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Fantasy Zone (NES, Tengen)

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Fantasy Zone
Fantasy zone cover.jpg
Come to see glitchy graphics in the zone called fantasy.
Genre(s): Shoot 'em up
Platform(s): Nintendo Entertainment System
Release: 1989
Developer(s): Pixel
Publisher(s): Tengen
Series: Fantasy Zone

Fantasy Zone is a 1986 arcade game developed and published by Sega, and it's the first game in the Fantasy Zone series. It was later ported to a wide variety of consoles, including the NES. This one had two versions, the licensed one from Sunsoft released only in Japan and the unlicensed one from Tengen. Though the Sunsoft version is pretty decent, fun and faithful to the orignal Arcade/Master System game, the Tengen one is infamously known for its many problems.

Why It’s a Bad Fantasy

  1. The graphics are extremely glitchy; most of the sprites will often shudder and suffer from flickering, leading to a lot of cheap deaths.
  2. Because of the large amount of sprites (enemies, Opa-Opa and enemy shots) on screen, the game will suffer a lot of slowdowns. This is more noticeable in boss battles.
    • Because of the massive and frequent slowdowns, sometimes using turbo buttons will not make any effect, as the ship will fire in single mode. This also holds true for controllers and/or emulators with rapid-fire functions, as the controller(s) acts too fast than the game engine itself.
  3. The game will begin right away after pressing Start, giving you very little reaction time.
  4. Some enemies can pop-out outside of the screen borderlines instantly and it can catch you off guard very often.
  5. Unlike the Arcade and Famicom versions of the game, the intro title is not animated.
  6. The color palette is not as good as the Arcade original or even the 1987 Famicom version.
  7. Instead of using "Start" to pause the game, you have to press "Select".
  8. There is no auto-fire function by default and it can get really tiring for your thumb to press B a lot of times.
  9. The store appears rarely and if you die, it will not appear until you get to the next level, lose a single life or reset the game.
  10. The bosses, instead of dropping coins when they die, they drop money bags and if you don't have an engine, it will be very hard to pick them all up.
    • Speaking of the engines, they are almost necessary for further levels and bosses, as the game can become extremely hard or even impossible to beat without them and taking into account that the store appears rarely, this is a really big problem.
  11. Even if you are using an engine, Opa-Opa will move really slow in a boss battle.
  12. The box art is pretty ugly and it doesn't resemble Opa-Opa in-game.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The soundtrack is really good and pleasing to listen to; it can be even better than the Sunsoft version.
  2. Instead of destroying eight or ten enemy generators per level like the other versions, here you only need to destroy six of them.



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