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Thoughts on Zanac for NES?


Andykin Skysk8r
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Im really surprised I never ran into this game until recently because its a really fun game. When I looked it up and saw that it was made in 1986 I expected it to be somewhat archaic feeling as those were pioneering days for the genre, but it doesnt feel old at all, in fact it plays great. The only give away that its from that time is that the bosses are not really proper bosses, theyre basically big clusters of strong stationary enemies. A potential flaw for some fans may be that its pretty long and a bit on the tough side considering its length. Ive played the first 6 levels so far and its the kind of difficulty that gives you a firm slap at first but very quickly you start to learn and make progress and its a pretty thrilling experience.

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I had it briefly and didn't put the time in to figure it out. Now that I have most of the big compile games, I might find a copy to give it another go.

Edit: Actually maybe I'll play it on Zanac x Zanac and if I like it I'll get the Nes version.

Edited by Californication
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My favorite shooter on the NES. Great gameplay with really good graphics and music.

Just grab the number 7 weapon the whole game and you should be able to beat it. 

I know some prefer the original MSX version or the “EX” version on the MSX2. The EX version is interesting to me. It has a real ending screen rather than just some text.

Edited by mrbogus
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Easily my favourite NES shooter.  Gun-Nac is good and has better graphics, but Zanac is a way better game.  I just have one piece of advice for you: do not judge the game until you've beaten Area 4; this is the kinda game that you can pop in and get your ass handed to you in three minutes and never go back, but you'd be missing out on the best the NES has to offer in the genre.  Learning how to excel at this game was one of the most enjoyable NES experiences I've ever had, and now I can throw it in and burn through the game on a whim any time I want to, having a hell of a lot of fun every time I go back...

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Member · Posted

I’ve never played this game, but the title felt familiar to me, then I realized Zanac sounds like a name of a medication!

Looking forward to its sequels:

Zantac - helps to relieve heartburn and stomach ulcers.

Xanax - helps to relieve stress and can put you to sleep.

Apologies if I’m going off on a tangent..

Edited by GPX
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Member · Posted
4 hours ago, GPX said:

I’ve never played this game, but the title felt familiar to me, then I realized Zanac sounds like a name of a medication!

Ask your doctor if Faxanadu is right for you.  Not recommended for patients who take Xexyz.

Edited by fox
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Graphics Team · Posted

As far as my thoughts on the game, though - I'm not a huge fan, but I still enjoy playing Zanac every once in a while.

I've always felt like Compile space-shooters are more reflex-oriented. Quick thinking and split-second maneuvering / firing. I prefer shooters that rely more on strategy and memorization, which seems to be common in Irem's library. Konami space-shooters tend to strike a balance between strategy and reflex - a solid middleground.

-CasualCart

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Wow those backwards warps are BS lol I just got sent from level 7 to 4. Okay I have to remember to avoid the right half of the screen at that part.

 

As for the more memorization based shooters, after finishing 2 loops of Super R-Type and training for months to achieve a 178cc on Pulstar, its pretty relieving to play this game where I can mess around a bit and then dial up my focus for some matrix dodges and every now and then beat a hard part just by doing that. My favorite shmup is Blazing Star which I would say is a nice balance of the two styles.

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8 hours ago, CasualCart said:

I've always felt like Compile space-shooters are more reflex-oriented. Quick thinking and split-second maneuvering / firing. I prefer shooters that rely more on strategy and memorization, which seems to be common in Irem's library. 

I'm of the opposite opinion: I love the reflex-oriented shooters and dislike having to put the time in to memorize the strategy ones, hence why Zanac is my favourite NES shooter.  Honestly, the only "strategy" in the game involves shooting the right parts of some of the bosses first, and this is especially true with the final boss.  Outside of that, it's all reflex action, baby!

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2 hours ago, Andykin Skysk8r said:

Wow those backwards warps are BS lol I just got sent from level 7 to 4. Okay I have to remember to avoid the right half of the screen at that part.

 

I did warn you. 😛

In order, the level 7 warps are level 4, level 8, level 9, and level 5. Avoid the first and fourth warp, unless you feel like repeating all those levels again.

The backward warps are one of two ways to rack up a mondo high score. The other involves the end boss.

Oh, and there's a trick to level 8 that makes it a ton easier. I'll let you try it out first before spoiling it. 😛

Edited by Tulpa
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50 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

I'm of the opposite opinion: I love the reflex-oriented shooters and dislike having to put the time in to memorize the strategy ones, hence why Zanac is my favourite NES shooter.  Honestly, the only "strategy" in the game involves shooting the right parts of some of the bosses first, and this is especially true with the final boss.  Outside of that, it's all reflex action, baby!

