Monday, March 21, 2011

Mazin Saga: Mutant Stabber

Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter is a 1993 beat 'em up game for the Genesis. It is based on the Mazin Saga manga, which is a spin-off of the Mazinger Z manga/anime. The short lived Almanic Corporation, formed by ex-Technos developers, made the game. The only other notable games they developed were the interesting E.V.O.: Search for Eden and that weird Kunio Kun game for SNES where you started off in prison. Considering the assumed pedigree of the people who worked on the game (maybe some of them worked on River City Ransom), Mazin Saga is a sort of lackluster beat 'em up.
The title screen is a nicely animated shot of Mazinger Z, who I guess is walking. The in-game sprites are all quite small and therefore not too detailed, but they are well animated. The art for the sprites and backgrounds in this part of the game are all clear and use well differentiated color palettes, though they are kind of boring.  One thing that bothers me is that a rather large portion of the screen is wasted space because of the HUD.  Actually, there just seems to be a lot of wasted space in general because of the small sprites. The music and sound effects are all pretty bland and generic.

The controls for this main portion of the game are equally boring. You have the typical jump, attack, and crowd-clear moves. The best part of the controls is the ability to run and maneuver easily using the run, executed by double-tapping a direction and holding. There are the typical attack strings, running attack that knocks down, and jumping attacks that knock down. Before you get to the stage's boss, you run into them for small battles. For example, you have a small fight with the first boss's foot.

The most interesting part of the game is the boss battles. For this part, Mazinger Z turns gigantic, and so the sprites. It is definitely the best looking part of the game, as the combat is solid and the large sprites are well animated. In this mode, the controls replace the crowd-clear attack with the ability to block, and the vertical movement is replaced with the ability to crouch. It plays like a simple fighting game. You need to block high or low depending on the enemy's attack and you need to hit the enemy, who has equivalent abilities as well as special attacks.

I played through the first level and got tired of it because it is ultimately a pretty boring beat 'em up. As far as adaptation of super robot series go, I've definitely played worse.

Go Nagai loves his creations so much he covers them in copyright.

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