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HyperZone (ハイパーゾーン HaipāZōn?) is a shooter video game developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc. for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) video game console. It was one of the first games to be released for the console and is notably one of the few "3D scrolling shooter" types available. Like many of the system's earlier releases, HyperZone used the SNES' mode 7 capability.
HyperZone's gameplay is a cross between a racing and shooter game. The object of the game is to navigate each level while shooting enemies and earning points until finally an encounter with a boss enemy ends each level. After enough points are acquired, the player earns an extend and their ship is upgraded at the beginning of the next stage. The player's ship can receive up to six upgrades.
As a racing game, the resemblance is visual. The mode 7 tracks are similar to the well-known progenitor of mode 7 racing, F-Zero. As a scrolling shooter, it is also similar to Star Fox in that the player's ship is constantly pushed forward through each level. While it is possible to slow down, doing so gradually causes damage to the player's ship.
HyperZone contains eight levels totally. After the initial game is finished, it restarts from the beginning with the player continuing in their final ship and keeping score; the game loops infinitely.
HyperZone has a resemblance to Eliminator, a game released for the Amiga and various 8-Bit computers.[original research?] The game's perspective and its unusual landscapes were inspired by the "Star Gate" sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey (film). The offtrack landscape in the Material Factory (Area 1 in the US/European version, Area 3 in the Japanese version) is a tessellation of flashing tetrominos that resemble those in Tetris; the boss in Area 3 resembles the right part of the SNES controller, and buttons—of the same four colors as the Japanese and PAL region SNES logo—circle around it. Another HAL game, Kirby's Dream Land 3, references this game: The final area in the game is called Hyperzone, and several other areas share names.
Stereoscopic 3D support was partially added, but is not enabled unless the user enters a cheat code on the gamepad. It is supposed it requires LCD shutter glasses, or perhaps future programming to enable anaglyph.
The Japanese version is called Hyper Zone, and its logotypes in and out of the game differ from those in the western version. Levels 1 and 3 underwent a graphics swap between the two versions: the level layout and enemy positioning (aside from each boss encounter) is still the same, but the graphics set and background music are different. It is unknown why this was done because levels 1 and 3 have bosses that do not fit into their respective color schemes in the western versions.
The HyperZone soundtrack, composed by Jun Ishikawa, consists of fourteen tracks.
The authors of Video Game Bible: 1985-2002 praised the game's "impressive graphics and level design" and called it a cross between Space Harrier and F-Zero, but criticized its short length and "shallow" gameplay. Entertainment Weekly gave the game an "A" rating, summarizing, "With lots of practice, you can learn to forestall annihilation, but when you finally blow up (and believe me, you will finally blow up), it's like reliving every grisly driver's-ed film you saw in high school."