COMIX ZONE / Sega / Genesis

I know the name screams "Cheesy!", which I think is the main reason why I'm just now getting around to playing this game when it's been available for nearly twelve years. I must say I have been surprised to find that it's fun, it's even pretty innovative, and it's got some nice artwork.

The basic story - you're a comic book artist named Sketch Turner, one night for no apparent reason one of your comic creations comes to life and trades places with you. However, though he's now in the real world he's stuck as a sort of A-Ha line drawing character and can't get along with his plans for ruling the universe without a flesh and blood body. Somehow, by killing you, he'll get that, but all he can do is sort of mess with the comic you're now stuck in by drawing in enemies from time to time.

So yeah, you're stuck in a comic book. This is actually a pretty cool idea that I am surprised no other games (that I know of) have cribbed in the past decade. The game is basically a sort of beat-em-up, where you move from panel to panel; each panel is a self-contained scene that usually has one or more enemies to thrash on, but also quite often has some sort of puzzle that needs to be solved to proceed. The whole premise is absolutely and totally nonsensical, but the game is well aware of it and that's why it's pulled off effectively. Sketch actually has a pretty decent range of moves at his disposal which are well animated, the fighting is solid, and you can pick up and carry up to three items such as bombs and healing drinks that can be put to use later in the level. Sketch vaults and drops over the borders of panels, and sometimes you can kick an enemy right through them in a fairly satisfying graphic effect. Special attacks include ripping a chunk of paper out of the background to throw as a paper airplane at foes, and sometimes your rat buddy will sniff out items hidden behind the paper in certain panels.

Aside from having to retread your steps too many times thanks to the fairly high difficulty, the only other notable negative points are the lack of variety in enemies (you keep fighting the same ones over and over again, and they generally employ the same strategems each time) and the music, which sounds like any and every post-Nirvana high school garage band strained through the weak Genesis sound chip. Otherwise, this is a pretty interesting little Sega obscurity.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video