Airzonk - Hudsonsoft


Making the leap from platform game to shootemup
- here's AirZonk!

Reviewed by Roger Post

Bonk? In a shooter? You've got to be kidding me!! Air Zonk is a very interesting creation, taking a classic side-scrolling adventure and making it into a shooter. And, to top it all off, this game is made from the team of Hudson/Red according to the title screen.....could this be the Red responsible for Gate/Lords of Thunder?

All the regular Bonk characters are here, from the smiley face bonuses to those power up puking flowers. But there is no jump button this time, or head-butt. Now it's shoot and bomb. Air Zonk has that "cartoony" feel to it, yet at the same time keeps the elements of a serious shooter.

There are about 5 different weapons you can get throughout the game, and holding down button II makes Zonk (possibly a relative of Bonk) drop a huge bomb. You are also accompanied by a "friend", which functions like a helper adding extra bullets to attack the baddies. You can pick your friends (but not your friend's nose....), or set the computer to pick for you, or go it alone. Grabbing two friend icons combines you with the companion, giving a gracious invincibility period and a stronger attack until you get hit again.

The music and graphics in Air Zonk are top notch (for the time period), but the main feature for me was the bosses. Each level features a midboss and endboss, both huge and detailed. In fact, to me this game is a big bossfest, as the levels are pretty short and only good to grab powerups in.

This is a lighthearted shooter, like Parodius, done in the typical Bonk style. The difficulty level is just right, and even though the game gives tons of 1ups, by the end of the game you will need them.

Nothing says attitude more than cheap shades. It must be very bright in Zonkville.

He ripped that lightning bolt off of the Flash....DC Comics will be calling soon, Hudson Soft.

Here's where you select your companion character. My favorite is the cat/dog (I forget now...) which attacks with a giant WOOF/MEOW... (Teaches me to wait so long between playing and writing.)

Level one midboss, watch out for the nose thing in the front which will eventually attack you. Remember this guy's mug, he shows up later again.

Level one boss, a bit modified. The magnet pulls you forward, and the anchor swings wildly about at Zonk.

After getting two large smiley faces, you combine with the companion, in this case the cow which throws milk bottles (!?)

Level two midboss, shoot each snake as it pops out every floor.

Bosses warp you to funky backgrounds, and level two boss starts out tied in a trash bag..

Then opens up into a compost heap complete with flies.

Reminds me of Pizza The Hut from Spaceballs, the movie.

Level three is in a stadium, where thousands of people can watch you mess up playing a shooter. Is this what the coach meant by running drills?

The armless midboss now rides atop a dinosaur football. He's not too hard in this mode...

But gets tricky here, the pigskin tries to squish you while firing too....Zonk can do this weird thing with his feet, which hurts enemies, so try to keep bullets behind you and his foot airjets will take care of them.

Level four midboss under the sea. Turbografx games are notorious for insanely high scores too, you will see mine go up quicker than the U.S. national debt.

Now this is really weird, a flowery T.V. set.....shoot the little flowers and dodge the electric bolt he shoots out.

Finally mop up the core and proceed to the next level, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

Level five is the first appearance of King Drool and his two bodyguards...who you see a lot in the game. Here you fight the space cadet spiral one.....

Now it's off to the dark, foreboding tower, where the end boss will probably give up peacefully and without a fight....;)

I liked seeing this in the second part of level five: the background looks like a mock Bonk game stage. More characters from the original appear too.

Now Bonk's Adventure appears in cube format. Better than Rubik's.......

Remember those bodyguards? Bonkenstein here takes his stab at you.....he just shoots then "shadows" himself around the screen.....not too hard to dodge.

Next I think you fight some bosses again-I didn't take doubles of the snapshots-then the bodyguards return, and you have to fight both at the SAME TIME! Hold down regular shot for a bomb that is very helpful.

Finally, the big cheese himself! This form is easy, just watch for that green homing laser.

He drops the gun and runs after taking damage. Notice the points for beating so many bosses gives you 9 men by now, but don't relax yet, you may need them all.....

Now the real King Drool.....He attacks with every weapon you had during the game, about five different ones.

Turn on the fancy footwork, zig and zag, and if you can do enough damage before the 9 men run out, enjoy the ending.

Drool just wanted to do some scientific research on the moon, to better benefit mankind, but Zonk had the urge to blow stuff up, so he foiled the good-natured efforts of KD.

Yeah, right! Probably really was another plot for world domination.

Zonk really turns out to be a robot, much like MegaMan (another fine series...not quite a true shooter, with ships and free range of movement, but awesome games just the same).

Look here.....Red in the credits! That assures shooter quality 99% of the time. Wish they made more games these days! There was a sequel made on PCE-CD rom, which I have yet to play though.

Ta very much for that, Roger! The best thing about AirZonk for me is the music, it's really catchy stuff. In fact, if I concentrate I can hear it right now. I've yet to see the followup on CD, I wonder if the music in that was as good? - Malc


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