Fantasy Zone is a horizontally-scrolling Shoot 'Em Up made by Sega. You control a ship called Opa-Opa, and have to bomb a set number of targets in each stage. Once these are destroyed, a boss will appear, which will have to be defeated to move on to the next stage.
The screen scrolls automatically whenever Opa-Opa moves to the left or right (except during boss battles). Defeated enemies leave behind coins, which can be used to purchase weapon, missile and speed upgrades from the shop, which appears once per level.
Fantasy Zone was originally released in arcades and the Master System (both versions were developed simultaneously), but later saw ports appearing on the MSX, Family Computer, Nintendo Entertainment System (a different port from the Famicom release), X68000 and the TurboGrafx-16.
The game had a few sequels as well: Fantasy Zone II for the Master System, Fantasy Zone Gear (or just Fantasy Zone) for the Game Gear, and Super Fantasy Zone for the Sega Genesis. Additionally, there are two spinoff titles: Fantasy Zone: The Maze and Galactic Protector for the Master System. In 2008, a remake of Fantasy Zone II, later known as Fantasy Zone II W, was developed by M2 as part of a Compilation Rerelease. The remake is built on the same arcade board as the first game.
Currently, the original game and Fantasy Zone II W are both available for download on the Nintendo 3DS via the Nintendo eShop as 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros. and 3D Fantasy Zone II W respectively, adding 3D visuals as well as new game modes and features. The first game is also available on the Nintendo Switch as part of the "SEGA AGES" series, with many of the same additions as the 3DS version. The original version is also a recurring Game Within a Game in the Yakuza series; the spinoff Lost Judgment even includes its Master System version, as well as the original Fantasy Zone II as DLC.
A newly-made Sega Genesis port of Fantasy Zone, again developed by M2, is included on the Genesis Mini 2 (or the Mega Drive Mini 2, for those outside North America), released in October 2022.
Opa-Opa also showed up as a minor frequent character in Red Photon Zillion, a Sci-Fi Anime that Sega co-produced and made games based on. He's also a playable character in Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.
Tropes used in the series:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Subverted in that items become more expensive each time you buy them.
- Adaptation Expansion: The version of Fantasy Zone featured on the Sega Classics Collection (which was originally part of the Sega Ages 2500 lineup) features four new stages and a handful of new upgrades, although they have to be unlocked first.
- The 3DS and Switch versions add a mode where you play as Opa-Opa's brother Upa-Upa with a different method of using weapons.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The final boss fights in Fantasy Zone II DX and Super Fantasy Zone.
- Ascended Extra: Upa-Upa, the Palette Swap brother of Opa-Opa who originally appeared as the player two character in the spinoff titles Fantasy Zone: The Maze and Galactic Protector, gets his own game modes in 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros., SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone and 3D Fantasy Zone II.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: In Fantasy Zone II DX's best ending, it is revealed that the entire game was this invoked by Opapa to give Opa-Opa a chance to rid himself of the Nenon entities trying to coax his Split Personality of evil into dominance. This also subtly shows if you're on your way to the bad ending; the Final Boss will be Opa-Opa himself, while you're controlling his evil self.
- Bittersweet Ending: See Luke, I Am Your Father.
- Super Fantasy Zone ends with Opa-Opa defeating the Dark Master, but now haunted by the Dark Master's final words: "What you can see, will not be all that prevails in the world."
- Boss Rush: The final stage in all of the games.
- Bullet Hell: Link Loop Land is absolutely loaded with enemies and their projectiles. Said enemies and projectiles also become more plentiful in New Game Plus, especially if you manage to survive to reach more playthroughs.
- Continuing is Painful: When you respawn from death, you lose all of your upgrades, even those you had in reserve. On some bosses, you have pretty much no hope of winning if you lose to them once. Time to start over! Fantasy Zone II DX alleviates some of the pain by sending you to a shop that sells only engines if you die to a boss so you can repurchase that extra speed you lost. You're still stuck with the Twin Shot and Single Bomb weapons and no special weapons though.
