In Earth, the human race was about to achieve new enlightenment and evolution from an ancient civilization to a state of millenium with the guidance of DARK, an extremely advanced supercomputer built and constructed by ancient alien race who settled on Earth thousands of years ago. Then after DARK was completed, for reasons known only to themselves, the alien settlers left Earth as mysteriously they had arrived. For thousands of years DARK led humanity to prosperity.
Then the unimaginable happened: DARK suddenly began to malfunction and has gone genocidally insane.
DARK, now bent on annihilating humanity which it once cared for, dispatched armies of machines (which once protected humans) and mutants to initiate global purge of humans. The world went into a terrible panic. Screams mixed with pain and horror from humanity began to fill the skies. Soon the human race is on the brink of extinction. Just as humanity was down to less than 1% left a miracle occurred: Ares, the God of War, granted two chosen humans Michelle Heart and Kevin Walker Wings of Love and Courage and entrusted the pair with the survival and future of the human race. Time is of the essence. Take Wings and destroy DARK and its wicked military minions.
20,000 years into the future, mankind has built a giant supercomputer named DARK to govern the planet Earth. For thousands of years, DARK has governed humanity with wisdom, justice and led humanity to prosperity. But now the unthinkable has happened: DARK has malfunctioned, and humanity is writhing in agony in the grasp of no longer a sage guardian, but a genocidal tyrant. DARK has built a fleet of robotic legions and warships to patrol the skies, and also has created an army of mutant abominations to guard the various underground bases from which it now terrorizes mankind.
Lulled and dulled by thousands of years of peace, the humanity of Earth are rendered totally defenseless against the army of DARK. Soon the humanity is driven to a brink of extinction. Just as situation seems doomed for mankind, two brave human youths, following an ancient Greek mythology, have devised mechanical wings to bear them aloft in search of DARK's bases, intending on destroting them and ultimately DARK itself. It was then Ares, the God of War, appeared to the two youths and deeply moved by their extraordinary courage and determination, lent his divine power to the mechanical wings to come alive and entrusted them with the survival and future of the humanity.
Donning the now-alive mechanical wings, armed with the last remaining guns and air-to-ground missiles from an arsenal which soon crumbled under DARK's onslaught, the two human youths began flying across the continents and oceans to seek out and destroy the inhuman mechanical colossus and its brutal army. But DARK's minions will prove to be a constant menace, and Giant Heads, grotesque stone face constructed by DARK to guarding the path to each of DARK's underground fortresses. Giant Heads would suck up and entrap any unsuspecting victims into depths with their gaping mouths, where bizarre mutant monsters prowl the corridors. Only when eliminating the organic guardians of Giant Heads can the human youths escape from the belly of the beast and continue taking wings to their quest to destroy DARK.
The two youths must destroy DARK, or the mankind is lost along with them.
- The original Legendary Wings for the arcade was released in three different variations: a Japanese version (titled Wings of Ares) and two overseas versions. The Japanese release features two different player characters whose names are shown on the game's attract sequence: "Michelle Heart", a young woman in a pink bikini; and Kevin Walker, a young man in blue briefs. The first of the two overseas versions retains the original characters, but changes the color of Michel's bikini from pink to green. The second overseas version replaces both characters with nameless male heroes, one in red trunks and the other in blue, both whom wear golden wings instead of the regular white ones from the other characters.
- The NES version of Legendary Wings features several significant differences from its arcade counterpart. While the basic premise and formula remains essentially the same, several changes were made to the gameplay, particularly regards to how the player's power-ups work. Like in the arcade game, the player can upgrade their firepower - by picking up "P" icons hidden inside certain containers. The player can improve their character's firepower to four levels: starting with the normal gun, the player can improve it to a twin laser, a penetration beam, and a three-way flame shot. Picking up the fourth power-up will turn the player character into a Phoenix, which can shoot wide shots that are four times as powerful as the default gun. If the player is shot during a power-up state, it will simply revert the player to their previous power level. If the player is in Phoenix mode, they can withstand up to two direct hits from enemies before getting the downgrade. Also to continue after a game over, the player must retrieve heart icons hidden within the game's bonus levels to gain continues (up to nine continues can be stocked).