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Super Fantasy Zone Review

Ah, the Fantasy Zone games; a SEGA institution. Always a simple premise, the Fantasy Zone games see you controlling Opa-Opa; a sentient spaceship that must save his planet from a huge amount of nonsensical enemies called Menons, lead by the sinister Dark Menon. What Fantasy Zone had that other shooters didn’t was a wide array of different weaponry and special items that were purchasable from the game’s shop. The game’s bright colours, cute appearance and simple gameplay won the hearts of many so it was inevitable a sequel was due.

While there is only 1 ‘official’ sequel, Super Fantasy Zone is easily the best of the games developed by other developers. Sunsoft took the reigns of this version and they’ve done a surprisingly good job with its source material.

On the story front, the game doesn’t do anything spectacular and gripping. After all, this is a shoot-em-up so the usual drivel about a supposedly evil nemesis trying to take over the protagonist’s planet is inevitable. Yawn. Oh well, we skipped that bit anyway.

Graphically, Super Fantasy Zone makes every other game in the series look inferior with its beautiful shading effects and increased colour palette. Every stage is a vibrant, marvel for the eyes; a great treat for the Fantasy Zone hardcore.

Gameplay isn’t anything different for a Fantasy Zone game, but some interesting little tweaks like new weapons, upgrades and bonuses keep things fresh. Some stages even prove more than a challenge than others with unique spot effects like restricted vision which make judging the enemy’s whereabouts that little more interesting. Coincidentally, certain items only appear in these stages such as the ‘Big Lights’ to increase the viewing area to a less restricted one.

The soundtrack has never been catchier. You’ll instantly have the game’s music lodged in your memory and find yourself whistling along on most occasions. It sets a pleasurable, upbeat tone which only compliments the games fun visual style even further. For the Fantasy Zone elite, you can even activate a perfect rendition of the original game’s score for holding all the buttons down when you start a new game. Thanks Sunsoft!

The only point of concern with Super Fantasy Zone is the game’s lack of depth. What you see is basically what you get so don’t expect any fantastic new suprises like bonus stages or mini-games with new gameplay twists. Super Fantasy Zone plays it safe and gives everything a Fantasy Zone fan could want with a little upgrade.

So overall is Super Fantasy Zone a must buy? If you’re a shmup fan then you can’t go wrong. Super Fantasy Zone does everything it can to keep its fan-base interested and treats them to some beautiful graphics, some great new weaponry and another fine soundtrack. Gamers who aren’t so interested in shmups will still find some great, simple gaming to be had but the overall lack of depth or any departure from an old formula will probably let them down.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 21/5/08

Box Artwork


Instruction Manual


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