Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Zaxxon 3D (Master System review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1988
 

Zaxxon 3D is a space shooter that requires the Sega 3D Glasses.

 
You control a ship and your mission is to infiltrate the enemy defenses and destroy their mother ships. Unlike the original Zaxxon (which had an isometric viewpoint) the camera has been repositioned behind for a better angle of what's ahead. There's nine rounds and each is split into three sections. The first sees you battling in space against Death Fighters that fire or attempt to collide with your ship for a one-hit kill; as they approach you must shoot them and collect power-ups that include more powerful weapons and speed increases for your ship. Firing rapidly drains your fuel gauge so the strategy comes from restraining yourself and being selective with your shots; this is a great idea as it tasks you with improving your skill rather than spraying bullets. My main criticism is that it's too difficult to line-up shots due to the lack of scenery and flooring. The 3D effect is also quite poor, especially your ship, which is always blurry. In the second section you battle in a fortress that resembles the Trench Run from Star Wars. Battling against cannon batteries, tanks and missiles it's your job to destroy them while avoiding walls and topping up your fuel metre by shooting fuel tanks. New enemies and obstacles are slowly brought into the mix to keep things interesting and the 3D effect is much better, making the action highly enjoyable. The final section is a one-on-one battle against a Mother Ship that has a weak spot indicated in red. They're fun but only take a few shots to kill and pose little challenge. The collision detection is great throughout and I also like that each section has a unique piece of music.
 
Zaxxon 3D is an entertaining shooter that adds to the original's core mechanics with some interesting ideas. It does have a few issues that can lead to frustration but the difficulty level is fair and the way it slowly adds new gameplay elements encourages you to keep progressing in order to see what the next round has in store.
 
 
 
Random trivia: The next game to be released in the series was Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (1995, Sega 32X).

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