Fantasy Zone II - The Tears of Opa-Opa
In this sequel, Opa-Opa is back at it again, in a story that takes place ten years after the original Fantasy Zone tale. In Fantasy Zone II, the dastardly Blackhearts are threatening his home territory.
Opa-Opa has his work cut out for him. He faces eight different worlds as his journey unfolds, each one more trying than the last. Also, each world ends with Opa-Opa dueling head-to-head against one of the Blackhearts. At the end of the first level, for example, he must pilot his way through a literal logjam as he tries to kill the first Blackheart.
The main task is to make it through the multiple scenes of each world. The Blackhearts have spread a lot of cash around, but to get it you have to destroy (using missile fire and bomb drops) the crew of aliens that hold it. When you do loosen up some currency, it will stay onscreen only for a few moments, so you also have to maneuver quickly and accurately.
This job isn't tough in itself, but a lot is thrown at you at once, so you must keep your eyes darting back and forth constantly. Each of the enemies--or teams of enemies--you come across has a specific pattern of movement you must recognize in order to be successful. Each world brings new enemies and new patterns.
There are also bases--large, goofy-looking faces--that need to be blasted off the screen. When one is shot repeatedly, it disappears with a reward: Either it drops some loot to add to your bankroll or it reveals a warp pad. A warp pad, if you run into them with your ship, will take you to the other corners of the world you're currently in. This is the only way to successfully complete each level, because you can't move on until all the bases are cleared. When that occurs, you must find the red warp pad, which will bring you into the face-to-face confrontation with that area's Blackhead. Defeating the Blackhead lets a lot of cash fly, but you only have a shod time to pick it up before you're shoveled off to the next scene.
It's important to hoard your money in Fantasy Zone II. If you don't acquire a good stash of cash, your ship will have only a minimum of firepower. Cedain spots in each world have a store where you can upgrade your artillery strength and engine type and even receive an extra ship. These enhancements last only for a short period and cost more with each successive purchase. Constant cash additions to the wallet are important.
The scenery in Fantasy Zone II is extremely colorful and the animation nicely done--a testament to the graphics hardware inside the Sega Master System. At times, though, the small ship you are piloting will get lost in the lavish backgrounds, making battle more difficult.
The music and sounds are also high quality, but they soon wear thin. After a short time, you'll reach for the volume control to turn them down; they become distracting. Since they really don't help game play, silencing sound effects won't change the game much and will help you concentrate better.
Fantasy Zone II is a quality challenge to the arcade-game lover. It keeps the pressure on, varies the patterns of the enemies to minimize boredom and is attractive to look at. It has some flaws, but will keep you plugging away for hours.