Japanese Fantasy Zone arcade flyer
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Famicom/NES, MSX, PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16, SNK Neo Geo, Sega Game Gear, Sega Mark III/Master System, Sega Saturn, X68000|
|Genre(s)||Scrolling shooter, Cute 'em up|
|Arcade system||Sega System 16A|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution|
Fantasy Zone (ファンタジーゾーン Fantajī Zōn) is an 1985 arcade game by Sega, but released internationally on March 28, 1986, and the first game in the Fantasy Zone series. It was later ported to a wide variety of consoles, including the Sega Master System. The player controls a sentient spaceship named Opa-Opa who fights an enemy invasion in the titular group of planets. The game contains a number of features atypical of the traditional scrolling shooter. The main character, Opa-Opa, is sometimes referred to as Sega's first mascot character.
The game design and main character had many similarities to the earlier TwinBee, and together the games are credited with the creation of the "cute 'em up" subgenre. Numerous sequels were made over the years.
In the space year 1422 (6216 in the Master System version), the Fantasy Zone was cast in panic at the collapse of the interplanetary monetary system. The Space Guild brings to light the plans of the planet Menon, whose forces are stealing the other planets' currencies to fund a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone. Opa-Opa is sent to stop the invading army and discover who is behind it. In the end, it turns out that the leader was none other than Opa-Opa's long lost father, a revelation that leaves Opa-Opa with mixed emotions.
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In the game, the player's ship is placed in a level with a number of bases to destroy. When all the bases are gone, the stage boss appears, who must be defeated in order to move on to the next stage. There are eight stages, and in all of them, except the final one, the scroll is not fixed; the player can move either left or right, although the stage loops. The final level consists of a rematch against all of the previous bosses in succession before facing the final boss.
Opa-Opa uses two different attacks: the standard weapon (initially bullets) and bombs. He can also move down to land on the ground by sprouting feet and walking around until he flies again.
It is possible to upgrade Opa-Opa's weapons, bombs and flying engine to increase speed, as well as get extra lives. Before that, the player must get money by defeating enemies, bases or bosses, and access a shop by touching a marked balloon. Each time a new item is bought, they become more expensive. When the player chooses to exit or the time runs up, another screen appears, in which he or she can select what upgrades Opa-Opa can use; only one engine, weapon and bomb can be equipped at a time.
Some of the new weapons have a time limit that starts as soon as the shop is left. Some of the bombs can be used at any moment, are limited in quantity. Engine upgrades are permanent The powerups can also be reassigned by reentering the shop or touch a balloon with the word "Select" written on it. If the player loses a life, all of the upgrades are lost.
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Fantasy Zone was originally an arcade game. It was later ported to the Sega Mark III/Master System. The game eventually saw ports in other consoles and home computers, such as the MSX, Famicom/NES, SNK Neo Geo, Sharp X68000 and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16. While all of these ports play similarly to the original version, some of them have several omissions and changes. For instance, the Master System version lacks some features such as the radar that indicates the location of the bases or a gauge that indicates how much energy they have left, and two of the bosses were replaced by original ones. Other versions have several changes as well.
Two different versions were released for the Famicom/NES. The Japanese version was released in 1987, developed and published by Sunsoft. The American unlicensed version was released in 1989, developed by Pixel and published by Tengen. In 1997, Fantasy Zone was released under the "Sega Ages" label in Japan for the Sega Saturn.
Fantasy Zone was later remade for the PlayStation 2, again under the "Sega Ages" label. Although similar in appearance to the arcade version (even incorporating the original arcade sounds), this version used polygons instead of sprites and added some stages, including bonus levels in which the game takes the view behind Opa-Opa as he tries to collect coins from any boss that was defeated at the moment; this game mode is very similar to Space Harrier, or the unreleased Space Fantasy Zone. Also, even though "2UP" can be seen in the score display, this version only has a single player mode. This version was released in North America along other remade classic Sega titles in the Sega Classics Collection compilation.
Fantasy Zone was released for mobile phones on 2002 in Japan and on August 2003 in the United States. Due to hardware limitations, this version of the game was divided in three different parts. On March 11, 2008, the Master System version saw a re-release in Japan for the Virtual Console. In Europe and Australia, it was released on April 11, 2008, and in North America, on April 14, 2008. In all territories, it was released at a price of 500 Wii Points.
