Section Z – Retro Wednesdays Episode 30

imgres-1Section Z was a game I never owned, and a game I never played.

Section Z is an interesting mashup of Gradius and Metroid in my opinion. You have a shoot ’em up with a choice map system. By that I mean at the end of each level you can choose to move up to a new level or down. It means that you have to learn to navigate the game while shooting your way through hordes of enemies. Each section has a generator that you have to destroy before getting to the boss.

All of this sounds like it would be an awesome game, but unfortunately I found this game to be OK at best. The biggest problem is very early on you realize it turns into a game where you’re constantly asking “Where am I supposed to go???” I don’t own a copy of the manual so maybe there is a map in there but there is not one in the game and it’s a HUGE omission. Until we started pulling up a guide, we were just going around in a non stop loop. If there was a map the game would instantly be 10X better. Section Z would be a lot of fun to play if there was a simple map.

The other part of Section Z that is confusing is the energy/lives mechanic. Basically you start with an amount of energy and 3 lives. If you hit an enemy  you lose a life, but if you’re hit by an enemy bullet you lose one point of energy. If you run out of energy you’re sucked back to the beginning of the game. If you lose 3 lives you die. Again, something that is a bit confusing if you’re not aware of it going into the game

Gameplay wise you can move left and right shooting in multiple directions, there are powerups as well. The enemies are challenging but forgetful, the music is OK at best, and the same can be said about the controls.

In the end Section Z solidly falls into the OK category, but is also a game I doubt I’ll return to. It’s challenging and entertaining, but ultimately forgettable due to a lack of information about the game itself.

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