- Cute 'em Up: One of the Trope Makers, along with Konami's TwinBee.
- Dual-World Gameplay: Fantasy Zone II DX replaces the "multiple areas" gameplay that the original Fantasy Zone II had with the "Bright Side" and "Dark Side" mechanic. Dark Side stages are more difficult than their "Bright" counterparts, but rewards you with more money. Depending on where you clear the stages you can get different endings.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The only way to reach the Bright Ending is to endure your way through most or all the Dark Side levels and still have enough money saved to be able to buy the highly expensive Drop Tears weapon and land it on the Final Boss, after which Opa-Opa finally rids himself of all the evil Nenon emotions that have been building up since the first game
- Easter Egg:
- In Super Fantasy Zone, holding down the A, B and C buttons when starting a new game will replace the game's music with the soundtrack from the original game.
- The TurboGrafx-16 port of Fantasy Zone is included on the TurboGrafx-16 Mini. Exclusive to that plug-and-play console, holding Select when launching the game will run a newly-developed secret "near arcade" version of the port with remixed sound and shifted color palettes to resemble the arcade version as much as the TurboGrafx-16's technical limits allow.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: In Fantasy Zone II DX, you gain a health bar for the battle against the Final Boss. Collision Damage can still kill you, though.
- Endless Game: 3D Fantasy Zone II adds a game mode called Link Loop Land which is this.
- Every 10,000 Points: Subverted. You do not earn extra lives for score, but you can buy them in the shop (although their price increases each time).
- Fallen Hero: In one of the Multiple Endings in Fantasy Zone II DX, Opa-Opa turns evil and casts the Fantasy Zone into chaos, and thus Space Harrier and his white dragon friend Uriah have to save the day.
- Gimmick Level: Super Fantasy Zone has two of them. First there's Risscave, a Blackout Basement where you'll want to buy the Super Lights to increase your field of vision, and then there's Le Picker, which has an electrified floor that will kill you if you touch it unless you buy the Rubber Boots.
- Guide Dang It!: Buying all the engines in the original game gives you unlimited ammo for any beam weapons you buy. Not that the game ever mentions this.
- Karma Meter: The touch screen in 3D Fantasy Zone II W shows Opa-Opa's status, indicating which ending you'll get. He starts neutral, gets angry if you're on your way to the bad ending, and becomes happy if you're on your way to the good ending.
- A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Is set in a region of space called the Fantasy Zone.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The Final Boss of the first game is none other than Opa-Opa's long lost father. This leads Opa-Opa into questioning if his victory was worth this price he had to pay.
- Parodied in Upa-Upa's ending in Opa-Opa Bros. where he finds that it was in fact his mom who sent the Menon forces against him because he spent a hefty sum of his brother's savings. This leads Upa-Upa into questioning if his victory was worth this literal price he had to pay.
- Mirror Boss: In Fantasy Zone II, the Final Boss is Opa-Opa's evil personality in physical form who attacks using the same weapons Opa-Opa can use.
- In Super Fantasy Zone, the first phase of the final boss is a bigger version of Opa-Opa who attacks with the same weapons, only bigger.
- Multiple Endings: Fantasy Zone II DX has three of them depending on which stage types you clear and whether or not you use the Drop Tears weapon on the Final Boss. The better the ending, the more bonus points you get:
- Bad ending: Go through more Bright stages than Dark stages. Opa-Opa's dark side takes over and makes him evil. He spreads chaos throughout the Fantasy Zone, destroying many of his former allies, leading to Space Harrier to try and stop him, though it's implied it's already too late. Doubles as a Non Standard Game Over.
- Good ending: Go through more Dark stages than Bright stages. Opa-Opa never finds out about the truth, but peace is nonetheless restored to the Fantasy Zone.
