CAPCOM - NES
Reviewed by Garrett M. Aja
NES has a reputation of playing host to some of the greatest shmups of
all time. Examples include: Gradius 2, LifeForce, Contra, Super C, and
about 20 others I can't think of right now. But, like any good system,
there are forgotten games. On the NES, one of them is Section Z.
Section Z was released by Capcom in 1987, just after Ghosts 'n Goblins and 1942 showed up and just before Mega Man emerged as Capcom's big money maker (ugly package and all). As a result, the hero in this game is nigh forgotten, too: Captain Commando. In this game, Captain Commando (Capcom's mascot at the time) was called upon by Earth forces to destroy a space station on the outer edge of our solar system, called Balangool (don't ask), which was/is taken over by the forces of the evil L-Brain.
It's basically a standard shooter, but with a twist: instead of going straight from point A to point B (much like the original arcade version-which I've never played), you had to negotiate through a maze, destroying various power generators in order to reach the boss. There are 3 stages, each with a boss that is insanely easy (and the fairly difficult L-Brain at the end of Stage 3) and a typically inane ending (Captain Commando rushes out of the fortress and it blows up, and you start over again) to round out the story of the game.
Next up is the Megasmasher. The powerup is shaped slightly like a greater-than symbol, similar to the shape of its projectiles. This is the best weapon, seeing as it is so powerful. The display shows "M" before selecting it. Like most of the special weapons, it is left behind by these little orange aliens that cling to Balangool's walls.
Then there's the Flashbuster, or "F" weapon. It's a slow, 3-way gun with a really cool "plough-plough-plough" sound. (As a matter of fact, this one positive for the lack of an emulation of this game. NESticle would definitely find a way to screw it up.)
In addition to these beams is the Mega Buster, a combination of the other two. But instead of a weapon on its own, you must have the Megasmasher equipped, and both a Megasmasher and Flashbuster in reserve in order to use it. This is THE choice weapon of the game (but it's squat compared to the good ol' Thunder Beam from Mega Man).
The other Gradius-style powerups are the speed-up option, "S", and the blood container-like energy recharges. The speedup is just like all the others (duh) and the energy containers recharge you in increments of threes. You get these by killing enemies. Also of note is the Barrier Shield ("B"), which protects you from 32 shots to Captain Commando's front. This makes defeating the Generators much more bearable.
The second type of powerup is the Special Transmission Shells, or STSs. These things must be found inside some of the special rooms that litter the game. While they are powerful, they take off 5 units of your precious energy reserves. They are accessed by pressing the A and B buttons at the same time to select which STS and pressing Select to activate it (more on this later). Of the 3 available, you receive the Megamissile at the start. The name sums up the it's function. The Flash Bomb blows up everything onscreen, like a smart bomb (everything, except bosses, of course). And lastly, the Crush Ball acts as a super shield, lasting for 6 seconds. (Note: the demo screens give good examples of the use of these weapons.)
Now, without further ado, is the actual review (like the rest of this stuff didn't actually count):
Thank you Garrett! (sorry it took so long to post this btw:) One thing I have noticed about NES arcade shootemup conversions is that they aren't really conversions at all - a lot of them are anything but faithful to the original, with extra levels tacked on and lots of bits changed and extra weapons being added (see the NES Lifeforce for a good example)... whether this is good or bad is up to you, but I always prefer a close conversion than a remix.
played the NES version of SectionZ, and not having much luck finding
a rom either, here's a few pics of the arcade one. From the sound of
Garrett's review, I'm beginning to wonder if it's the same game at all!!
Strangely, the MAME emulated SectionZ is also different to my PCB original
of it too... there's new enemies and some level changes! Hmmm... here
you go anyway! - Malc.
TOP | HOME
www.shmups.com © 1997 - 2007 Malcolm Laurie