Reviewed by Milen

Malc here: This is a VERY quick quickshot 'review', from Milen. Haven't had any damned time to play anything much recently myself, so until a wee bit of peace and quiet comes along, this one will do nicely! Zanac, Gun-nac and The Guardian Legend were all unknowns to me until recently, and to be honest I'm having more fun with them than much of my latest Playstation acquisitions! Says an awful lot about technology that eh? It's astounding how these early games had to concentrate on sheer simple playability, as the graphics aren't really that hot. Storage space I suppose. Later games by Compile were still indubitably excellent, but often the game's focus would be blurred by weapon overkill or graphic whizzery, like in Super Aleste. Anyway, here's a quick summary of the game by Milen, with a few pics, just to let others know about it in the meantime!

Oh, and for an alternative and more comprehensive review, mind and visit RageGames for Jay McGavren's opinion on Zanac!

  • Eight different secondary weapons, EACH of which with several power levels. This, on a NES!

  • Pretty good graphics.

  • EXTREMELY fast gameplay, including some areas where the television frame rate combines with the scrolling speed to create almost strobe-like effects.

  • Artificial intelligence built into the game, which causes it to change the game's difficulty and enemy space ships dynamically according to the player's actions. (Firing your weapons a lot causes the game to send more and stronger monsters. Destroying the bases that appear along the way in the time given instead of letting them pass by resets the game's difficulty to a base level.)

  • Moderately good music. The "Extra Life" sound is an eight-note fanfare which you have probably heard before. (It's used in The Guardian Legend, another ultra-classic NES shoot'em-up which some see as a sequel to ZANAC, and perhaps in other games too. It's also included, as an homage, as the "Secret Level!" fanfare in Tyrian for PC. Two of the music pieces in the Tyrian sound test are "ZANAC3 and ZANAC5, and are very accurate reproductions of level themes from ZANAC.)

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This is like an archaeological dig! Look how the famous Compile weapon system is being tentatively introduced here, and the manically fast scrolling, even on the archaic Nes!

Doesn't this remind you of level 2 in Super Aleste, where the screen fills with tiny missiles? Well, it's a lot harder here, as the weapons are more restrained, and the things still home in damned fast,

Lots of smallish, but devilishly devious sub-bosses, not too sure about the colour scheme though!

Bit of a bast this purple installation thingie, with those circular blobs homing in with unerring accuracy! Ran out of time (had to tidy up before I got chucked out the house), so the pics stop here for the moment! (No, I wasn't just crap at it! :)


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