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Review: Comix Zone (Mega Drive)By Ofisil At 16.05.2020 19:11

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The protagonist of this tale is an athletic blond male with a ponytail, rounded sunglasses, biker gloves, and skateboard-style shorts and sneakers; his name is Sketch *snicker* and he is a comic book artist; the name of the game is Comix Zone and not Comics Zone; and, finally, the music is typical Mega Drive-powered hard rock. Can this get any more 'RADICAL?' Yes, it's lame. It's lame even for the time this was released - but it doesn't matter, because this embraces its lame, campy nature. After all, the story has Sketch *second snicker* entering his comic... sorry, Comix, and fighting the enemies he has personally designed. How? With his Kung Fu moves, of course, how else?

The animation of Sketch is well done, and the world is quite colourful, with some, sadly, rare uses of special effects, like water reflections, or snowfall. That's about it, though. The world, colourful or not, is completely forgettable, and the same can be said for the bestiary that you will fight against, with an Iron Man reject probably being the best amongst all the amphibious men, transgender Cammies from Street Fighter, and flying bat-skulls. The music follows suit, as no tune stands out, and, typical of Mega Drive hard rock, the repetitive "shredding" can get on your nerves after a while.

It all looks great, though. You are, indeed, inside the page of a comic book. Each "room" is a panel, separated by the white space between them. When moving from panel to panel, sketch jumps, pretty convincingly, by grapping these borders, and he can even throw an enemy towards the "wall" and rip it open. Moreover, enemies tend to "talk" via speech bubbles that appear over their heads. Yes, this manages to really feel as if the action takes place inside of a comic. That being said, in all honesty it's a pretty boring issue to read through...

Unique setting put aside, this is actually a generic brawler that gets extremely repetitive in a matter of a few minutes. While Sketch can do all kinds of moves, like sweeps, jump kicks, uppercuts, and so on, in the end you'll spend most of your time punching the next simpleton that'll appear in front of you until it dies - and they are indeed simpletons. While they occasionally block Sketch's punches, they mostly stand there waiting for you beating them to a pulp. In fact, the only challenge here is not falling asleep from how long it takes for a single foe to go down.

As this this is a short trek, it won't take long to reach the end, thus it's easy to accept boredom. What about aggravation, though? The biggest enemy is actually the bad level and game design. Picture this: you are hanging from a rope and have to move towards right while enemies attack from both sides. While it is easy to get hit, your hands won't stop holding on the rope, so you'll be safe… and then, for no apparent reason, you'll fall down to your death. This has nothing to do with your acrobatic skills. It's all about - bad - luck, and there are many similar spots like this here.

Is fighting all there is to do? Well… yes. There's a minor element of exploration at hand, but don't expect that to add more play hours, as it is way too simplistic. Basically, you can occasionally choose the path you want to follow, in order to, hopefully, find a power-up (like a bomb or healing potion), and you can even use your trusty rat to find a "secret" opening. Sadly, and similar to how Sketch controls, this useless rodent works when it feels like it, annoying you each time you decide to get him out of your pocket. "Luckily," it also tends to fall off of cliffs…

In conclusion: the action is repetitive and uninspiring; despite a minor aspect of "exploration," there's no reason to replay this twice; and, finally, the excitement of playing inside a comic book dissipates after five or so minutes. Due to its many issues however, Comix Zone, isn't just mediocre or subpar, but straight up bad. It simply isn't a well-crafted product. Under the deceptively pretty hood, lies an engine that's missing a few screws and bolts too many. In all honesty, better stick to your plain comic books, and don't give this a single look.

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Final Score
No, [i]Comix Zone[/i] isn't one of those unknown gems of the 16-bit era. [i]Comix Zone[/i] is one of Mega Drive's least enjoyable games. It's repetitive, even by the already low standards of the side-scrolling beat 'em ups, it has zero replay value, and, most importantly, it's badly made, leading to tons of cheap deaths, in what is actually one of the easiest action titles in existence. Pick a random issue from any 'Used Comics' bin you can find - you'll enjoy it more.



User Comments
#1 mikem52 - on 17.05.2020 at 13:30

I have fond memories of this game but I remember there being a level where the comic page is on fire, like an auto-scroller and I could never figure out how to get past it! Oh and the life gauge just depleting despite not actually taking any damage!

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