Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Written in Japan, Zillion is one of a small group of original Sega console games having no connection with any earlier coin-op machines. It does, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to Epyx' classic platform game, Impossible mission. An up-and-coming Zillion II draws on ideas from Zillion, and there's also the possibility of a Zillion III within the year!
The evil Norsa Empire has threatened to enslave the peaceful Planetary System. The player, taking the role of JJ, a member of the legendary White Knights, has to storm the Norsa labyrinth, rescue his friends Apple, Champ and Amy, and find five floppy disks, containing information necessary for the destruction of the Norsa threat.
JJ is directed through the maze of rooms, and jumps obstacles and shoots enemy guards that bar his way. He carries an ID card to tap into the bases computer system, and also the Zillion Lazer - the fabled weapon of the White Knights.
The stronghold is negotiated via corridors and elevators which connect the base's many rooms. Each room contains a computer terminal and cylinders which hold useful items necessary for completion of the mission: key symbols, ID cards, Bread to increase life points and 'Opa-Opas' which increase JJ's power level.
Once sufficient key symbols are collected, JJ taps into the computer system using his ID card. A computer screen appears, requiring an 'input command', and a moveable icon is directed along the key symbols displayed at the bottom of the screen. Inputting the correct sequence of symbols initiates the computer. If the wrong sequence is entered an error message flashes with a request to try again. JJ only gets three attempts before the computer denies further access, and the current ID card is lost.
Only once the five disks have been found can the main computer system be shut down in order to foil the Norsa's plans.
Mega Cartridge: £19.95
Whether intentional or not, Zillion is very reminiscent of Epyx' Impossible Mission - down to the searching for and collection of key symbols, and their consequent deciphering to allow access to computer terminals. The action is a little repetitive, but the blend of hectic blasting action, platform precision and logical problem solving proves very addictive; many games and plenty of reams of paper will be needed to solve it. Graphically the game is good, but while the main sprites move well, the ever-present Sega glitch is in operation, especially around the legs, which very often disappear altogether. An unusual Sega release - one to look out for.
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