Review by The Manx

"Believe it or not, Turbografx had a couple good games for it"

Many many years ago, when I was starting to get tired of my Nintendo, I began looking at new 16-bit consoles to see if anything looked like I might enjoy it. The horse I ended up backing was the Turbografx 16, which I ended up having exactly three games for. One of them was an addicting shooter called Air Zonk.

The game isn't big on story, but it looks like the game is about Bonk, Turbografx's mascot, being turned into a robot and helping a bunch of other robots wage war against King Drool (just like in Bonk, but also with a futuristic revamp) and his evil robot bosses.

Zonk, as our hero is named, can collect some imaginative weapons (like the one that shoots bear traps out of his mouth, gotta love that one), and charge up to use them for some devastating attacks, but the real fun of the game is in joining forces with your fellow good robots. They include angelic Astra, giant missile Scudd, blowfish-headed Spike Ree, the aptly-named Bubblician (aptly as in confusingly), drill-topped Mumbles the mummy, cleverly-named Moo Moo, and Bob the baseball. Pick up a big smiley face and they'll come and help you by shooting missiles around. But pick up another, and they and Zonk can combine.

This was one of the coolest things about the game, giving you access to a bunch of different looks and correspondingly different attacks for Zonk depending on which of his friends he joins with. It goes without saying that some are better than others, but that largely depends on the style of the player.

Like Bonk, Air Zonk is fully of cutesy and non-threatening enemies, particularly the buckethead robots (the futuristic equivalent of those guys in Bonk with egg shells on their heads, I reckon). The graphics are colorful and lively. So much so that you can tell easy that the game is having as much with itself as you are, which is a lot. The sound department for Air Zonk is especially strong as well, and I will never forget that haunting Toxy Land melody. But overall, the game is just a darn good from the side shooting game.

I'm proud to have played Air Zonk, one of the few points of light in the dark sky that was the Turbografx 16. It was one of the best shooters of the 90's, and I'm glad so many other people think so too.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/14/04

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