I’ve mentioned before, but side and vertical shooters are not one my favourite genres. Sure, I play them, but it takes a special one for me to really enjoy it and buy it multiple times. Like Fantasy Zone.
It was only recently (checks… SIX YEARS AGO?!) that I completed this on the 3DS, and now I’ve done it again. It didn’t take anywhere neat as long this time, thankfully, but it was still pretty difficult. Again, Level 3 proved the hardest part (except perhaps the boss rush at the end).
More Fantasy Zone! Only this time, Super Fantasy Zone! Yes, it’s more of the same, but that is no bad thing at all. It is most similar to the arcade version of Fantasy Zone II, sharing a handful of baddies and of course a similar level of graphical fanciness.
Oddly, there are no permanent “gun” power-ups, unlike all the other games, and since the temporary ones run out so quickly they’re mostly useless: You’d benefit most from being able to use them on bosses, but of course they expire well before you make it that far.
One of the permanent “bomb” upgrades effectively makes the entire game a walkover too – the four-shot homing missiles. Constantly firing it invariably wipes out all the stray enemies, leaving you just the bases to destroy. These missiles also work on most of the bosses, allowing you to concentrate on avoiding their attacks while it automatically kills them for you.
So yes, it’s probably the easiest of all the Fantasy Zone games (I didn’t mention, but money is no object in this one either), but it is still a lot of fun. I particularly liked both the nods to Space Harrier in the final boss rush, and lots of bosses from previous games in the background. Easter eggs!
To the untrained eye, it would appear that I’ve already completed this game already, just a week or so ago. But you would be wrong, as this 3D Fantasy Zone II is actually the Master System version, whereas the other one was the (later) arcade version. They are both on the Sega 3D Classics Collection though.
I actually tried to completed this before the other one, but I made a terrible mistake buying a load of smart bombs with all my money going into the final boss fight, and when I died lost all my power-ups and didn’t have any money to buy anything else. Not even Big Wings, which made one of the end bosses (there’s a SuckySuck Bit(TM)) impossible. Rather than start all over again at that point, I went on to the other version of the game, returning to this now.
Although the game is effectively the same, there are some differences. Each level is seemingly larger, with up to 5 areas joined by warps (rather than two versions of each level, swapped between via warps). The bosses are mostly similar with a few variations, and you have an energy bar (which can be refilled and extended with power-ups) rather than a single hit kill.
It’s obviously on less powerful hardware, but some slowdown and less impressive (but still excellent) graphics aside, it’s at least as much fun. It’s odd, that back in the day the Fantasy Zone series never appealed much, whereas now I love them. I feel I’m going to have to dig out the Mega Drive version soon now…
I’d actually started working through the Master System version of Fantasy Zone II, which is also on the Sega 3D Classics Collection, but after pausing the game on one of the final bosses, then saving the game state so I could play it later, I found I was left in an impossible situation and the only way out is to start the game again.
So instead, I started playing the 3D port of the original arcade game! It’s superficially the same, with similar levels, enemies and bosses, but the warping around system is totally different. Whereas in the Master System version the warps exist mainly just to split the level into four or five sections, here the flip between Light and Dark versions of the level. It seems that you can get different endings if you run into the bosses on just Light or just Dark areas of each level, but I pretty much just alternated between the two.
Another difference is that in the Master System Fantasy Zone II, Opa-Opa has an energy bar (which can be extended with power-ups), but in this version one hit and you’re dead. Well, one hit and you might lose your weapon, then with the next hit you’re dead.
I really enjoyed the game. Any blue skies game is always welcoming to play, and having enjoyed the first 3D Fantasy Zone a while back (which surprised me) I was pretty sure I’d like this. Now to tackle the Master System one again, I think!
No, not 3D Fantasy Zone for the 3DS, 3D Fantasy Zone. For the 3DS. This one is one of the ten games on the Sega 3D Classics Compilation, just like the other one is, but this one is a 3D port of the Master System version of Fantasy Zone, whereas the other was the arcade version.
Still with me?
Thankfully, the Master System version was much, much easier and instead of taking eight hours to complete, it took just one. It’s almost the same as the arcade version, only with a couple of boss changes and seemingly a lot more money to collect – which made stocking up on lives and heavy bombs simple to do.
All of the bosses seemed easier as well, especially the final one which took me $hlmun tries before, but just two here. It’s much slower, I think, so easier to avoid and attack.
Now to finish the other nine games! Even though I have half of them already.
You may think that this is a somewhat short game. Eight short levels and it’s over. Right? How long can it possibly take to complete?
Almost EIGHT HOURS. That’s how long.
Oh yes, it was hard. Especially Level 3, for some reason, but even with the difficulty I still managed to reach the final boss at the end of the game in around an hour and a half. In fact, aside from losing a couple of lives, I beat 5/6ths of the final boss in that time too. It just took several hundred more attempts to beat that final part of the final boss.
He starts with six blue… things, all lined up and ready to attack one after another. The first five are easy, and with the Wide Beam are all dead in seconds. The problem is, that the sixth moves too fast to shoot. He’s all over you and you’re dead before you can even use enough smart bombs to take him down. You can’t get many hits in either, because you have to run away from him immediately and you can’t shoot behind yourself.
Eventually, after all those tries, I finally fluked it and dropped an un-aimable Heavy Bomb on him just as he was about to touch me. Phew!
In the process of building up gold to spend on the final battle, I replayed the earlier levels again, and after a while found I could quite easily make it from the start of the game to the very end boss attack without ever dying. And that’s including the Boss Rush. How I hate Boss Rushes. The point being, that even though some levels were bloody difficult, they became complete walkovers. Obviously my skills had increased. Or something.
Coming to 3D Fantasy Zone without being a fan of the original (it looked great, but was too hard and I didn’t like the shop mechanic), I’m amazed that not only did I really enjoy this, but despite the number of times I had to replay bits to tackle the final boss, I never once gave up.
I’ve unlocked all the extras now too, including Upa-Upa Mode. I gave that a go, but I’m not sure I like it. The shop has gone, and now upgraded weapons cost gold either per second, or per bullet. I rattled through all my reserves in mere seconds! Hmm.