Review by BimmyandJimmy
What do the games Gradius, R-type and UN Squadron all have in common? If you've guessed that they are all classic side scrolling shooter games that have appeared on Nintendo consoles, then you are correct. In fact, there are many classic side scrolling shooter games on Nintendo consoles that are either mainstream or have cult followings that will never die. Formation Z, on the other hand, is a game that is unknown for all the right reasons.
To be fair, for a game released in 1984 on the NES, the graphics are impressive. The game has a wide assortment of colors and backgrounds such as gigantic mountain ranges, tall pyramids and buildings which blanket the screen. Hell, the game even has a grassy foreground, and it's animated to make it look like it's being blown around by the wind. However, I'd rather play a game with amazing gameplay instead.
The character sprites are horrible. Everything is too short and monochromatic compare to the gigantic background and it leaves the game feeling empty. What's interesting about the guy you control is that he kind of looks like Jet Jaguar from the movie Godzilla vs. Megalon, which is muddling and awesome at the same time.
The only songs you'll hear in the game are at the title screen and before you enter battle. After that, the game is just dead silence. Occasionally you'll hear a couple of wimpy sound effects to break up the boring monotony, but it's not enough to prevent you from passing out due to the piss poor gameplay.
Well, let's just get this out-of-the-way, there are only two levels in this game, but you've got to have such massive luck in order to beat them because the controls in this game are awful.
For example, Super Mario Bros lets you control the rate of the jump by pressing back or forward on the D-pad. In this game, you can't control this, which forces you to time your jumps exactly to clear enemies, and because the screen is always automatically scrolling to the left, judging the timing on these jumps is a nightmare. Worse, the enemies home in on you constantly, you can only get hit once, and you only get three extra guys before the game is over.
You can also transform into an airplane in Formation Z, but getting that to work is ridiculous; you basically have to mash buttons as far as I know. Also, you use up gas when you're flying, and you're going to need to save every last drop in order to get over huge bodies of water and gaps, so you'll probably be walking on the ground most of the time just to make it over. This is absolutely pathetic because flying is the only fun part about this game.
There's also a total lack of action in this game, but, really, I'm not at all surprised.
Ya right, there is hardly any other reason to play the game after the first time through. Sure, there's a two player mode available, but either than that, there is nothing at all in this game that I would consider entertainment value.
For some strange reason, I use to play this game a lot when I was a kid, mostly because I could never beat it, even though I always wanted to. I've given up now because I've seen the ending on YouTube and it's awful. Just stick with your other 2D shooter games instead, and let this one rot to nothing.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 09/14/12, Updated 03/18/14
Game Release: Formation Z (JP, 04/04/85)
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