Time to smash those world records again. The lads over on Ten Pence Arcade this week have chosen Fantasy Zone II by Sega. All together now, hands in the air. Let me be your fantasy! (…erm Zone…ahem…) This is the very game that inspired Baby D to write and release the smash number one hit, only to be knocked off the top spot by East 17 with saccharine Christmas hit stay another day. True story. Well some of it.
Developed by Sega, Fantasy Zone II is a sequel to, yes you guessed it Fantasy Zone. Whereas the original was an arcade hit ported to the console market, namely the Sega Master System, the sequel was a console original which was ported to the arcades. Playchoice-10 aside it’s not often the way of things so it must be pretty special right…?
Set 10 years after Fantasy Zone you take control of Opa-Opa who once again has to fight of hordes of random albeit cute looking enemies to save the titular zone from Nenon forces. The game is a horizontal shooter in which the player can scroll from side to side at will in the manner of Defender. Destroying the enemies leads to them dropping coins and notes which you can spend at the shop to get all kinds of snazzy upgrades. Weapons, wings, extra lives and so on. In addition to the free moving waves of enemies, there are also stationary bases which once destroyed leave behind warps to allow you to move to different screens full of fresh enemies and bases. This is the key to progressing through the game. The amount of bases you have to destroy per level are detailed in a bar at the top of the screen. Defeat the required quota, you can then travel thorough a final warp to the end of level boss.
Strangely there’s no MAME or Arcade high score over on Twin Galaxies, just the Master System version so perhaps we need to get onto them and propose a new high score track guys?
11300 – First attempt. Level 1 -Pastaria. Despite all you’ve read above, that was written after I’d done any kind of read up on this game. I initially thought the boss quota level was a health bar. So I wandered around aimlessly, bought some wings at the shop, walked about at the bottom of the screen (yes the ship has feet…) and then died. Several times.
24400 – Now I’ve worked out that in order to progress you have to clear the bases, I can forge forward with a sense of purpose. Begone you Nenon blighters!
28300 – Ah. The first level is made up of a total of three “screens” destroy all the bases on each of them and you can enter to the warp to face the end of level boss. Which is a tree trunk. With eyes. Obviously. There’s no free moving from screen to screen here. Just dodging logs whilst shooting at the tree trunk. I die…
54600 – I’ve developed a strategy. Whether it’s a good one only time will tell however. Before taking on the final boss, make a trip to shop, get yourself tooled up and unleash merry hell on old wood ‘ead. Mission accomplished and I progress to the next level, Sarcand. The enemies move in different patterns here. I die. Immediately. My last solitary life snuffed out in an attack of immense cuteness.
172700 – Now we’re getting somewhere. I make it onto level 3 I’ve abandoned my aforementioned tooled up strategy already. When you have enough cash head straight for the shop and buy a standard engine ($2000) and Twin Bomb ($1200). The engine upgrade is a must so you don’t feel like you’re flying through treacle. The end of level boss is a totem pole with a moustache that fire hammers out of it’s mouth. So all normal there then… Destroy each segment of the pole and the head eventually falls out of the screen.
223000 – Just as with level 2, the enemies step it up a level. On one of the screens there is a secret shop hidden away at the bottom of the screen. It’s the level with the icebergs and fairly obvious where it should be, Shoot the empty space a few times and it appears. In there is a shield which comes in handy but at 30000 it’s a pricey beggar.
312000 – And I make it to level 4. After destroying a huge block of ice with an eyeball in the centre that shoots the occasional boulder it’s easy enough to get past. Once on level 4, it all gets a bit frantic and if you manage to carry the shield over from level 3 it’s a god send. The end of level boss here is a dragon that strongly resembles Sega’s Space Harrier dragon. I THINK you have to shoot it in the head but I just lose my shit and fire at anything that moves. In the end I think the game thought I was taking too long and just killed me anyway. So Sull’s top tip for level 4 boss. Don’t hang abart!
338900 – Have that Dragon features. I progress to level 5, manage past the first screen and die… Game over!
And with that it’s the two weeks up. All things considered it’s a pretty admirable shooter if somewhat basic. An odd choice to port from home console to the arcade and for a shooter there’s a distinct lack of bullets flying about but it does certainly offer a challenge as you progress. Even if that challenge is after losing a life struggling valiantly on at a snails pace to the nearest shop to buy an engine upgrade. As is typical of shooters of this era, you amass plenty upgrades throughout the levels, some great, some plop but should you perish and lose them in a later level you’re screwed. The ship is far too slow to cope with the things thrown at you. All in all though I’ve had fun playing this but from now on I’m renaming it The Treacle of Opa Opa because it’s initially slow and that. Did I mention treacle?
Download the inp and playable in Wolfmame 0.135