Super Fantasy Zone, Megadrive/Genesis

Super Fantasy Zone is a conversion of the 1986 Sega arcade game, Fantasy Zone, re-programmed by Sunsoft and published by Sega in 1992. The game was initially only released in Japan and Europe, but North America did finally receive an official release of the game via Virtual Console in 2008. The game is also included on the Sega Genesis Mini.

The player controls a sentient spaceship, called Opa-Opa, who is fighting an alien invasion of a group of eight planets (each planet is named at the beginning of a stage), and who must destroy a series of enemy bases in order to make a boss appear. Once the boss of each stage has been beaten, it’s then onto the next. On the final level Opa-Opa must beat all the previous bosses in succession, as well as the final boss. It was one of the first video games to use the concept of a “boss rush” and helped popularise the feature.

Opa-Opa can use two different types of weapons. Firstly, he can shoot forwards using a standard front-mounted gun, and secondly: he can also drop bombs. Shooting enemies, and destroying bases, makes coins drop from them to the ground, where they can then be collected. Opa-Opa sprouts feet when he touches the ground and can walk around to collect coins without crashing.

It is possible to upgrade Opa-Opa‘s ship and weapons by visiting a shop that appears during each stage. When you see the shop icon you simply fly into it and a menu appears, allowing you buy upgrades, provided you have enough money to be able to afford them. Some weapons have a time limit that starts as soon as you leave the shop. Engine upgrades are permenant, though. If you lose a life, all upgrades are lost.

Like its arcade parent, Super Fantasy Zone is deceptively challenging. The graphics are cute and colourful, but the shooting action is fairly difficult and you must really be on your toes to survive the many objects flying around the screen. The game is really good, though, and this Megadrive/Genesis port is a good representation of the original arcade game, with decent visuals, sound and gameplay.

More: Super Fantasy Zone on Wikipedia

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