Monday, April 20, 2015

Nerdicus Genesis Review #50 : Comix Zone

Title : Comix Zone

Publisher : Sega

Developer : Sega Technical Institute

Genre : Beat 'Em Up

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1995

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $15 - $20

Little fun fact about me (in case you didn't know already); I dabbled in the comic book industry. That's right. This writer right here, was part of the famed Marvel / DC comic boom! Honestly, no. I never did any real work for Marvel and DC and in fact the only work I did was for independent publishers and a few of the semi-big ones (Image / Dark Horse). Now, those jobs were only acquired by connections, and the only things I did were basic coloring gigs (mostly flats with a few pages of details). 

Hell, the comic book industry is incredibly tough to break into, so if you're trying to, good luck. I'm going to stick with my writing career, which unfortunately is just as difficult. I've chosen some good careers, haven't I?

Now, I've been a comic book buff since I could first read. In fact comic books HELPED me LEARN how to read. No joke. Images + Dialogue = securing a reader's attention. So of course, my love for comics would make me a sucker for comic book based video games. COMIX ZONE for Sega Genesis though, isn't based on any comic book I know, but rather pits you, the player, into a comic book world. Just think about getting sucked into a comic book and having to battle you're way out.....

Sort of like the video for TAKE ON ME.....ha...funny.

1995 is a little bit late for a sega release, but you know what, we still have to give it a shot anyway. Hopefully the comic-styled inspiration can set this game apart from some of the other beat 'em ups..or maybe this should get tossed right into the paper shredder.

And Inkers aren't tracers.

COMIX ZONE stars Sketch Turner (wow...what a name), a starving artist from NYC. Now listen, I've been a starving artist all my life, and we don't all look like this. So, you're working on your brand, spanking new comic called COMIX ZONE about aliens invading earth (yay originality). Here's the kicker, which is quite the fun idea. Now, one night lightning strikes a page of Sketch's comics. Why he would be drawing in a place where lightning could randomly enter in through an open window and electrocute him is beyond me. Now, the powers of lightning end up pulling out the villain from the comic, Mortus, into the real world. What Mortus ends up doing, is shoving YOU into the comic where he draws an endless stream of enemies to kill you. Because, you know, that's what happens when you're brought to life out of a comic.

There's actually QUITE a few twists and turns throughout the game, which I won't spoil for you here if you decide to play it, but what makes this even more incredible is that this is a beat 'em up with TWO ENDINGS! WOW! Of course, one is is bad. But you'll figure it out.

As with any platformer, you'd expect to move side to side, but COMIX ZONE gives it a bit of a variation. Instead of just moving from side to side, you are moving through panels of your own comic strip. Talking about breaking the fourth wall! It's a really clever way of changing up the standard, and brings some fresh life into an otherwise saturated game genre.

Punching and kicking your way through the panels is all well and good, but  you'll also have access to 3 available item slots which you can store pick ups you find along the way. Anything from iced tea to restore your health ( I think it's actually an alcoholic beverage ), bombs and knives for killing, or blowing up barriers, his pet rat...

Okay..hold on. I know we're starving artists but we just don't automatically keep pet rats...well, this guy finds treasure on the screen.

Then there's the SUPER FIST which transforms you into SUPER SKETCH. JOY!

Another little trick is that you can rip off the background of the page and turn into a deadly paper airplane (at expense of some of your health) and use it as a super weapon which can both destroy enemies and damage you greatly if you're not careful. I honestly, forgot entirely about it through most of the playthrough, and only used it once.

I was hooked on this gamer, but it's not without it's problems. First of all, it's INSANELY SHORT. I'm talking only a few levels, and you're done. At least that makes it easy to get both endings but still, I would at least like to play for an hour or 2...not a half hour. 

Secondly, it's hard. I'm talking REALLY HARD. This is one of the most difficult beat 'em ups I have ever played. For some reason, the enemies are just way too overpowered and are able to kill you in a few hits, while you have to punch them thirty or forty times just to kill them. Quite unfair. And don't even get me started on the bosses. CHEAP....

Besides that though, you've got a great game all around with smooth controls, superb graphics and a soundtrack that blows other games out of the water (especially for the Sega Genesis which I rip apart all the time).

I guess my love for comics plays a huge role in why I actually really like this game, but i can understand why there is such a cult following for it too. Too bad they released it so late, because if it wasn't for other game systems being out, this could have been a big one in terms of popularity.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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