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For August in Together Retro, we present a shoot em up like no other. By 1986, many games in the genre usually involved a space setting, scrolling in one direction, and the same storyline. But in this year, Sega came to change all of that and in the process started a whole new branch of shmups along with Konami’s Twinbee, the “cute em up”.
Welcome to Fantasy Zone. GET READY!
Fantasy Zone had unique features for its time. Instead of scrolling in one direction, the player known as Opa-Opa can move in either direction, left or right. Opa-Opa can even walk along the ground. This means that the way this game is played is always different. In each stage, a series of enemy bases must be destroyed. There is a radar at the bottom of the screen showing which bases are active in the stage. Once all of them are destroyed, the stage boss appears. Defeated enemies and bases drop coins which Opa-Opa picks up to earn power ups through a shop balloon that appears at certain times during each stage. Power ups include bombs, extra shots, different shot types, engines for faster travel, and wings for easier movement.
The original Fantasy Zone had many home console appearances:
- Sega Master System
- Famicom & NES (each version had graphical differences)
- Game Gear (as Fantasy Zone Gear in Japan, a slightly different take on the original)
- Turbo Grafx 16
- Sega Genesis (as Super Fantasy Zone, a pseudo-sequel)
- Sega Saturn
- Sharp X68000
- Playstation 2 (as two releases in the Sega Ages 2500 line)
- Wii Virtual Console
- 3DS (on Sega 3D Classics Collection)
- Fantasy Zone also appears on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, and you can even play a crude one-stage version on Arnold Palmer’s Tournament Golf (Sega Genesis) with a special code.
Fantasy Zone continues in these sequels:
- Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa (1987) – First appeared on Sega Master System, then ported to Arcade, MSX, Famicom, Playstation 2 (as
- Fantasy Zone II DX), Wii Virtual Console, and 3DS (as Fantasy Zone II DX Double)
- Fantasy Zone: The Maze (1987) – Again appeared first on Sega Master System, then ported to Arcade and Playstation 2. This is a maze game in the style of Pac-Man, and not a shoot em up.
- Galactic Protector (1988) – Sega Mark III and Playstation 2. A spin off featuring the protagonist Opa-Opa.
- Space Fantasy Zone (Unreleased) – PC Engine prototype that combined the 3D view of Space Harrier with Fantasy Zone.
When you’ve played through Opa-Opa’s adventure and would like to share your thoughts, please do so on our forum.