is, like Metroid
, a side-scrolling, free-roaming adventure game set in a sci-fi environment. Unlike Metroid,
it was a licensed property, made to tie in with an anime series co-produced by Sega. As a licensed game (and as a Sega Master System game, but that's mean) it's naturally not as good as Metroid
, but it's still a great platform game.
Also as a result of its 80's-anime provenance, Zillion
has a bright, squeaky-clean, metallic aesthetic that contrasts sharply with the organic, alien Metroid
environments. This appearance is only augmented by the Master System palette, which is hard to describe-- you just know a Master System game when you see one. It's something in the weird teal blue. The anime character portraits, brightly colored hair, upbeat music, and humanoid enemies give a much bouncier tone than Metroid's
bleak isolation. Where Samus is exploring a desolate planet of ruins and mysterious wildlife, your character in Zillion
is infiltrating a populated, manmade installation. And unlike Metroid
, you aren't alone.Zillion
casts you as a kid named J.J. who goes into an underground base to rescue his friends Apple and Champ, who were captured, perhaps, for the crime of having names that sound like they should belong to cereal mascots. You have a gun that looks
exactly like the Master System Light Phaser
, though used more for shooting robots and soldiers and less for Safari Hunt
ing. We personally love the look of the SMS gun, by the way, and thank the Zillion
designers for that little connection. Once you've rescued Apple and Champ, they become playable characters, adhering to the slow-and-powerful/fast-and-weak alternate character dynamic. Samus, of course, never had any help.
Opening doors in Zillion
is never as simple as shooting at them and waiting for the bwoooop:
you must find numerical combinations, and either memorize or write them down. Between Zillion
, Phantasy Star
, and Miracle Warriors,
having to write down information in order to navigate was a pretty common Master System experience.
[Images via Hardcore Gaming 101
, SMS Power