Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Space Fantasy Zone

NEC Avenue/SEGA - 1991 - Japan

Ever imagine what it would be like if you could literally combine Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone? As a vintage SEGA fan, this game is like a dream come true.

Space Fantasy Zone takes the best of both worlds and, quite successfully, meshes these elements to create a thrilling into-the-screen shooter that plays exactly like Space Harrier. Only you are Opa-Opa, and this is the Fantasy Zone. Groove to a delightful redbook medley of the Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone themes as you zoom through familiar locales.

While the basic gameplay is old news for Space Harrier vets, SFZ adds a powerup system reminiscent of Fantasy Zone for added dynamic. Learning to utilize powerups bought in "Weaponald's" armory is absolutely essential to your success. Of the three difficulty modes "Hard" is the only one that poses much of a challenge, but this is one of those titles you can excuse since the ride itself is so enjoyable.

Powerups become an integral part of the game.

Space Fantasy Zone is a lighthearted game and makes for a wonderful, casual pick up and play experience. The game is just filled with fan service, seemingly tailor-made for vintage SEGA junkies such as myself.

You'll see some familiar faces, albeit from a different angle.

This is one of the few Duo titles that never actually got a proper commercial release. Some promotional copies made it into circulation through a magazine or a contest or something, but these are insanely rare (more so than the coveted Darius Alpha). A third party made a run of reproductions of this game in 2007 to sell online via a website. These facsimiles are of great quality, but the party responsible charges a ludicrous premium for a copy. Unfortunately, your only other option to play the game is to go the ISO route unless you're a lunatic who wants to track down an original and pay thousands for it. Chances are, if this is you, you aren't interested in playing it anyway.

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