I can't short term memorize much of anything, especially patterns even in the long term.  I love and HATE Dragon's Lair for that reason alone, why I didn't buy the retrocade quarter sized thing in 2020.  The versions I like, the one from where the Wii introduced the QTE prompts, because at least it's down to sheer speed as the window is already tiny as is.  I take my shooters the same way, don't need patterns in various Konami ones which is why I keep them around on FC/NES, SNES, etc.  Just get better at reacting, not going here, there, over there....or die.

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48 minutes ago, Tulpa said:

I did warn you. 😛

In order, the level 7 warps are level 4, level 8, level 9, and level 5. Avoid the first and fourth warp, unless you feel like repeating all those levels again.

The backward warps are one of two ways to rack up a mondo high score. The other involves the end boss.

Oh, and there's a trick to level 8 that makes it a ton easier. I'll let you try it out first before spoiling it. 😛

I got to level 10. Its pretty suiting this game sounds like a pharmaceutical because its crazy addicting. Im literally butthurt from sitting too long, and Im sitting on a bed. Some levels seem not entirely in order of difficulty. For example trying level 4 without powerups was pretty brutal so I just reset to level 1 and beat level 4 first try when I got back to it with power 7. 

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If you can get to level 10, you're on your way.

Caveat for level 11. If you don't beat the boss by the end of the timer, you have to start the level over. It doesn't skip the boss like the others do. Level 11 is the first part of the "System."

Final boss has no timer. Either you beat it or run out of lives.

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Graphics Team · Posted
18 hours ago, Andykin Skysk8r said:

As for the more memorization based shooters, after finishing 2 loops of Super R-Type and training for months to achieve a 178cc on Pulstar, its pretty relieving to play this game where I can mess around a bit and then dial up my focus for some matrix dodges and every now and then beat a hard part just by doing that. My favorite shmup is Blazing Star which I would say is a nice balance of the two styles.

 

16 hours ago, Dr. Morbis said:

I'm of the opposite opinion: I love the reflex-oriented shooters and dislike having to put the time in to memorize the strategy ones, hence why Zanac is my favourite NES shooter.  Honestly, the only "strategy" in the game involves shooting the right parts of some of the bosses first, and this is especially true with the final boss.  Outside of that, it's all reflex action, baby!

Solid - I definitely understand the appeal of reflex-shooters, but I just don't have the coordination to really sink my teeth into them. Blazing Star is actually right up my alley in that regard, since I can credit-feed my way through a good chunk of it for a quickfire space-shooter fix - such a fantastic game. I also like plugging-in a turbo controller and bulldozing through the first bit of Star Soldier whenever I just want to play for a few minutes (since that's about as long as I'll last haha).

-CasualCart

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On 1/18/2021 at 2:04 AM, Tulpa said:

If you can get to level 10, you're on your way.

Caveat for level 11. If you don't beat the boss by the end of the timer, you have to start the level over. It doesn't skip the boss like the others do. Level 11 is the first part of the "System."

Final boss has no timer. Either you beat it or run out of lives.

If you beat level 12 does it loop back to level 1?

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19 minutes ago, Andykin Skysk8r said:

If you beat level 12 does it loop back to level 1?

Not that I know of. It just plays the ending screen indefinitely. I liked the music so much that I left it on for like 5-6 minutes and it never moved. I think hitting start will start the game again at level 1, and it stores your high score (which will play a short tune if you surpass it, just like when you surpass the default high score of 10,000.)

There is a secret on the end screen if you have two controllers plugged in. Beat the game and when the fairy stops press A + B on controller 1 and controller 2 at the same time. It shows a message about the next Compile game (for the MSX computer.)

Edited by Tulpa
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Ive come to the conclusion that it probably makes more sense to master each level so I can get to the late level with a ton of lives rather than just grind at the late levels constantly continuing at 10 and rarely 11. In an ironic twist a compile game turns out to be a bit of a memory shooter. I can get to level 8 with 1 continue so Ill work on extending that.

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44 minutes ago, Andykin Skysk8r said:

Ive come to the conclusion that it probably makes more sense to master each level so I can get to the late level with a ton of lives rather than just grind at the late levels constantly continuing at 10 and rarely 11. In an ironic twist a compile game turns out to be a bit of a memory shooter. I can get to level 8 with 1 continue so Ill work on extending that.

Like most shooters of the era, it's actually much easier to just get good at the whole game and do a 1CC run, than to try to use late-level continues.  Starting with no power-ups and only a couple of ships in reserve on levels 10-12 is a recipe for disaster...

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