It’s time for this week’s MazinRetro Game of the Week!
There may be nothing more 90’s about entertainment than watching a giant robot smash a monster though a Tokyo skyscraper. Actually though, that is still really awesome now as it ever was. This week I wanted to focus on a lesser known Sega Genesis title that will push every excitement button you have if you hold any nostalgia for manga, Power Rangers, Godzilla, or anything that smashes up Tokyo.
Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter, released in North America in February 1993, is a side-scrolling beat-em up with some very unique boss battles. Developed by Almanic Corp and published by Vic Tokai (remember them from Golgo 13) the game follows the story of Mazinger Z, a suit of magical armor that can grow to giant monster size, as it battles its way through an invasion of Earth by robots and giant creatures called “Bio Beasts”. Part of you may want to roll your eyes at that plot, but another part of you is shivering with excitement. Armed with a trusty sword, players guide their magical armored monster killing machine through levels filled with various enemies and traps. Levels are unique and detailed, and the sound has a very distinct “Genesis” feel to it. Something with the odd architecture of the Genesis’s sound chip and hardware made music and sound effects feel different on the Genesis than on other 16-bit systems. Each level contained it’s own Bio Beast boss battle, and the game does a bit of a 180 here.
Boss battles force Mazinger Z to grow to the giant size of it’s Bio Beast foes, and trashed them around the usual monster stopping grounds. The first boss battle takes place in Tokyo, with Mazinger Z dueling a monster wielding a giant scythe. Epic. The boss battles are challenging, and play out in a street fighter-esque side-scrolling match. Enemies launch fireballs and have various jumping and sliding attacks. Mazinger Z carries the every so trusty sword into battle, and defeating and slashing through the giant enemies is incredibly satisfying. On anything above the “Easy” game mode setting however, these boss battles become very challenging. It has a very 16-bit era challenge though, where remembering attack patterns and weak spots is key to victory.
Each level plays out mostly the same, a few levels “normal” size slashing and leaping over enemies, and an ending boss battle that turns into a huge monster fighting game. This variety helps keep the relatively short game fresh, and really helps it stand out against other side-scrolling fighters of the time. Released mid-way into the Genesis life cycle, the game fared mostly critically well but only moderately sales wise. The game can be found for around the $20 mark, and it is well worth that for an evening of classic beat-em up giant monster fun. Also, if you hum the Power Ranger theme song while Mazinger Z grows and fights the Bio Beasts, well, nobody will blame you.