Pros: 2D shooting in a 3D world, retro gameplay
Cons: Same old frustration, not many improvements, poor presentation
Believe it or not shooting games
have evolved significantly from the "good old days". If you look at
Space Invaders, Asteroids and even Sega's Fantasy Zone compared to
Einhander or R-Type Final they look primitive. When Sega decided to
re-release Fantasy Zone as part of their Ages series gamers expected a
little more than a port of Fantasy Zone for the PS2.
Fantasy Zone is a
classic side scrolling shooter. Your ship is equipped with two weapons a
forward shooting cannon and a bomb. The goal of the game is to destroy a
number of different sessile pods that spawn enemies. After you defeat
them you're off to a boss battle. While you're trying to shoot down the
pods there are other various enemies that fly around and shoot at you.
When you take other ships down, they occasionally drop precious coins.
These coins can be used to purchase items at the shop. Items include
bigger wings and engines to increase speed, lasers, multi shots,
different bombs and an extra life. Part of the fun of Fantasy Zone is
running around and building your ship up. You can spend hours collecting
coins just to get the best gun.
While collecting weapons is fun, they run out quickly. This means to
have the "best" ship you'll need to keep shooting enemies over and over
again, which gets boring fast. The actually gameplay itself gets really
repetitive. After beating a level you pretty much destroy pods on a
different background, loads of fun. Your reward for going through the
arcade mode is collecting 3D models of various ships. This is a nice
reward, but isn't really worth playing through the arcade mode more than
once. Besides the Arcade mode there is a level select mode so you don't
have to go through every level to play one of your favorites.
Graphically, Fantasy Zone doesn't compare at all to other Playstation
games, it doesn't even stand up into comparison to other Sega Ages
games. While this is mostly for nostalgic style, Fantasy Zone looks a
lot like the arcade version of the game. All of the graphics are cel
shaded so they have a cartoon look to them. However, you can rarely tell
that cel shading is even being used by this game since you're moving on
a 2D plane. It almost feels like all of that technology has gone to
waste. The only real time you can experience cel shading is when you're
in the bonus stage after a boss battle. The bonus stage is a space
harrier type stage where you collect coins coming towards you. It's
still primitive, like something you would see in a first generation
Playstation game or a late SNES game. While the graphics have undergone
an upgrade, the sound hasn't. This doesn't mean that all old school
video games had awful music, but if a game did have bad music it should
be remade. Fantasy Zone's music has a cute feel to it which matches with
the game, but it also has lots of high pitched squeaky sounds. These
notes get quite annoying, especially when you're hearing them over and
over again. There isn't much music variety in this version of the game,
probably because it wanted to stay true to the arcade version. Which
means you'll be muting your TV once you pop the game in.
Unlike some of the other Sega Ages games that have gotten some
gameplay changes Fantasy Zone remains untouched, for better or worse.
Fans of the old Fantasy Zone may enjoy this game more for the memories
of the old game, than the upgrades. Since it's not that different from
the original Fantasy Zone, why bother buying this game?
Pretty simple gameplay to learn and the story is in English. Most of
the menus are in English too, so it's pretty import friendly.
A developer has decided to publish the Sega Ages series in the US.
This means Fantasy Zone will be brought over, but we don't know when.
If you're a die hard Fantasy Zone fan you already have this game, but
for the majority of gamers out there save your cash and get something