Version tested: Wii
Super Fantasy Zone
- Platform: Megadrive
- Wii Points: 800
- In Real Money: GBP 6 / EUR 8 (approx)
With so many deadly serious shooters on the Virtual Console, it's nice to be able to welcome something a little lighter into the fold. Super Fantasy Zone was the last entry in Sunsoft's shooter series, and represents a neat encapsulation of all that was lovely and sweet about that little spaceship called Opa Opa.
Much like Defender, you have freedom to scroll left and right in a wraparound playfield. Each level has a number of floating mini-bosses, which spit out smaller enemies. The aim of the game is simply to take down all these mini-bosses, to trigger the main boss fight. Coins drop from defeated enemies, worth between 100 and 5000 points, and you'd do well to grab as many as you can. These coins can be used in the shop, which appears in the level as a red balloon, to buy more powerful weapons and other upgrades.
And you really do need them. This is a game where the basic speed and weaponry aren't really up to the job, but with some shrewd spending you can even things out in your favour. From jet engines to whirlwinds, there are loads of gadgets to try out, and the difference they make to the gameplay is vast. Luckily, it's easy to afford a decent upgrade - I recommend the Quartet missiles - after scooping up a few thousand points.
Super Fantasy Zone isn't one of the all-time great shooters, but it is a lot of fun and accessible by players of all skill levels. For anyone intimidated by some of the more hardcore blasters, this is definitely worth a look.
Summer Games 2
- Platform: C64
- Wii Points: 500
- In Real Money: GBP 3.50 / EUR 5 (approx)
Another of the fondly remembered Epyx sports games pops up on the VC and, much like California Games and World Games, the result is a mixed bag of events. Some have aged very well, others are marred by the limits of the technology or by the need to change the control system.
The events on offer are Triple Jump, High Jump, Rowing, Javelin, Fencing, Kayaking, Cycling and Equestrian. As with the previous games, they all favour timing over button mashing, which certainly helps make them more interesting. It's not always for the better, though, since there's no consistent control scheme across the events. In some, pressing the 2 button on the remote moves you forwards, in others the same function is carried out by pressing right, or even up. Cycling is an absolute chore when played with the remote, as you press right and left as an arrow rotates up and down, but play it with a joypad and twizzling the stick makes it an absolute doddle.
Events like javelin are nice and simple, but more complex sports like fencing can be a right fiddle, especially given the limitations of the animation. Equestrian is actually kind of fun, as is rowing. Then there's kayaking, which is just horrible.
So, another old sports game which varies depending on the event. It's aged a lot better than World Games, simply because these events are often better suited to the videogame format than log rolling and caber tossing, but it's still a game where you'll be amused and annoyed in equal measure.