Review by NiGHTS Man Rick

Reviewed: 06/21/01 | Updated: 06/21/01

"Welcome to the Fantasy Zone" and "Get Ready" still hold their meaning today...

This is definately an arcade classic for the ages. Fast-zooming sprites, white-knuckle action, and the sensation that you could be annihilated at any moment is just as captivating now as it was 15 years ago.

Graphics: 9/10

Very, very innovative for their time when you think about it. You see, the scaling sprites that create an excellent feeling of speed throughout this game weren't really scaling at all. Sega was smart enough to fashion the game so that there was a feeling of moving forward at an intense speed without the then impossible scaling technology, mostly thanks to the backgrounds i believe. Anyway, all of the monsters move very well and it clever patterns, not to mention that they're also designed fantastically. Bosses are also very well designed, and the different environments for each level/Planet give the game a real sense of atmosphere. Pretty impressive even now.

Sound: 8/10

Only about 5 or 6 real sound effects, including:
''Welcome to the Fantasy Zone!''
''Get Ready!''
As for the music, Very nice stuff. Despite there only being about 3 real tracks, a main/level theme, a boss theme, and a high score theme. All of which are very techno and space-age, very fitting for atmosphere of the game.

Control: 10/10

Very easy and simple, a joystick and a trigger. Move around your character with the joystick and be trigger happy the whole time if you want to survive. Some cabinets come with a nice little chair to sit in, although I don't know what they were trying to get at with that. After all, your character is floating in mid-air, its not like hes sitting in a space ship or anything. But, why complain? At least its comfy.

Story: 1/10

Pretty much nothing. Just blow up everything you see, no real story. But believe me, you really won't care, this game is all ultra-frantic arcade action.

Gameplay: 8/10

Move around facing behind the character with the joystick, shoot like mad with the trigger, blowing up every single enemy or obstacle that gets in your way. If the obstacle can't be destroyed, you better get out of its way before it nails you and you lose a life. You gain points as you defeat enemies, and you gain more points to just stay alive. It's absolute shooter craziness, very white-knuckle action. This game really sucks you in, especially considering the fact that you need split-second reflexes and one hell of a trigger finger to make it out if this ''Fantasy Zone'' alive. Move through a series of levels dodging, shooting, and beating the very difficult bosses. For shooter fans or casual arcade goers, this game is just plain ol' super fun for everyone. Complaints? For one, you probably won't like it your first time around, as the difficulty ramps up very quickly, not to mention that some people just don't have the attnetion span or reflexes for a game of this type of insanely frantic pace. Lastly, it's also fairly linear, go through levels shooting everything without dying, but hey, thats the loveliness of shooters. Definately arcade classic fun.

Replay: 7/10

Pretty average, overall. Seasoned vets will always be willing to give it another go, but first-timers might be put off by the fact that its old and fairly difficult. But believe me, give it a couple of chances, and you'll always be willing to play it whenever you stop by your local arcade. Not the stuff addictions are made of, really, but if you can get into it, you'll want to play it more than once for sure.


If you own an older arcade, you probably already have one of these, good for you. If you don't, and your arcade has frequent retro goers, you could probably find this one used for fairly cheap, and as far as fun goes its without a doubt worth it. But, if you don't have too many retro gamers visiting your arcade, this may not bve the hit you need.

Overall: 8

Definately an above average arcade shooter. It's frantic pace and edge-of-your-seat action is sure to bring fun to arcade goers of all kinds, despite the fact that younger gamers may be unwilling to give this classic a go.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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