PC Denjin Punkic Cyborg
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
Air Zonk (also called PC Denjin Punkic Cyborg!/PC Denjin／Completion○／Clear× (PC電人／補完○／クリア× PC denjin/ hokan ￮/ kuria ×?)) is a side-scrolling shooter released for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 video game consoles in 1992 and was developed by Red Company and published by Hudson Soft. Air Zonk was an attempt to update the company's image via a modern, punkish character called Zonk, who bears a purposeful resemblance to the Turbo's caveman mascot, Bonk.
The game was developed by Red, better known for their Gate of Thunder series. Air Zonk features King Drool, antagonist of the Bonk series, along with many other enemies from the series. It was followed by a sequel in 1993 called Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly-Paradise for the Turbo Duo, and has been released on the Wii's Virtual Console.
Air Zonk is similar to other scrolling shooters, but has a large number of power-ups and companion characters. Artistically the game is typically lighthearted, featuring humorous bosses such as a sentient garbage heap and an anthropomorphic boat. The gameplay centers around the effective use of shooting and bombing to complete a stage. At the start, the player must pick a companion character to team up with to perform special attacks. Air Zonk takes on the distinct visual style that is sometimes called "cute 'em up". There are three difficulty levels: sweet, spicy, and bitter.
Companion characters help the main character by attacking enemies and by granting Air Zonk special attacks and occasional temporary invulnerability. Friends can be either automatically assigned, through a fixed order, or can be manually chosen before each level. Each friend can only be used once, and wear the Zonk-style shades to signify that they have been used prior. The friend shows up once a power-up showing a large smiley-face with sunglasses is obtained. The large power-up is triggered when approximately five small smiley faces are collected within a period of a few minutes. The friend will initially act as a Gradius-style option which follows the player around shooting a straightforward, relatively weak projectile. If a second large smiley-face icon is collected, Air Zonk and the friend will combine into a hybrid form, granting a new attack and temporary invulnerability. However this will not occur if the friend is injured, indicated by white clouds of smoke coming from the friend's rear. If the friend is damaged, and a new icon is picked up, the friend will be repaired. It takes multiple hits for friends to be eliminated from the screen completely.
Sequels and re-releases
Air Zonk received a sequel in 1993 -- Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly-Paradise (also known as CD Denjin Rockabilly), which was released in the SuperCD format and requires the Super System Card to play on first-generation TurboGrafx-CD consoles. As its name would imply, the game has a CD audio soundtrack consisting of rockabilly music. The game contains all new levels, assistants, and enemies.
Zonk: Mascot for TurboDuo video game console
The protagonist in this game, Zonk, is a cyborg version of Bonk—the mascot for NEC Corporation's TurboGrafx-16 video game console. When TTi released the TurboDuo console (2nd generation successor to TurboGrafx-16), Zonk was adopted as the official mascot. Zonk adorned nearly all of TTi's promotional material, and was even featured on the package art for the TurboDuo console.
Air Zonk was released on the Wii's Virtual Console in May in Japan, July in America, and on July 13 in Europe. It has gained an E rating from the ESRB. It was also released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan on June 19, 2014.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1993.
- The Bonk Compendium (Covering all games and references to Bonk and Air Zonk)
- Detailed information for "Air Zonk" at the PC Engine Software Bible
- Air Zonk featured in 1-up's "Stchick 'em up" article
- Information on Super Air Zonk