Review by BimmyandJimmy
I've got a question, what do the games Gradius, R-type and UN Squadron have in common? If you've guessed that they are all classic side scrolling shooter games that have appeared on Nintendo consoles then you would be 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 because trust me this is one that you do not want to play. It sucks.
Ok, I'll be fair, for a game released in 1984 on the NES, the graphics are kind of impressive. For one thing, the game has a wide assortment of colors and shades that blanket the screen through the game. The backgrounds have gigantic mountain ranges, tall pyramids and a wide choice of statues and buildings that randomly show up. Hell, the game even has a grassy foreground, and it's animated to look like it's being blown around by the wind. Ya, it's impressive, but I would still rather play a good game over a pretty one.
The character sprites are pretty lame though. Everything is too short and monochromatic compare to the gigantic background that it leaves the game feeling empty. Also, I don't know why, but for some reason, the guy you control kind of looks like Jet Jaguar from the movie Godzilla vs. Megalon, and just the thought of that is enough to muddle you brain with both awesomeness and confusion.
Well, there are really only two songs in the game, when you're at the title screen and just before you enter battle. Either than that, the game is just dead silence. Occasionally you'll hear a couple of wimpy sound effects to prevent you from falling asleep from boredom, but even that isn't really enough to prevent you from passing out from the piss poor gameplay.
Well, let's just get this out-of-the-way early, there are really only two levels in this game and they're both so short that you could probably beat the game in seven minutes if you're lucky, and I do mean LUCKY because just like with any other short game, it's also hard as hell because it's broken beyond belief.
The controls in Formation Z are awful, and in this case it's mostly the jumping. For example, in Super Mario Bros, when you jump you can control the rate of the jump by pressing back or forward on the D-pad, you know, like any well-developed platforming game. In this one, you can't control this so you have to time your jumps exactly to clear enemies, and because the screen is automatically scrolling to the left, it makes it even harder to time the jump. Anyway, just forget about clearing enemies anyway because they pretty much home in on you every single time and if you get hit once, you die and have to start all over again, and to beat the game with only three guys who you will lose almost instantly is just ridiculous.
Not only can you jump in this game, but you can transform into an airplane, but even getting this to work is ridiculous because you basically have to mash buttons until you transform. It's a nightmare. Also, when you fly as the plane, you use up gas which you are going to need to save to get over a huge body of water, so for the most part you'll be walking on the ground most of the time just to make it over, which is just absolutely pathetic because flying is the only good thing about Formation Z. Really, this game is just beyond boring. Not only for the lack of music, but for the lack of action as well, and even when there is action, it's so uneventful that it's practically a joke.
Ya right, there is hardly any other reason to play the game after the first time through. Sure, there is a two player mode available, but either than that, there is nothing at all in this game that I would consider entertainment value. In fact, it's the polar opposite.
I don't know why, but for some strange reason, I use to play this game a lot when I was a kid as well, mostly because I could never beat it even though I always wanted to. Now, I've basically just given up because really, there isn't any point. It just doesn't want to be either beaten or played so it's best to just leave the game to decompose to nothing.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 09/14/12
Game Release: Formation Z (JP, 04/04/85)
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