Friday, 23 September 2011

Mega Drive Capers: Comix Zone (Sega Technical Institute, 1995)

Sketch Turner is a starving artist, and freelance rock musician. Working on a comic book called Comix Zone in his New York apartment, a bolt of lightning from a storm outside hits the paper, making his evil creation, Mortus, come to life, bursting out of the comic, and throwing Sketch into the comic itself! Now, Sketch has to work with Alissa Cyan, General of the New World Empire who believes Sketch to be a prophesied super hero (the chosen one), to overthrow Mortus and his alien army from inside the comic, and restore peace to the post apocalyptic world.

Comix Zone is like nothing else thats come before. Set inside a comic book, Sketch can punch, kick, jump and make use of the comic itself to get rid of his enemies. To do this, you hold down the punch button, and Sketch rips away part of the comic, and uses it like a paper airplane, ridding himself of any bad guys who get in it's way. But, it can also hurt Sketch. You can also string together a combo of punches and kicks to great effect, or use power ups, like dynamite and a Power Blast (which transforms Sketch into his alter-ego), sending a devastating rip across the page, killing all the enemies in the panel. Another cool feature is if the panels are weak, you can punch an enemy through them, ripping the side of the panels. Also helping Sketch in his quest is his pet rat, Roadkill, who has also been zapped into the comic, and can help Sketch by sniffing out hidden power ups, and zapping enemies with his Tail Shock.

To start with, the graphics are outstanding. Sketch himself looks cool, with his round shades, and rolled up sleeves. The worlds themselves look like they could be right out of a comic book, and are coloured and drawn to that effect. The bad guys are awesomely designed, especially Styx, who is a right bastard himself, having a massive staff, that he uses to block all the time (until you find the right spot). The music is all rocky (the kind I like :D), and doesn't feel out of place. The controls are responsive, and never require a boat load of presses for a response. I will say that maybe it is a tad too short, and some places are unfairly hard, but the overall product is a fitting near swan song for the trusty Mega Drive, as there will never be a game with this much originality.

A different kind of beat-em-up with some interesting elements that everyone should at least have a bash at. If you can't source a copy on the old Mega Drive, pick up Sega Mega Drive Classics on the 360 or PS3, as it is faithfully emulated, and comes with loads of other Sega classics (like Streets of Rage II) to boot.

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