- Golden Ending: Same as above, but use the Drop Tear on the Final Boss. Peace is restored and Opa-Opa finds out about the truth; shedding Tears of Joy, he vows to never let war occur again.
- New Game Plus: After you get the ending, the game starts again so you can go for a higher score. However, shop prices won't reset, and you restart with only one life.
- Nintendo Hard: Despite the cute look, the games are extremely unforgiving. There's no continuous play feature and extra lives cost money that's needed for weapons and the good ending in II DX, which gets frustrating as said weapons go away on each new life. The controls also take some getting used to.
- Non Standard Game Over: The bad ending in Fantasy Zone II DX doesn't let you go into New Game Plus, and instead shows a Game Over and ends the game.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Though the Master System version of Fantasy Zone II adds an extendable life bar. In Fantasy Zone II DX, primary weapon upgrades double as an extra hit point as long as it is active.
- Pinball Scoring: Has reasonable scoring unless you're skilled enough to beat the game. You'll receive a bonus of several million pointsnote and start back at the beginning where if you're really skilled, you can do it again and again. If you're a god of this game, you can get 99,999,990 points.
- Retraux: Fantasy Zone II DX is developed on the System16 arcade hardware the first game used, with the only addition being some extra RAM. It's so authentic that many who see it don't realize that it first came out in 2008 on the PlayStation 2 and not alongside the Master System original. It even runs in MAME.
- Sapient Ship: In an interesting variation, the ship-looking characters (who Opa-Opa and his father represent) are considered to be their own species of robots, as opposed to an actual spaceship; they have legs, have expressions, and the intro for Super Fantasy Zone explicitly show the Opa-Opa bros inside the HQ's control room. Red Photon Zillion and Space Fantasy Zone reveals that Opa-Opa is smaller than humans.
- Secret Character: Link Loop Land has two: Opa-Opa and Evil Opa-Opa, which are respectively unlocked after finishing the game once and finishing the game with the best ending.
- Shared Universe: With Space Harrier.
- One of the "bomb" weapons you can buy is a 16-ton weight.
- Some of the various Name Entry songs in Fantasy Zone II DX are taken from the Name Entry songs of other Sega arcade games, including Sindbad Mystery (Ranking C), Mister Viking (Ranking D), Sanrin San-Chan - Tricycle-San / Spatter (Ranking E), and Pitfall! II (Ranking F)note .
- Snowlems: Poppoos/Poppos, the boss(es) of Polaria in the first game, are cute Version III examples.
- The singular Poppo enemies from Fantasy Zone II also count as such.
- Spell My Name With An S:
"Opa-Opa felt something wrong. Small-sized boss have a function for collecting fragments of boss's information. It was not possible that Boss Poppo wasn't yet restored after 10 years had elapsed."
- The snowman bosses in Fantasy Zone are either referred to as "Poppoos" (Both PlayStation 2 Sega Ages Fantasy Zone games, Opa-Opa Bros., and the Sega Ages Switch re-release) or "Poppos", if you go by the names the smaller enemy versions use, an official t-shirt, and this pre-round comment in stage 4 of Fantasy Zone II DX:
- Enemy forces come from a planet spelled "Menon" in the first game's Attract Mode text crawl, "Nenon" in the second game's crawl, and again "Menon" for Super.
- Spread Shot: Each game has a variant of it. The original had the 7-Way Shot, one of the most useful in the game. Some of the sequels had the 3-way Shot instead, or alongside it.
- Too Fast to Stop: The faster engines you can buy make your ship much more difficult to control.
- Unstable Equilibrium: You have to kill enemies to earn money, and you lose all your powerups when you respawn from death. Should be pretty easy to see how this comes into play.
- Work Off the Debt: This is the main reason why Upa-Upa goes into the Link Loop Land.
- You Killed My Father: Opa-Opa's father is killed by the Dark Menon Forces in the opening to Super Fantasy Zone. Opa-Opa then vows to defeat the enemy's mastermind for this reason.