VIDEO GAME DIGESTFantasy Zone
2149 Paragon Drive
San Jose, CA 95131
Sega Master System Mega Cartridge
by Arnie Katz
When capitalistic creatures from Men-on Planet start stealing the currency of other worlds to build a gigantic fortress, it's up to Opa-Opa to safeguard the civilized universe in Fantasy Zone. This scrolling shoot-out sends the player on a mission to destroy enemies on eight varied worlds.
The game gives the player three Opa-Opas with which to accomplish the task. The direction disk steers Opa-Opa around the beautifully designed playfields, and each button fires a different weapon. Destroying creatures earns points, but the only way to move from one round to the next is to destroy all the bases on each planet. The gamer then battles a huge creature and, if successful, flies to the next planet—and new peril.
When Opa-Opa shoots a target, coins drop toward the ground. There are three sizes, with the largest worth the most. If the hero catches a coin before it lands, the amount is added to an account. If Opa-Opa touches a special symbol which periodically appears on the screen, it opens access to the Parts Shop.
This is clearly the most innovative aspect of Fantasy Zone. In the Parts Shop, money from accumulated coins can buy improved weapons and devices which increase movement speed. Opa-Opa needs these special aids to survive some of the intense attacks. Much of the strategy in the later rounds comes from deciding which parts will help the hero most on each planet.
The invaders are quite colorful and attractive, though they could have been a little less abstract and geometrical in appearance. On the plus side, it's easy to tell them apart at a glance, and each has a distinctive method of attack.
Despite the emphasis on strategy, Fantasy Zone remains essentially a tough test of hand-eye coordination. The enemies appear often and in great numbers. The action is not blindingly fast, but there are so many dangers that gamers will welcome the short rest periods between rounds.
Fantasy Zone is an exciting blend of strategy and blazing combat. Cap its hot action with lush animated art and lilting theme music, and the result is a treat for video gamers.