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Panorama Cotton (Genesis) artwork

Panorama Cotton (Genesis) review

"The most colorful shooter never introduced to the US"

I have only heard of Panorama Cotton from some gaming sites and youtube videos never had the chance to play it mainly because it never hit the US when it was released in the mid-90s. This game feels like an anime overall, complete with a detailed, if albeit goofy, storyline and starring a fairly unlucky witch girl named Cotton who gets herself into a mess. After having trying it out I can say with the greatest of pleasure just how addictive this title is. The game itself takes me back to Space Harrier complete with the same vibes and difficulty.

CptRetroBlue's image
If you can make sense of the plot, then I will applaud you.

The story, if you try not too hard to make sense of it, is that Cotton, the protagonist of this game ends up eating a burnt willow (an in game type of food) a fairy was carrying about and is upset that anyone would ever do such a thing with her favorite magical snack, so she ventures along with the fairy to find those responsible. Mind you, I got this fraction out of the entire nonsense that is told if you let the game's cut scene play through and read it from a translation. Its just insane.

CptRetroBlue's image
Cotton levels up.

The game itself plays just right. You maneuver cotton as she flies through psychedelic panoramic scenes shooting down magical beings and avoiding other obstacles. The megadrive here seems to push its limits with said gameplay with no slowdown to speak of. The weird, colorful ambience reminds me of later shooters like Panzer Dragoon Orta with all that scenery. The sound is quite well done even at that stage of the console's life, when most games came out with garbled sound bytes.

CptRetroBlue's image
Both graphically impressive and hard.

You have the option of using a power-up to clear enemies in front of you and adjust speed besides using the fairy flying alongside who homes into a group of enemies like a barrage of missiles from the After Burner series. The game also allows you to level up for more potent shots and options, but you drop levels when getting hit, which on this game happens quite a lot even when you try your hardest not to. The game only provides one life which is composed of a number of hits you can take before asked to continue or just give up with a game over, which is shown hilariously by Cotton being miserable.

CptRetroBlue's image
The humor reminds me of Anime of old and its hilarious.

I was pretty amazed at the intro of the game, not many on the system could show such elongated cut scenes that make you feel like you were watching a prologue to an Anime. I am fairly impressed. You will have no dull moment in trying out to beat this title, and quite frankly is one of those games on the MegaDrive/Genesis you should definitely get a taste of. Just make sure it isnít burnt before that first bite.

CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (February 10, 2020)

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