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Fantasy Zone

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Released: 1989

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: NES/Famicom

Publisher: Tengen Inc.

Developer: SEGA Enterprises Ltd.

Submitted by: Lee Tatlock

Now before I write this review I have to point out that I truly dig Nintendo – I own a NES, a SNES, a DS and a Wii (and thus a Gamecube) so anything naughty aimed at the big N in this review is not built upon any sort of bias, plus at 31 I’m slightly beyond a resurgence of the Sega vs Nintendo arguments of playgrounds from yore. So with that said I will now commence with the review.

So with that opening speech out of the way you’re probably expecting all bad news but luckily you’d be wrong. If the pure core of a great game remains intact you can never kill it no matter how many times you may hit it with the rusty shovel of conversion. However the NES does have a good go at shattering this particular gem with its fluorescent pallet of freshly vomited colours. Still as I’ve already mentioned it remains mostly intact and the game play still shines through. I am fully aware that going on about graphics may seem like a moot point when comparing two 8-bit systems but it was a considerable part of Fantasy Zone’s particular brand of multicoloured, zany, charm. Plus on the SMS it was an incredibly smooth experience where as the NES is a jerky flickering journey at best. Still the old grey block tries it’s hardest and it shows for most part. Flying through the slightly less glamorous worlds trying to blow up all the cartoony little bases is still a massive amount of fun. Collecting coins and going to the shop to power up still works fine and the bosses, for all intents and purposes are intact. However now when you finally blitz the end of level bosses instead of flurries of glorious coins that add to the delicious taste of victory you are presented with a few flickery bags of coins, but they’re the same currency I suppose so it’s all good, sort of.

So in the end it’s still Fantasy Zone, shooting cartoony enemies left and right while trying to blast those bases before you’re overwhelmed in the throng, but after playing the sublime Master System iteration you’ll not be able to help yourself from picking away at this: it’s less attractive, mutated, cousin.

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