Retro Game Review! SMS, Fantasy Zone

Ah, this one brings back some memories.

One of the less well known sideways scrolling shooters, fantasy zone is not only easy enough to finish, but pleasurable enough to make playing the whole game a warm experience, with only the odd moment of rage.

Fantasy Zone025So, what’s the big deal, I hear you ask?

Well. Fact is, Fantasy Zone manages to do what very few shooters of this era ever managed to do – make each successive level and each successive boss more and more interesting.

This is fairly mainstream thinking nowadays, but back then, designers, especially designers of games like this, thought that making the game increasingly difficult was enough.

Read on…but beware, there are a few spoilers, as screenshots from the whole game are included.

The format of the game is unique and yet at the same time fairly standard. You have a level, then a boss, then a level, then a boss, and so on. But the icing on the cake is the shop.

The Shop

This shop, to be precise:

Fantasy Zone009Fantasy Zone002

The shop only appears at certain points in the game – and it bobs up and down like a yoyo maybe 4-5 times before vanishing up into the ceiling again. If you miss it, you’re doomed, frankly.

You use the shop to buy weapons and power ups, obviously, as the game really wouldn’t work if the shop was a mini IKEA with furniture and chopping boards. Humour aside. The best weapons are the laser beam and 7 way shot, along with the wide beam being 3rd choice. The best engine is probably the jet or turbo engine. Unless you have a death wish, the rocket engine is not recommended (except for one boss).

The Aim

Destroy the bases (see pic above, 2 bases on screen with hands on them – the bases look different on each level, but aren’t hard to spot – honestly). Killing things gets you coins, that you can spend on stuff in the shop. Once all bases are destroyed you will instantly be transferred to the boss. That’s when you panic. Once the boss is dead, you have about 10 seconds to gather its coins and move on.

Tips

Early on in each level, the bases will dispense larger coins if destroyed, whereas later, smaller coins. So the aim is to dispose of as many bases in as short a time, to get the most money!

Watch out for bullets. Bullets are bad.

Each enemy has a pre-set path that it will follow. Some will turn and jump to the right, some will zig-zag, others will move in an arc. They will often move in formation and will usually shoot at the same part of their formation. Learn this.

The Cheat.

Rewind doesn’t condone cheating. Except for this game. You wouldn’t have a hope of completing this game without cheating, frankly, so we’re going to help you out here. Do this. You’ll only get angry if you die on level 4 because you haven’t heeded our advice.

Sit through all the demo levels on the title screen. Doesn’t take long. On this screen:

Fantasy Zone027 Where the screen begins to scroll with the somewhat weak storyline, don’t be hypnotised by the music.

Instead, you want to be repeatedly and rapidly pressing up and down on your controller.

Just keep on doing it until the end of the scrolling story.

When you’re back at the main title screen again, start the game.

Don’t enter the shop. Avoid it at all costs. You need to first enter the shop when you have a LOT of money. This is ideally level 3. Yes, folks, this means you have to get all the way to level 3 before getting any weapons and stuff. Deal.

The cheat allows you to buy about 9 extra lives for 1000 erm, gold?, each. You will need those lives. No, really, you will.

The levels

OK here’s the line up of levels in fantasy zone. Don’t worry – the screenshots won’t spoil the game. You can still enjoy the music. Which is awesome, by the way.

Fantasy Zone001

Level 1 - Nice and easy

Level 2 - Still easy

Level 2 - Still easy

Level 3 - Watch out for the bullets

Level 3 - Watch out for the bullets

Level 4 : Just hang around on the bottom!

Level 4 : Just hang around on the bottom!

Level 5: Not so bad but lots of bullets

Level 5: Not so bad but lots of bullets

Level 7 - Not, I might add, the finale

Level 6 - Those yellow bullets are FAST

Level 7 - but not the finale

Level 7 - but not the finale

Once you have fought your way through the levels above, you have the joy of the final “level”, which I will go into after the bosses.

The Bosses

As I mentioned, each of the above levels have a boss at the end. To leave some of the game as a mystery, I will only give you a couple.

Boss 1 - cheeseboard that spits erm, leaves? Shoot at the mouth.

Boss 1 - cheeseboard that spits erm, leaves? Shoot at the mouth.

Boss 3 - I don't even know what this is. Take out the rockets one by one

Boss 3 - I don't even know what this is. Take out the rockets one by one

Boss 6 - Bad turtle. Very bad turtle.

Boss 6 - Bad turtle. Very bad turtle.

By now you should really be getting an idea just how colourful the game really is.

The Finale

At the end of ALL the shennanigans above, you have to do what I call “level 8″. In fact, it’s a rerun of all the bosses in order. The benefit though is that this time, you can enter she shop before you fight, after each time you die. This is where the cheat above really pays off.

Once you’ve killed all the bosses – I will leave you to experiment with the best weapons for each boss – they all have their own achilles heel – then you kill the final final boss. He’s nasty.

There is a way to defeat him. I’m going to be evil though, and keep that to myself. You can always ask. :)

Summary

It’s score time. Overall scores:

Graphics: 10/10. They couldn’t have done better. They really couldn’t.

Gameplay: 9/10. A little easy and it can be annoying having to replay all the levels after you die, but such is the nature of the 80s shooter.

Lastability: 7/10. Once completed – can you really face all that again? :)

Worth Playing? Yes – very. Take a couple of hours out and give it a go.

9 Responses to “Retro Game Review! SMS, Fantasy Zone”

  • shursuift says:

    I’m often searching for brand-new blogposts in the net about this matter. Thanx.

  • christian louboutin says:

    Just one question: how to add your blog into my rrs reader, thanks so much.

  • admin says:

    ahahaha mr louboutin sir, nice try. Unfortunately for you, I have stripped your spam out of your post.

    When will you spammers get the hint, eh?

  • Ali says:

    Ahoy! :o D
    Do you happen to have more screen shots of this game that you could send me please?
    This is my all time fav game, and I intend to get some tattoos of the game, so would like to see as many pics as possible to decide who gets the honour of being inked onto my body! :o )
    Long live FZ!
    Thanx!

  • admin says:

    haha tattoos?! I’d just get a big one of Opa Opa :)

  • Fantasia says:

    Well, I’m a girl, so was thinking something a little more fancy and detaily rather then bog and bold. :o )

    Also was thinking it would go on one or both of my feet. (I know OUCH!! :o D)

    Will probably get a scene of opa-opa fighting a boss, so wanted to see all the bosses so I could chose my fav, although I think I like the Aztec looking one.

    Cheers! :o )

  • Fantasia says:

    ‘bog’and bold?! LOL! I meant ‘big’ :o P

  • admin says:

    how about this guy: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3116/3098901764_6af03d7e73.jpg

    I dont know who did the art for FZ but they were smoking something illegal for sure :)

  • Fantasia says:

    GOLD!! That’s the other one I had in mind, so I could have opa opa one one foot, shooting towards the other foot where the boss was. I could have those red bombs over both feet to tie it all together. Brilliant, thanks!!
    Am still going to try and get all the way through the game again just to check out all the bosses though, its been a long time since I did that!

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