Fantasy Zone

Published by: Tengen
Developed by: Sunsoft
Genre: Shoot em up
Released: 1989

Fantasy Zone (NES)

Fantasy Zone is the NES port of the arcade shooter by Sega. This game is an unlicensed port developed and published by Tengen. 

The player controls a sentient spaceship named Opa-Opa, who fights invader enemies across several planets. The game’s bright color scheme and silly enemies makes Fantasy Zone among the first games to earn the title “cute 'em up”- a play on the title of the shoot 'em up genre.

In the space year 6216, the Fantasy Zone was cast in panic at the collapse of the interplanetary monetary system. The Space Guild brings to light the plans of the planet Menon, whose forces are stealing the other planets' currencies to fund a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone. Opa-Opa is sent to stop the invading army and discover who is behind it.

The game allows the player to fly left or right through the stages. The player can change directions at any time, and the stage loops around from one side to the other. The goal is to destroy all enemy bases within a stage, opening a door to the boss battle. Radar showing the location of bases and their health indicators that were present in other versions were removed from the Master System port.

The game includes 8 stages. The final stage is a battle against all the previous bosses, before facing the final boss of the game.

Opa-Opa has two different attacks: a main cannon and bombs. By collecting money dropped by defeated enemies, the player can stop at shops in the levels and purchase upgrades. The player can upgrade to several types of guns, bombs, or engines in order to increase Opa-Opa's firepower and speed.  The weapon upgrades are temporary (based on time for guns, and on ammo for bombs), and the cost for each upgrade increases with each purchase, making it more expensive for the player to continually purchase the same upgrades.

Fantasy Zone was remade for the PS2 under the Sega Ages label. The game was released in North America as part of the Sega Classics Collection for PS2.

This game is followed up by two sequels that are available on the Sega Master System: Fantasy Zone 2 and Fantasy Zone: The Maze. The Space Harrier series also takes place in the Fantasy Zone, making it a spin-off of this series.

RGG Says: A great port of Sega's classic cute'em up. Worth checking out.

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