Fantasy Zone (SMS)

Fantasy Zone Box Art

Fantasy Zone

System: SMS

Release Date: September 1986

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up

Next up on our Sega Master System launch titles is Fantasy Zone. This is the first shoot ‘em up we’ve run into in our chronological playthrough. It plays like you would probably expect from an early console shmup. You are Opa-Opa, I guess… a sentient spaceship? You have to fight back an alien invasion of a system of planets. Best I can tell is the aliens have hoarded a bunch of space coins and are using the money to amass a fleet to help them take over. You must destroy them, take the money, and outfit yourself to better destroy them.

Blowing guys up on level 1 before realizing I need to destroy the bases.

Controls could not be more simple. Fly with the control pad, shoot with the 1 button, drop bombs with the 2 button. I was under the impression that bombs were of limited quantity, so I didn’t use them right away and didn’t start to see success until I decided to see how they worked. By default, bombs are not limited. Good to know.

Here’s the shop, I bought a jet engine and a laser beam.

After you collect a certain amount of money, a shop becomes available for you to enter. Here you can buy power ups. There are speed augments from Big Wings to a Rocket Engine. Weapon upgrades you can choose from a wide shot, laser beam, and 7-way shot. And bomb upgrades, first a twin bomb, which allows you to drop two on the screen at once, then some one off bombs that attack in a special manner. These special bombs are limited in use. The weapon upgrades also only last for 15 seconds, severely hindering their usefulness. You also lose all your powerups when you die, so that’s great.

Bombing a base on level 2.

The objective on each level is to destroy all of the enemy bases. It wasn’t until I started trying bombs that I realized I could actually destroy those damn things. Once you destroy them all, you are sent into a boss battle. It took me a moment to realize that I was receiving some feedback when I did damage, but they took awhile to whittle down. When defeated, they explode into a bunch of coins for your collecting pleasure.

Wasting a 7 Way Shot on level 3.

There are eight planets that you fight on. It took me the better part of an hour to figure out how to not be a total loser (watch the Twitch stream on if it’s still available). I made it to planet three before I got tired of playing and gave up saving the Fantasy Zone.

Graphics: 3.0

I really like these graphics, they’re colorful, bright, and detailed enough to look nice.

Sound: 2.0

It seems there is a song that plays during levels and one for the boss battles. Both are fine and the sound effects aren’t terrible, either.

Gameplay: 2.5

The manual did a terrible job at explaining the real objective of each level, so trial and error got me to figure it out.

Difficulty: 2.5

If you took the time and understood how to defeat each boss, I don’t think this would take an incredibly long time to master.

Fun Factor: 3.0

Well, I was about to quit when I figured out bombs were infinite. Then I played for a lot longer. I would have kept playing if I didn’t want to get another game in.

Overall Grade: 2.6

Is that right? Fantasy Zone earns itself a B-. I think that’s fine. It was a good playthrough. There will be a couple more Fantasy Zone games on the Master System, and I believe this was ported to NES, as well.

Fantasy Zone Video Review on YouTube