On September 18 of the same year, Sega released another Sega Ages disc devoted to the series, title Fantasy Zone Complete Collection, making the final release in the Ages series. This time, instead of a 3D remake, the disc compiled all of the games in the series, including spin-offs, and all of Sega's own ports. It also included a remake of Fantasy Zone II created for System 16 hardware.
The original arcade release is also included in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in which is an unlockable game. A 3D port of the game was released on March 19, 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS titled 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros. New features of the 3DS port involve stereoscopic 3D visuals, adjustable difficulty settings, an ability to save the game, the ability to switch to the Japanese versions and US versions of the game, a Stage Select feature and a new mode which involves the player playing as Upa-Upa, Opa-Opa's brother. In addition, satisfying certain conditions during the game enables the player to confront the two "replacement" bosses from the Master System release, each entering the boss fight by literally "replacing" the standard boss.
Fantasy Zone is also included as a minigame in Yakuza 0. It can be unlocked after completing one of the game's friendship sidequests. It is identical to the original arcade release, with the only change being the addition of a rapid fire button.
- Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa (1987)
- Opa Opa (released internationally as Fantasy Zone: The Maze) (1987)
- Galactic Protector (1988)
- Space Fantasy Zone (1990, not officially released)
- Fantasy Zone Gear: The Adventures of Opa-Opa Jr. (released internationally simply as Fantasy Zone) (1991)
- Super Fantasy Zone (1992)
- Fantasy Zone (Redemption Game) (1999)
- Medal de Fantasy Zone (メダルdeファンタジーゾーン Medaru de Fantajī Zōn) (2012)
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Fantasy Zone proved to be very successful in Japanese arcades, helping to give rise to the popular System 16 arcade board. Despite this, the game was largely ignored by the gaming media, as were most arcade games at the time.
Appearances in other games
- In Project X Zone and Project X Zone 2, Ulala from Space Channel 5 summons Opa Opa as part of her Solo Unit attack.
- Opa Opa appears as a downloadable ship for Taito's Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Microsoft Windows.
- Opa Opa also appears in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing as a playable racer.
- Opa Opa appears as a "MAG" in the Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe series.
- Opa Opa appears in the Zillion game series for the Master System, as well as in the corresponding Red Photon Zillion anime.
Comics and manga
- A manga based on the videogame Fantasy Zone titled Fantasy Zone Isei Kara no Shinryaku-sha (ファンタジーゾーン―異星からの侵略者 Fantasy Zone -invaders from alien-) was released in October 1987 and is part of the "Futaba bunko ― Famicom Bōken" gamebook series.
|Fantasy Zone Isei Kara no Shinryaku-sha (Futaba Bunko ― Famicom Bōken Gamebook Series)|
- Zillion (1987): Opa Opa was a minor recurring character on the show, and later member of the White Nuts.
- Muppet Babies (1990): In the episode "It's Only Pretendo", Baby Gonzo, Baby Animal, and Baby Miss Piggy are playing Fantasy Zone.
- Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls (2014): In Episode 5, Opa-Opa was related to the colored balls of Compile's Puyo Puyo series.
- High Score Girl (2018): Opa-Opa appears along with Vic Viper, Bubby or one of the video game characters tels a Haruo Yaguchi.
- Luke Plunkett. "Remembering Sega's Exiled Mascot".
- "Hardcore Gaming 101: Fantasy Zone".
- "Fantasy Zone and Mega Turrican Now Available on Wii Shop Channel!". Nintendo of America. April 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Brown, Peter (January 19, 2017). "Yakuza 0 Review". Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- Fantasy Zone (Redemption Game) at Arcade-History
- Medal de Fantasy Zone (Redemption Game) at Andriasang
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (August 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (136): 76–81.
- Fantasy Zone Series at MobyGames
- Fantasy Zone at Hardcore Gaming 101
- The Fantasy Zone Sky A website on the Fantasy Zone series
- The arcade version of Fantasy Zone can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive
- The Game Gear version of Fantasy Zone can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive