Zanac EX MSX 2
1986 the first realesed ZANAC was the MSX 1 one, a ROM cartridge,
then came a FAMICOM version (disk system) and finally in 1986
/ 87 the MSX 2 version also in ROM cartridge, ZANAC EX. All these
versions were distributed by PONY. These last days, COMPILE released
a ZANAC for palmOS, to know a little more go and check
think it's important to explain my concern for this game, and
why the annoucement of a new episode cheers me up so much.
Since the first opus of ZANAC on MSX 1, we got a technically good
game with a vast number of sprites and a good vertical scrolling
with changing stages trough levels of the game. This was not common
for a MSX 1 game, most of scrolling games were using poor scenery
as deep balck space, it was easier. Moreover this difficult game
provide many emotions, with for example, the limited time system
for fight against boss, time out could mean failure in entering
the next stage, and with the time running, more and more enemies
were attacking as penalty.
on MSX 1
EX on MSX 2
But more than sensation, the programming of this game (and of
those which followed as the ALESTE series) has granted COMPILE
a master-rank in shooting game domain for ever, it's my deep belief.
Indeed, the games are so well conceived that every play seems
to be different, with a difficulty level which vary according
to player level ; impossible will you say ! But really it is,
when you see in the first stage enemy ship which don't appears
before the second stage, you understand that the perfect play
you were leading has annoyed the computer. In fact, enemies are
generally coming randomly, but some factors change their way of
acting as the position your ship have in screen, the place where
you last died, the enemy and boss shoot speed will also vary,
especially if you succeed in getting in front of the boss with
all your lives and a max weaponry, time and boss life are also
factors of variation etc...
these parameters added, the games become difficult indeed, but
so varied, so spontaneous and unpredictable, something rare in
this domain where so many games propose the same wave of assault,
at the same place and the same time, because their programming
were basic, memory was more important than skill (think of so
many shooting you played, I won't quote names but...).
That's why, after so many years, I still play COMPILE shooting
series and feel as pleasure as the first time. I could say the
attack technics of ZANAC were among the more vicious, but even
if it's a difficult game, the difficulty level is always surmountable,
in the contrary of some arcade shooting game which propose waves
of shots impossible to avoid (if you don't have a bomb) in order
to kill the player, with no escape possible but to insert more
coins, strange coincidence. ZANAC is a consumer game, so there
is no search for profits in killing the player (he has already
bought the game, no coins to steal here), fight is tough but decent.
The game feeling of arcade shooting game always bothered me, I
don't find as pleasure as in COMPILE games, in these games there's
always a little space to escape (sometimes it's a real tiny space
but it remains), but everyone is free to think different.
spoiler for those who want to waste the suspense, and all
crown it all, ZANAC EX and ZANAC on NES (FAMICOM) have hidden
warp system in severals stages, and other hidden bonus, you can
stroll for hours in the stages warping from one to another, a
rumor also says there is an hidden stage with no end (warp plan
of ZANAC soon ? only if I get 100 requests). No warp plan by now
but a music section :
the production, it's better on NES / FAMICOM than on MSX 1, but
the best and most beautiful version is ZANAC EX on MSX 2, in my
opinion. Every shooting fan might absolutley finish this game
(but as many other game in this history rubric).
now, only NES or FAMICOM screenshots are available on galleries.
test : when you are dead, type on keyboard "C", "D",
"S" and "T" at the same time to access sound
test, this one works with directionnal keys.