|Platform Reviewed||Sega Genesis|
|Genre||Arcade Action Platform Game|
|Number of Players||1|
|Length||Short to Moderate|
|Difficulty||Moderate to Hard|
|Skills Required||Hand Eye Coordination, Some Simple Puzzle Solving|
|Interface Devices||Sega Joypad|
|Game Design and Playability||Unique Take On Genre, Somewhat Repetitive Fighting|
|Type Of Fun||Beat-Em-Up|
|Replay Value||Low To Moderate (varied paths through game)|
|Overall Value||Moderate To High|
|The Best||Excellent Art, Unique Design, Best Comic-To-Game Concept Ever Developed|
|The Worst||Somewhat Repetitive, Too Short, Sometimes Too Difficult|
|How much would I be willing to pay for this||35 bucks|
Comix Zone creatively reworks the standard side-view fighting game into a brilliant panel-by-panel video game comic book. Essentially a kill-em-and-leave, punch-and-move-on game in the mold of Double Dragon, Final Fight, The Peacekeepers and countless others, Comix Zone uses some interesting design elements and effects to great benefit.
Artist Sketch Turner is sucked into his own comic book world and must fight to escape to the real world.
Imagine a comic book, say some typical superhero rag, which represents story in discrete panels with the usual word balloons and text-based sound effects (WHAM! BIF! SOCKO!). Now visualize that the hero of the comic is under your joypad control, and must fight the naughty evil person; once this is accomplished, the hero can leap out of the page and back down into the next panel, perhaps even shortcut to the panels below. Add in the ability to rip loose chunks of the page itself to make deadly paper airplanes, or the power to punch a naughty person through the ink boundaries of the panel, and a clear grasp of what awaits in Comix Zone is achieved.
Essentially a side view beat-em-up, Comix Zone revitalizes a traditional game genre with this innovative and well executed concept. The only game previously to attempt the panel by panel comic book approach was the ancient 'Dan Dare' (based on the British comic hero) published in the U.S. by Electronic Arts for the Commodore-64. There is far to much similarity here to be a coincidence, but there is no shame in evolving and reviving a brilliant idea. Only a real old-timer game otaku (like your author) in the industry would even know this heritage.
Although the game could be longer, and possess a save feature (a complaint I offer toward all games that fail in this respect), Comix Zone is well worth the time of any aficionado of comic book super-heroics. It is brilliantly illustrated, has effective music, and occasionally requires some enjoyable problem solving. Varied routes through the panels keep the player trying new paths.
Overall, I was impressed, and found the game enjoyable indeed. But I could not help longing for even more, such as a save feature and a longer journey. There is so much really well done about this program that it is easy to daydream about what could have been created beyond it's scope.
Recommended for those who would like to see how a comic book superhero game SHOULD be done. Within it's limits, Comix Zone is a brilliant work.
Jennifer Diane Reitz is a Game Designer and Computer Artist, and one of the founders of Happy Puppy. She is the creator of numerous games and software products, including Boppin' , Shark Chums, Elsewhere, and many others. She has worked for such companies as Activision, Sculptured Software, Epyx, SRI, and Electronic Arts, and founded Accursed Toys. She has been active in the computer gaming industry since it's earliest days. She considers games to be works of artistic merit and achievement, and views computer entertainment as the most important media of our era.