Super Fantasy Zone (Genesis) review
"Despite being average at its core, Super Fantasy Zone certainly possesses a unique charm and pleasant aesthetics. Taking a similar structure as its predecessor, Super Fantasy Zone combines the cartoonish buoyancy of any 16-bit platform game and the fast-paced action of any other 16-bit shooter to create a creative blend of style and substance. "
Despite being average at its core, Super Fantasy Zone certainly possesses a unique charm and pleasant aesthetics. Taking a similar structure as its predecessor, Super Fantasy Zone combines the cartoonish buoyancy of any 16-bit platform game and the fast-paced action of any other 16-bit shooter to create a creative blend of style and substance.
Instead of embracing the normal structure of a side-scrolling shooter, where you basically have to blow up whatever comes at you, Super Fantasy Zone adopts a looped scrolling style of level where the goal is to destroy a collection of bizarre enemy spawning pods. As well, as fighting an array of oncoming enemies, you’ll have to jump from left to right attempting to destroy these things. With your ship’s basic weaponry, doing so can be a arduous and repetitive process. Thankfully, the destruction of these pods provides you with a numerous amount of gold coins, which in turn, can be used to purchase a selection of improved weapons, which ranges from extremely limited improved primary fire, a wide range of secondary bombs, which are slower to deploy but do greater damage or a tertiary weapon which can be used once and do a great deal of damage.
Now, each level of Super Fantasy Zone has a select number of these enemy pods which differ in appearance in each level, but perform the same function. Blowing these to smithereens will eventually bring you face to face with an unusual and often out of place boss. Giant pumpkins, enormous laser-spewing fish and spastic flailing razors are part of the bizarre line up of bosses. With a well stocked up arsenal of secondary and tertiary weaponry and careful thinking, most bosses can be overwhelmed without too much strain. The only debate is longevity of the bosses due to a) the weakness of your primary fire and b) the limited use of secondary and tertiary weaponry. Because of these factors, which aren’t exactly crippling concepts for enjoyable boss fights; these battles are hardly as intense as what they should be.
Aesthetically, Super Fantasy Zone incorporates intensely colourful visuals. Sticking with the template of the original 8-bit game, the 16-bit upgrade has certainly made its mark. To say the game has colour is somewhat of a silly understatement, Super Fantasy Zone is a glorious acid trip. Thankfully, it doesn’t go over the top its psychedelic charm to produce mind-numbing seizures like later Genesis/32X games seemed to enjoy provoking. However, its distinct charm and uniqueness certainly escalate it above the generic bland shooter visuals that follow the same archetype.
Super Fantasy Zone is fun to a certain extent at least. The reliance upon similarly structured levels, sluggish removal of enemy pods and elongated boss fights can dilute any enjoyment whatsoever. However, experimenting with various weapons and the generally archetypical enjoyment that the game provides are enough to warrant it as an average experience.
Community review by goldenvortex (February 01, 2009)
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