Fantasy Zone - Sega

Fantasy Zone - Various Platforms

Reviewed by Postman

Forget 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?”.

FZ 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.

To 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, etc.

FZ 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.

Fantasy Zone 1

The 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!)

Fantasy Zone 2

My 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)

Fantasy Zone Gear

The 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.

Super Fantasy Zone

The 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.

Choose a page!
Page 1 Page 2 Page 1 Page 2 Page 1 Page 2 Page 1 Page 2

Great one here Rog! I remember playing the SMS version of the game in my cousin's Game Gear, and it was real shooty joy. After that game I found about the Genesis version, the arcade one, Pc-Engine FZ (not good!), and the X68000 one (which is an arcade-perfect port). I also didn't like the way the screen scrolls, but after some plays you get used to it.

A Sega classic that you surely can play, since it had more encarnations than the Gradius quintesential boss. However, Sega, where's our DC remake?

- Akira


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie