Tag Archives: arcade

Second chances: Fantasy Zone

I know a lot of people who absolutely love Fantasy Zone. Until recently, though, I didn’t share their adoration of this arcade classic.

Oh, I wanted to. After all, it was made by the folks at Sega (always a positive in my book–well, as long as we’re talking pre-2002 Sega) and it’s chock-full of color. Also, I’ve always been fond of the game’s oddly named protagonist, a sentient spaceship who answers to Opa-Opa.

So, what’s kept me from lusting after this pastel-splashed shmup? Its controls were the biggest hurdle–in particular, Opa-Opa’s odd sense of gravity and momentum that takes some getting used to if you were brought up, as I was, on more traditional side-scrolling shoot ’em ups, like DariusGradius or R-Type.

Another control-centric issue that has long impeded my ability to accept Fantasy Zone into my heart: Dealing with the aforementioned issues while taking out the game’s thieving enemy forces is the definition of challenging.

A few weeks ago, after reading through The Brothers Duomazov’s review of the PC Engine version for what must have been the hundredth time, I decided to erase my previous opinions of the game from my memory and give it a second (maybe third) chance.

Although I’d be lying if I said this latest experience with Fantasy Zone was smooth sailing, er, flying, from the get-go, I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the title a lot more than I had in the past. Sure, I died a lot–I’m pretty sure I saw the “game over” screen too many times to count before I made it to the second stage–but I didn’t much care thanks to my newly minted appreciation of the game’s uniqueness (not to mention its odd, and other-worldly, assortment of environments and enemies).

Can it now be said that I, too, adore Fantasy Zone? Yes, I think it can. As for whether it also can be said that I’m any good at it, though, is another conversation entirely.

See also: Previous ‘second chances’ posts

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An artful look at Bonk’s arcade cousin, Kaneko’s BC Kid

Like any good Bonk–or, PC Genjin, as he’s called in Japan–fan, I consider the character’s PC Engine outings to be (basically) the only ones worth my attention. As a result, I’ve ignored pretty much all of the spin-offs that have been released for the GameBoy, the Famicom and the Super Famicom–I’m just going to ignore the later atrocities–over the years.

I haven’t ignored all of the Bonk spin-offs, though; the arcade-only BC Kid, for instance, has always intrigued me despite the fact that it was developed by Kaneko rather than Red and Atlus.

Artist and blogger Curtis Bathurst seems to share my interest in BC Kid, at least as far as the game’s aesthetics are concerned. In this recent post, Bathurst critiques the game’s promotional art (right) as well as its in-game graphics.

Although he isn’t a big fan of either, he ends his post on a positive note saying, “I find it wildly exciting that there was ever a coin-op Bonk’s Adventure and I love rummaging through the ‘net in search of bits and scraps about the game.”

If you’re at all interested in graphic design–especially as it relates to the gaming world–I highly recommend heading over to Bathurst’s site and reading his post about this quirky quarter-muncher.

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