height: 5'10"
Former army grunt who joined S.C.A.T. the same time as Jean-Luc. He is a cocky hot shot who picks on Lisa and Jean-Luc. During the operation, he leads the other members towards the team's main objective and leaves Jean-Luc behind to cover their rear. In the bad ending, he is killed off screen with Lisa in the generator room. During the good ending route, Jake is killed while trying to save Lisa.
  • Steven Legal
Dennis Falt (English), Takeshi Kusao (Japanese)
Age: 33; Weight: 186 lbs.; Height: 5'11"
Vice-Commander of S.C.A.T. who is the training instructor for its recruits. He served as British Naval Spy before joining the team. Jean-Luc discovers Steve's corpse during the mission with no clues to his killer.
  • Mike Hawkins
Robert Belgrade (English), Yasuhiko Kawazu (Japanese)
Age: 30; Weight: 215 lbs.; Height: 5'8"
Bombs expert who excels at removing traps. After regrouping with Jean-Luc, Mike travels with Jake's group. When they reach the third floor of the GULF control center, Mike attempts to team up with Jean-Luc. He is fatally shot down by Banderas moments afterwards.
  • Thomas Smith
Takehiko Watanabe (Japanese)
Age: 26; Weight: 164 lbs.; Height: 5'8"
Communications expert who deals with the high-tech problems. Tom regroups with Jean-Luc early within the mission and agrees to find a password for an elevator in their path. He tells Jean-Luc and crew to disable five bombs within the facility while he hacks the terrorists' network. Tom is killed off screen by the group's traitor and writes the password as his dying message.
  • Law Bruford
Hisao Egawa (Japanese)
Age: 28; Weight: 252 lbs.; Height: 6'8"
Former boxer and veteran of the Air Force before joining S.C.A.T. He was Jean-Luc's competitor for becoming team leader. He remains isolated in the majority of the mission until he is wounded at an elevator leading towards the freight elevator. Law sacrifices himself to operate it for Jean-Luc, killing his pursuers before he is executed by Cecile.
  • Matthew Brown
Avi Landau (English), Takeshi Kusao (Japanese)
Age: 33; Weight: 208 lbs.; Height: 6'
Big man of the Marine Corps who excels in hand-to-hand combat. Matt perishes mere moments after he regroups with Jean-Luc near the start of the operation.
  • Keith Birdy
Eric Jacobsen (English), Takehiko Watanabe (Japanese)
Age: 23; Weight: 144 lbs.; Height: 5'7"
The team medic and newest rookie. After regrouping with Jean-Luc, Keith travels with Jake's group and is left behind when he is wounded. Jean-Luc saves him from Duke and goes on without him. He survives the operation.
  • Daniel Stewart
William Ross (English), Ryotaro Okiayu (Japanese)
Age: 38; Weight: 191 lbs.; Height: 6'
S.C.A.T.'s commander, former member of the Navy Special Forces, and Alan's friend who planned the team's movements for Operation WinBack. Dan disappears at the very start of the mission when the team's helicopter malfunctions. In the good ending route, he appears at the end of the story to reveal that he is the team's traitor. Dan is actually Kenneth's younger brother who became disillusioned with the American government when he was ordered to gun down the severely undermanned Sarcozian resistance. He kills Tom and Steve during the operation to help the resistance's cause. Dan only confesses his motives to Jean-Luc after he is bested in combat.

Crying LionsEdit

  • Kenneth Coleman
William Ross (English), Yasunori Masutani (Japanese)
Mastermind behind the Saroczian resistance group and a former member of the Saroczian Special Forces. He is called "Colonel" by its members. Kenneth is seen during the game's opening demo making the group's demands with the idealized if flawed wish to liberate Saroczia. He achieves his goal in the bad ending and commits suicide. During the good ending, he is unceremoniously killed by Cecile.
  • Cecile Carlyle
Naoki Imamura (Japanese)
Kenneth's right hand man and a notorious mercenary. Cecile is often seen in active command throughout the story. He protects his boss during the bad ending. The good ending has him be ambitious by kidnapping Lisa, killing Jake, and usurping Kenneth. Cecile makes a new demand to the American government to wire 100 million dollars to his bank account. In either scenario, he acts as Jean-Luc's final opponent.
  • "Hard Luck" Lila
Lynn Harris (English), Yuki Makishima (Japanese)
Brutal and ruthless woman who wields machine guns. Utters Cecil's name with her dying breath.
  • Leon
Hunter wielding shotgun user who defends the final bomb.
  • Ryan
Barry Gjerde (English)
Veteran who wields sub-machine gun and grenades. As he dies, he uses one of grenades to blow up the control panel for the express elevator, forcing the S.C.A.T. members to use the longer path towards the GULF control center.
  • Sergeant Thunder
Dean Harrington (English)
Wields a flame-thrower. He obstructs Jean-Luc during his attempt to regroup with the other S.C.A.T. members.
  • Duke
The member who injures and disables Keith. Fights using a minigun.
  • Gunt
Dean Harrington (English)
Muscled obese man wielding a rocket launcher.
  • Banderas
Dennis Falt (English)
Dual wielding Uzi user who guns down Mike. His boss fight is littered with explosives.
  • Jin
Ninja-like mercenary whose defining trait is his hysterical laughter (good ending only). Jin is an agile shooter who can cloak his presence.
  • Deathmask
Duel wielding pistol mercenary who appears during Lisa's hostage scene (good ending only). He wears a mask and speaks with grunts.

Differences between portsEdit

  • Enemy AI is slightly different between both versions.
  • Controls have been simplified in the PS2 port.
  • More checkpoints in the PS2 version.
  • The PS2 version has updated graphics, higher definition sound effects and music, and smoother animations. Voice acting accompanies the original N64 script. Players can alter their language settings in the main menu to English or Japanese audio/subtitles.
  • Ten possible save slots in the PS2 version.
  • Bot Mode, another multiplayer mode, is in the PS2 version. One player can beat the computer or two players can work together to take down an AI team.
  • Codes have been changed at the "press start" screen:
Maximum Power Mode: L1, R2, L2, R2, L2, Tri, Circle, Tri, Circle. Hold L1 and press Start.
Sudden Death Mode: L2, R2, L2, R2, Circle, Tri, Circle, Tri. Hold L1 and press Start.
Trial Mode: up, down, down, right, right, right, left, left, left, left. Simultaneously press Square and Start.
Unlock all Versus characters: up, down, down, right, right, right, left, left, left, left. Simultaneously press Circle and Start.
Start from any level: up, down, down, right, right, right, left, left, left. Simultaneously press Tri and Start.

Related MediaEdit

The PS2 WinBack was present at Koei's Tokyo Game Show 2000 booth. It was one of the discount titles presented in Koei's 2002 Summer Chance shopping campaign. A guidebook with strategies, character profiles, and Japanese voice actor commentary was published.


External LinksEdit