the Twilight Zone, the No Smoking Zone, the loading/unloading Zone,
even the School Zone... nothing even gets close to the Fantasy Zone.
Tired of fighting all your battles in space, with those bothersome
menacing battleships? Why not take on cute little fluffy clouds?
Or turtles and fish? Despite all the weird characters in Sega’s
trilogy of games, the Fantasy Zone series is excellent shooter material,
and quite fun to play. And the backgrounds answer the question of
“What would happen if the Mario worlds were made into shooters?”.
in it’s original form had an arcade release, and a Sega Master System
incarnation (remember that?). Its success brought on a Master System
sequel, a Game Gear excursion, and even a port over to the old Genesis
as an unofficial “part three”. There is a version called Fantasy
Zone: The Maze, but since this is not a shooter, and rather a spinoff,
I’ll ignore it and stick to the pure shooting versions. Each of
the four games haves a few minor differences, but the main premise
of FZ is the same, which is the destruction of several “enemy generators”
through the course of about eight levels, followed by a boss fight
for each level.
help you in this quest, a shop appears or can be found to supply
you with extra goodies, such as enhanced weapons or nifty items.
Money is collected by beating enemy generators, small enemies, or
in what I call the “jackpot”, which happens when a defeated boss
suddenly turns to coins, which you then frantically have to snatch
up before they disappear. Weapons consist of normal shot and bombs,
which can be upgraded in shops to lasers, wide shots, heavy bombs,
is very simple, yet also very fun in it’s simplicity. Music is very
upbeat and fits the theme of the game exactly. The
only problem is have with FZ is this: the screen scrolls horizontally
either way, right or left. If you are going one direction and quickly
cut to the other, Opa Opa (the main character) goes much faster
than the screen and often runs smack dab into one of the bad guys.
The programmers should have keep Opa centered, and this is very
frustrating and must be adjusted to. If you play, you will understand
what I’m talking about.
first and most straight forward. Most lacking in graphics, and
least on the chain of progression. Each level is comprised of
only one section with a handful of generators. But wait until
you see the improvements in part two….(as an extra, the arcade
version is cool, but the PC engine version surprisingly is horrible:
sad music and gameplay, just stay CLEAR!)
favorite of the three, and also the most difficult. Now instead
of just one section on each level, the addition of warp zones
make the game a little more involved. Now each level has 2 to
4 sections, and you have to find all the generators, then find
your way to the boss! A little memory is involved too, if you
find the boss portal early. Obviously this makes the game much
longer, and more fun I think. Bosses are bigger and better, and
there are now hidden items and hidden shops too, with special
items that give you multiple hits and other neat-o stuff. Graphics
are improved and more colorful. This version is the way to go.
There is even an arcade game by Sega called Opa Opa, but I don’t
know if it is this exact game or a sequel to it. (It could
be a spinoff game featuring Opa-Opa, the FZ hero - Akira)
Game Gear is your normal FZ action, with only one major change:
you are now able to switch weapons and equipment by pausing the
game on the regular stage. The other versions only let you do
maintenance in a shop. Also, the screen position problem is VERY
annoying in this version.
Genny version has more of a plot, with intro screens and a new
last boss. A few new items are introduced in the shops, and two
new levels are created: one very dark, and one with the threat
of electricity. This is the most action oriented of the three,
with the most arcade like feel. Bosses are big and bad, and the
graphics are up to Genesis standard. Also Sunsoft put this one
out, so you know it is quality material. My second favorite of
the bunch. This is a Japan release, and also hard to find.