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Ported from the arcade, Sega’s “Fantasy Zone” was a colorful shooter starring Opa-Opa who some consider being Sega’s first mascot. In 1986, Fantasy Zone came to the Sega Master System which is the version I’ll be reviewing today. Opa-Opa, I am your father! I demand you to read this Fantasy Zone review!
Fantasy Zone Plot:
Fantasy Zone stars Opa-Opa, I’m not sure if Opa-Opa is the ship or the pilot inside of the ship but I suppose that doesn’t change the story. In the universe exists a “Fantasy Zone” full of colorful and pleasant landscapes. It looks something out of Candy Land with how the levels and graphics are. The enemy forces are taking over and destroying the land led by an unknown leader. Opa-Opa sets out to restore order in the Fantasy Zone and take down the invading army.
You’ll take control of Opa-Opa as you destroy bases on your way to fighting eight different bosses. The final boss is the mysterious leader of the invading army and it turns out to be Opa-Opa’s father. That plot was probably influenced by Star Wars as it was released just three years after Return of The Jedi. Unless Sega was trying to parody the plot of Star Wars, I think it’s lame that they copied that plotline even if it’s minuscule in a game that few people ever played and even fewer beat. I like my plots to be unique and creative, and because of that my Fantasy Zone review will be dinged a few small points.
Fantasy Zone Gameplay:
In Fantasy Zone you’ll fly Opa-Opa through eight different levels, each one filled with vibrant colors and “cute” enemies. Even though it’s a shooter, it’s vastly different from the typical space shooters set in deep space with alien ships. Fantasy Zone is straight from some programmer’s bad drug trip and during my Fantasy Zone review I felt like I was on one too!
Opa-Opa is very weak in the first level only equipped with the “twin shots” which is your main weapon, firing two side-by-side bullets and a “single bomb” that you can drop above enemies. The more enemies you defeat, the more money you can collect. Killing enemies will result in them dropping small and large coins for you to collect. Each level will have a floating “shop” sign that you can access to purchase upgrades. You will need to continue to upgrade “Opa-Opa” if you have any chance of defeating the bosses. Not only is Opa-Opa weak, but he’s very slow. You’ll have the chance to buy bigger wings, and three different upgraded engines to zoom around the screen. With so much action on the screen, I held off as long as possible before purchasing the actual engines as occasionally I’d die from lack of control.
There are two forms of weapons, one you shoot, and one you drop. You’ll have your chance at buying temporary upgrades like lasers or wide-beams but those only last for about ten seconds before reverting to your twin shot. The key and this is something I just learned during my Fantasy Zone review, is buying all three engines. Once you do that, your main weapon becomes infinite so if you buy a special weapon it will stick making the game a hundred times easier. I went with the seven-shot spray, which as you can guess shoots seven bullets at once in a wide shot.
The levels are split into the typical element terrains. You’ll fly through a fire, desert, water, ice, grass, and a few other trippy levels during your purge of the Fantasy Zone. Instead of just flying to the right of the screen on a scrolling level, you’ll have full control of Opa-Opa with the ability to turn around to scroll both left and right. You’ll need to do that to find the bases in each stage. Each base is themed for the stage and there are six of them. You’ll have to destroy all the bases on the level to face the boss. If you die, you’ll restart at the beginning of the level with the opportunity to go straight to the shop, but honestly, this game is a lot easier if you just do a straight run without dying.
Let’s take a look at the bosses you’ll fight.
Boss #1 – He’s a wooden log that pukes wooden pellets at you. You’ll have to shoot him in the mouth to deal damage.
Boss #2 – This guy is literally a bong, I mean he has to be right? He’s the guy on the cover of the box. He was the most difficult boss for me. You have to shoot his three orbiting balls to kill him and if you don’t do it in time he closes in on Opa-Opa destroying him.
Boss #3 – He looks like a sun made from sand with lasers attached on the side of his face. They’ll shoot in order but if you stay above him and drop bombs he’s pretty easy.
Boss #4 – This is some type of fish, he looks like a piranha if you ask me. He’ll stick his tongue out and shoot some spikes at you.
Boss #5 – This is a snowman army. You’ll face eight little snowmen, then four larger ones, then two big ones, and finally one gigantic snowman.
Boss #6 – “I like turtles”. This boss sticks his head out of his shell while spraying chunks from the top of his shell.
Boss #7 – This guy is just a face and one that looks like it belongs on a totem pole. He’ll separate into a few pieces before reforming again.
Boss #8 – You won’t see the full body of this boss until you defeat him. A blue tongue with a face will zigzag along the screen until you shoot it a few times. Do this over and over and the leader of the invading army will be defeated. The tongue reels back to the right side of the screen and into a large space ship that looks like Opa-Opa. This was brutal and you won’t beat the game without a “freeze state” on an emulator. I know this Fantasy Zone review wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that ability.
The end credits reveal that the final boss was indeed Opa-Opa’s father and he’s distraught over the fact that he had to kill his own father.
Fantasy Zone is colorful cute shoot em’ up worth your time because you’ll be able to beat it within 15 minutes. It’s not worth revisiting though, so make sure you enjoy it while it lasts.
I had the Sega Master System growing up so I have a soft spot for games for it. I never played the original Fantasy Zone, but I did have the sequel. I was able to get to world four or five as a pretty young kid but never further. Fantasy Zone is very similar to the original, so it brought back memories of playing it.
Fantasy Zone Review Score:
Colorful, cute, and quick. You’ll beat it in no time once you discover that buying three engines makes your main weapon infinite. I liked the boss rush at the end, something that was very common in 80s games.
Fantasy Zone scores a 6.3 out of 10.
What would you write in your Fantasy Zone review? What did you think of Fantasy Zone? What was the toughest boss from the game? What was your favorite world? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!
If you want to own Fantasy Zone you can purchase a preowned copy of it for the Sega Master System on eBay for a whopping $62.
2 thoughts on “Fantasy Zone Review”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Fantasy Zone is an 8 level Shroom trip. I didn’t get to enjoy this game until I was already an adult. It’s a great shooter from its time , however I don’t feel the fun factor reflects justifying the market value on this game. At the end of the day it’s a fun game but worth over $50? That’s for the player to decide I guess. Stellar review!