Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
FANTASY ZONE THE MAZE
Opa Opa, the cute winged blob and star of the two previous Fantasy Zone games, returns in part three. He is a familiar Sega character, cropping up in many of their games (often in the secret bonus levels and cheat screens). This, the third in his own series, is a Pac-Man style game with a difference.
The maze consists of seven different zones, each containing three game mazes and a bonus maze. Play is very much in the Pac-Man vein, the objective being to collect all the dots - whilst avoiding wandering monsters - and exchange them for dollars. A second player can join in the fun as Upa Upa, another cute winged creature of mystifying gender.
The enemies in Fantasy Zone are omnipresent, emerging in a never-ending stream from a hole in the maze. Contact is fatal but both Upa and Opa can use the collected dollars to buy temporary weapons such as lasers, bombs and even 16-ton weights to frazzle, blow up and flatten out the foes. More powerful weapons are expensive and not made available at the start, even the cheaper multishot guns and lasers occasionally sell out. Useful extras are the Big Wings which gives whoever picks it up a much needed boost of speed, and Top Power which turns Opa or Upa into a minifireball - making them temporarily invincible and hot enough to destroy any enemies that get in their way. Enemies destroyed leave behind coins of up to £5000 in value. Other collectable items include smart bombs and extra lives (displayed as a baby Opa hatching out of an egg.)
TO COIN A MAZE
After completion of the three mazes you move through to a bonus screen. It has much the same layout as the other mazes except all the lights go out after a few seconds leaving you to fly about in the dark - speed is essential if you're to gain bonus points.
The original Fantasy Zone was a thoroughly enjoyable shoot-'em-up with a fun element that overcame any deficiencies the game had. Fantasy Zone The Maze draws its base ideas from Pac-Man (no bad thing as its still a great game), it is highly addictive, although repetitive in the long term and limited in scope. Fantasy Zone The Maze is best as a two-player game, the team element makes it a lot more enjoyable and single-player mode gets difficult on later levels - the monsters move faster than the Opa Opa.
SEGA Price to be announced
Follows usual Fantasy Zone style. Good-to-excellent detailed cartoon graphics use a lot of colour against surreal backdrops. Directional control Is not good using the control pad - a prime example of a game needing the Sega joystick. The tunes are typically Fantasy Zone, offbeat, weird and fun to listen to. A good follow-up to the other games in the series and very addictive