Today we take a look at 3D Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa that releases for the Nintendo 3DS today. If you have been thinking of picking up this version of the game and wanted to know if the game was worth your money, read on. We take a look at the development history of the game, the remake in 2008 and where this 3DS re-release falls in the scheme of things.
A history of developments
Fantasy Zone II has a very interesting development life. Unlike the first game which was created using the Sega System 16 board, Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa decided to use the Master System as a base to make the game and later got ported to the Sega System E board for the arcades. Not only was the graphics in the sequel weaker than the original game, it also did questionable things like getting rid of the radar and split the levels into sections where the user would have to warp.
Thankfully for us Sega and M2 teamed up in 2008, 21 years after the release of the original arcade game and remade Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa to Sega System 16 standards under the name Fantasy Zone II DX: The Tears of Opa-Opa. This version had all new graphics, brought back the radar and added a ton of tweaks. The game got a home release the same year under the Sega Ages brand of re-releases on Playstation 2. Sadly Fantasy Zone Sega Ages releases never made it outside of Japan.
Now we have 3D Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa, which is being developed by the same team that brought us the System 16 remake, M2. So you guessed it right, this version of the game is the superior System 16 remake and it includes everything that the deluxe Playstation 2 version had and much more.
Take me to the Fantasy Zone
If you have never played a Fantasy Zone game, you take control of a sentient being called “Opa-Opa”, a spaceship that is trying to save the Fantasy Zone from invading armies. You will traverse a stage filled with enemies and the goal of finding all the enemy bases on the map and taking them down. This version of the game tries to add some variation compared to the original by having warped gates hiding behind enemy bases. The warp gate will change the level’s look and enemy types. There is a ‘dark side’ of a level, which usually means its harder but enemies drop more coins or a ‘bright side’ which is the opposite. Since the game has you clearing all the bases on the map before moving on to the level boss you’ll have to decide if you want to beat the level on the dark side or bright side. Each side has its own ending. There are three actual endings (dark, bright and beating it using the tear of Opa-Opa weapon) which makes the game replayable and I’ll be honest each ending is worth unlocking. Thankfully the game uses the second 3DS screen to keep track if you’re on the dark or bright side (and which levels were beat on what side).
If you have never played the Master System version, i’ll be the first one to say that the music to me was a let down compared to the first game. Thankfully the game’s soundtrack was reworked and sounds a lot better on this remake. SEGA hired arcade shooter veteran Manabu Namiki to compose the new System 16 soundtrack and the guy didn’t let us down. Right from the start the game takes you in with the title song Cama Ternya and continues with some of my favorite tracks including Heating Wave, Cosmic Dance and Too Late. Its hard for me to pick what soundtrack I enjoyed more between this sequel or the first game, but I do know that this one has quite a bit of tracks and most of them are great. Definitely doesn’t let down in the music department.
The other part of the game is collecting currency from fallen enemies, which in this game works about the same as the first game but they added a few things to make the game less annoying. Like the last game, buying certain items makes the value of said item go up. When you get to a boss you respawn in front of him if you die, but when you die you loose all your upgrades. This was annoying in the first game since there was no way to go back to the shop. In the sequel, instead of letting you fend for yourself, the developers have shown the player mercy by allowing users access to the shop if killed by a boss.
Much like the past 3D Classics re-releases, you are able to save replays and like the past ports you can only have one replay saved at a time, which is always a bit of a let down. Unlike 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros (which we reviewed here), this game actually takes up the full 3DS screen, meaning its widescreen. The first Fantasy Zone was ported in its original aspect ratio and not updated for widescreen. The picture on this release is crisp, sharp and less cramped thanks to the extra screen real estate. Like all 3D Classics this game supports 3D (no, duh!) and let me tell you it works fantastically. Personally I find it too distracting and die, but there is a nice layer of depth. Especially on the New 3DS XL.
Usually this is where you would close up the review and give it a score but just like Billy Mays (Rest his soul) says: “But wait, there’s more!” ….
Link Loop Land
M2 really started going beyond the call of duty and adding extras to their 3D Classics re-releases during the most recent wave 2 releases. If you read our 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros review, you’d know that I couldn’t stop gushing about how much I loved playing as Opa-Opa’s brother, Upa-Upa in his own game mode. Well, M2 took the idea of a new mode and really ran wild with it this time. They added a sort of ‘endless’ survival/score attack mode which doesn’t sound like anything special on paper but when you actually play it I think you’ll be impressed.
Link Loop Land is what its called and its selectable game mode right when you boot the game up, making it seem like its own game and it very well could have been a hit if it was released in the late 1980’s in arcades. The game lets you play as either Upa-Upa or Opa-Opa and just like the first game they each play different due to the weapons they are given. Before we get into the weapons you get to use, we should talk about how the game works.
When you begin the game you start with upgraded weapons and the point of the game is similar to what we are used to with Fantasy Zone games, destroy bad guys and bases. But since you start off with upgraded weapons that don’t have time, your main goal is just not to get hit. There is no shops in this mode. For example lets say you play as Upa-Upa (Opa-Opa must be unlocked), you start with a 3-shot and if you get hit you drop down to a two shooter (like we are used to in the base game). This works very much like Mario and his mushroom, once you get hit once you degrade to small Mario. If you get hit while in your base form you die, if you happen to find a ‘Fever Time’ upgrade you get a 14-shot upgrade for a limited amount of time which gives a 2X multiplier. While your in this ‘Fever Time’ mode it will be easier to gather points, after ‘Fever Time’ surpasses you are given the 3-shot gun once more and allowed to get hit again before dying.
The game resuses all its assets from the base Fantasy Zone II game but reuses them in clever ways, especially the bosses. For example one of the bosses in the story mode is a circular head with two long arms, the objective in story mode is to hit his body while avoiding his hands (that also drop magma). That same boss is used several times on Link Loop Land but instead of attacking his body you attack the hands and each hand has its own weapon. Each time you meet the boss he will have more arms each with its own weapon, allowing the developer to re-use the same asset but making it new and challenging each time you face off.
Once you die it will keep a record of your best scores. Sadly like all 3D Classics released thus far it doesn’t support any online features and that includes online leaderboards. Its a shame, but it doesn’t seems like M2 is going to change their stance anytime soon.
If you have read my other 3D Classics reviews you will see that I can’t rave enough about how great the games look, run and all the great extras they contain. What did you expect me to do with this one? Change my tune? The matter of the truth is that this is a great port of the System 16 remake of Fantasy Zone II: Tears of Opa-Opa and the first time this version was released outside of Japan. Not only did we get the port, but we got an enhanced port with widescreen and array of options.
If that wasn’t all the game also comes with a new mode called ‘Link Loop Land’ which in all honesty could be its own game (it sure is a lot more fun than Fantasy Zone: The Maze). For only $5.99 this title is a steal, if you have a 2DS or 3DS you owe it to yourself to check out this Sega 3D Classic, especially if you like the Shoot-’em-up genre.
- System 16 remake with widescreen
- Link Loop Land mode is amazing
- New soundtrack is better than original
- A challenging game
- No online leaderboards