Zillion 2: Tri-Formation
Box Shot
Zillion 2: Tri-Formation
Platform: Sega Master System
Publisher: Sega
Designer: Sega
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1988
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

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 game.

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.