Japanese Mega Drive box art
Panorama Cotton (パノラマコットン? Panoramakotton) is a 1994 rail shooter video game developed by Success and published by Sunsoft for the Sega Mega Drive exclusively in Japan on August 12, 1994. Panorama Cotton is the third entry in the Cotton series and made a major departure from the original gameplay formula of prior Cotton entries; instead of being a side-scrolling shooter like the others, it was a pseudo-3D shooter in the style of Sega's classic arcade hit Space Harrier. Stylistically, it also stands out for having lost the melancholy undertones that the other games have; instead, it simply strives to be uniquely psychedelic.
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Panorama Cotton is a pseudo-3D scrolling shooter reminiscent of Space Harrier, set in an anime-style fantasy world. Various levels scroll "into the screen", vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You can move Cotton over the screen, shooting at oncoming enemies and avoiding obstacles on her way. Cotton can upgrade her weapon to higher levels as you advance in the game, and can also cast magical spells by collecting special items.
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The most important plot elements in all of the Cotton games are magical candies called Willows. In the previous and first installment of the series, Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, the world had fallen into an endless night after an evil Demoness called Wool stole the 7 Willows that brought light to it. In desperation, the Fairy Queen Velvet dispatched a beautiful fairy named Silk to get the Willows back. Before long, Silk met up with Cotton, a witch who loved to eat Willows, and together, they defeated Wool and brought back the willows. Light returned to the world, and Cotton left on her own.
Panorama Cotton's story begins when Silk's sister Knit comes to tell her that Queen Velvet has started saying things that don't make any sense. Later, the Queen reveals that she believes that the world is falling into chaos, and that she is the only one who can save it. She rides off on an animal called "Pinky" to save the day, and disappears before anyone can stop her. Perplexed, Silk and Knit deduce that a burnt Willow which recently turned up in the castle garden is responsible for the Queen's odd behavior. Apparently, monsters north of the kingdom have been burning any Willow they see. Before doing anything else, Silk immediately decides that she needs to get rid of the burnt Willow in the castle first.
Silk carries the burnt Willow far away, but before she can dispose of it, Cotton appears suddenly and snatches it from her. Not pausing for a moment to hear Silk's story, Cotton begins to eat the burnt Willow. However, she quickly spits it out, angry and disgusted. When Cotton discovers that someone is burning Willows, she vows that she won't let it continue. From there, Silk and Cotton set off on their new adventure.
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