Thursday 14 November 2013

Fantasy Zone - Sharp X68000 - 1989

Fantasy Zone is a conversion of the Sega arcade game from 1986.  I played the Master System conversion from the same year but didn’t think it that great.  1989 saw it released on the NEC PC Engine console and Sharp X68000 computer.  From previous experience I knew the Engine would struggle against the mighty X68000 and I wasn't wrong.  Fantasy Zone on the latter looked better, sounded better, was faster and had sharper controls.  It also has parallax scrolling which is lacking on both the PC Engine and Master System versions.

PC Engine version is easily beaten by the X68000 conversion
The plot says that the planet Menon has caused the collapse of the interplanetary monetary system.  Someone is leading their forces to steal all the money from other planets to build a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone.  Playing as Opa-Opa, you must destroy the invading enemies and put an end to their plans.

The game takes place over a horizontally scrolling play area.  The play area wraps around indefinitely and you can fly in both directions.  The primary aim of the game is to take out the enemy bases in each zone.  The relative location of each base is shown on a radar at the bottom of the screen.  Each base has an indicator on the front which changes from blue to red depending on how much energy they have left.  In addition to the usual formations of nasties that fly around, the bases release more opponents to harrass you.  A boss fight ensues once all the bases have been destroyed in each zone.

The bosses, bases and some enemies drop coins when they are killed.  These can be collected and used to buy upgrades in a shop that appears in the form of a red balloon.  Main weapon upgrades are time-limited and you get a limited quantity of upgraded bombs.  Ship upgrades stay until you lose a life.  These upgrades get progressively more expensive each time you buy them.

In spite of it's cute and colourful looks, Fantasy Zone is a very challenging shoot 'em up.  Like all good arcade games it is also addictive, having that 'just one more go' quality.  In all another impressive arcade conversion on the X68000.


  1. Another splendid choice sir! I've played this extensively on the MS and PCE and love both versions. Can't say I've encountered the X68k version before but if other conversions on it are anything to go by I'm sure it's awesome :)

    1. This version is certainly the best of the three. It you like the other two you'll be sure to love this one.