Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
A mysterious evil cult is brainwashing people all over the world... Are you a faithful enough dude to save the religious world from ZUN ZUN's ambition?
● Title: ずんずん教の野望 ● Genre: Shooting ● Release Date: 1994 ● Developer: MINATO GIKEN ● Publisher: SEGA ● Media: Arcade System Board ● System Specific: SYSTEM C2
「ZUNZUNKYOU NO YABOU」 (The Ambition of the Cult of ZUN ZUN) is a top-down perspective fixed screen (as in non side-scrolling) shooting game. It was developed by MINATO GIKEN for the SEGA SYSTEM C2 arcade hardware.
The game is notable for its dark humor and is generally regarded as 「bakage」(absurd/ridiculous game). A term used as a reference for games with strong humoristic or parodic elements. ■STRANGE DISCLAIMER SCREEN ?
In the game's attract mode we can see an unusual disclaimer screen stating that 「THIS GAME IS NOT RELATED TO ANY RELIGION」.
It's very likely that they included this because the notorious cult 「AUM SHINRIKYOU」was causing trouble in Japan around this time.
■THE STORY OF ZUNZUNKYOU NO YABOU
A new world order is at hand! A mysterious fanatical group known as the 「CULT OF ZUN ZUN」has taken the religious world by storm. Everyday more and more people are becoming brainwashed by their twisted teachings and abandoning their former religions.
Troubled by this a pair of Bodhisattvas (enlightenment-beings who have postponed buddahood in order to work for the enlightenment of all sentient beings) decided to take action by possessing the physical bodies of two JIZO statues (the roadside guardians of Japan).
Our enlightened friends won't stop at nothing in order to save the religious world and put an end to the ambition of ZUN ZUN!
ZUNZUNKYOU NO YABOU doesn't deviate from the standard shooting game formula. You can move in 8 directions using the joystick. You shot with the [ A ] button and can use a screen bomb attack with the [ B ] button.
The game feels very similar to the classic arcade game 「GAPLUS」, actually. Specially when it comes to the enemy formations and their erratic behavior.
To clear a stage you must defeat a fixed amount of enemies (usually above 40). And just like in GAPLUS they will become faster and more dangerous when there's only a few of them left on screen.
The game's overall challenge is high. The enemies are fast and your character's annoyingly big hit box will make you feel like a bullet magnet most of the time.
In this aspect I've found the bosses and their simplistic attack patterns much easier to deal with those of the standard enemies.
Unquestionably your screen bombs will prove to be the most invaluable tool for your survival, specially since they can destroy all enemy bullets on screen.
However there's also other power-up items (called 「donations」this time around) that no doubt will come in handy during the stages. These items will grant you momentary special abilities like invincibility, time freeze, and a reduced hit box size.
■THE HARD ROAD TO ENLIGHTENMENT
By collecting special power up items the JIZO can attain a heightened and more powerful form.
Because you will lose all of you power-up effects after getting shot down, your transformation can be very short lived. And since it takes at least 5 stages to reach the ASHURA form, to lose it in a single hit can be quite frustrating...
■THE ZUN ZUN WORLD TOUR
ZUN ZUN has set up regional cult branches in JAPAN, ASIA, EUROPE and the UNITED STATES.
Each regional branch is comprised of 3 different factions and a branch chief (boss). Your mission is to defeat all 4 branch chiefs and cleanse each region of the cult's influence.
There's a total of 19 stages in the game (4 x 4 + 3 = 19). And the enemy factions all have funny names like 「The Stay Drunk Until Morining」faction, or the 「Healthy from Yoga」faction.
Once all of the branch chiefs have been defeated you will be able to travel to the cult's secret headquarters and face off against the real mastermind behind ZUN ZUN.
The last boss 「EARTHNOID」 is surprisingly more cute than what one would have expected...
As it's typical of a last boss EARTHNOID can withstand a ridiculously high amount of damage before going down. But other than that he's really no different from the other bosses in the game and only has two basic attack patterns.
Upon defeating the last boss the game rewards you not with an ending but with a yet even more difficult second game round...
I usually don't mind going for a second round in shooting games, but it just feels pretty lousy when they do it like this without giving players something for their effort.
Because this way the second round doesn't feel like an extra challenge, but rather it just feels like the programmers just wanted players to spend more coins in order to see the ending. ■CLOSING COMMENT
ZUNZUNKYOU NO YABOU is a pretty strange game that feels more in line with the DECO humor of the late 80's and early 90's than with something SEGA would release.
Quality-wise the game also feels way behind its 1994 release date. It's not that the game is THAT bad per-se. But in comparison to what you could find at the game centers or in consoles by 1994. ZUNZUNKYOU NO YABOU feels like a throwback to the arcade game standards of the 80's. And not particularly to the kind of stuff that you'd actually want to re-live.