The original Zillion was one of the first games I ever got for my SMS.
Despite me barely being out of kindergarten at the time, I still found
it fun (and enjoy it to this day.) Yet I never got to try the sequel,
though I've been forever curious. When the opportunity came to give it
a shot, I couldn't wait; it's the sequel to one of my favorite SMS games!
But what is this? When I start the game, I see "Level 1"? What happened to the adventure elements of the first
title? J.J.'s still here, but the first level is a side-scrolling
view, riding your cycle (the Tri-Formation of the title.) Instead
of infilitrating bases, avoiding lasers and hunting for codes, you're
relegated to hopping over spikes, leaping over pits, and shooting
bad guys of the Norse Empire. It's not even a very cool bike...you can't
run over bad guys, you just take damage. Occasionally you can power up your
Zillion gun with little 'Z' icons. And this is the mildly fun part of
The second level (and a handful of the ones thereafter) is an incredibly
bland "action" game. You walk to the right (or left.) You dodge under
lasers, you shoot bad guys or strange flying things. You occasionally
jump on a platform to avoid falling into a pit. It's so nondescript and
boring, I really have to wonder what the designers were thinking. You
can "rescue" other team members, but you never get to play as them or talk
to them. They just disappear.
Visually the game isn't bad, but has really lost the spark the first
game had. The animation's utterly horrible though...J.J. walks incredibly
stiff. There's the familiar Zillion theme used at the beginning (it's
the title screen/story music from the first one) but most everything else
is to repetetive to qualify as good. Honestly, the controls in the scenes
where you ride the Tri-Formations are rather decent. You can even lean to
one side of the bike to shoot targets on the ground. The walking levels
are a bit worse though: you can't crawl anymore and firing rapidly in
succession is near impossible because J.J. insists on standing in
place for a good second after firing a shot.
I have nothing against straight action games...they're one of my favorite
genres. But when you turn a great action/adventure title into
below-mediocre side-scroller....that's just an unpardonable sin.
Zillion 2: Tri-Formation is just not exciting in the least. With games
like these, you can understand why the Sega Master failed like it did.