Section-Z (NES)

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North American box.

Section-Z is a scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Capcom for on the Famicom Disk System on 1987-05-25, then for the NES two months later. It is based on the arcade game of the same title, but Capcom drastically altered the game for home consoles. In the game, you play Captain Commando who is trying to stop an invasion of Earth by infiltrating the incoming space station of Balangool and defeat L-Brain the master controller of the invasion force.

I'm pretty sure I got this game at a garage sale in the early 1990s. I remember being a little confused by the game at first until I figured out that you need to map out the ends of each section in order to not get lost. After that, I beat the first couple barriers and boss, but found the second area to be too difficult and gave up on the game. Years later, around 2005 or so, I knuckled down and mapped out most of the game before finally beating it.

I've noticed from online commentary that this game is pretty divisive. I think the hybrid genre of mixing a scrolling shooter with adventure elements is a great idea, but I can see why people who are expecting a simple scrolling shooter can be put off by that.

One thing I've noticed is that nobody seems to have a disk image (frequently called a ROM by mistake) of the Famicom Disk System release of this game. If you have it, please email it to me.

Status

I own this game, and have beaten it.

Review

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6 5 5 4 5 50%

Best Version: NES

Good

  • Changing from the linear layout of the arcade game to a more labyrinthine level layout was a great idea. Although confusing at first, once you start mapping out the game, it adds a lot of spice to what would have been an otherwise forgettable scrolling shooter.
  • The game has great title and ending music.
  • I like that the game differentiates between getting hit by a bullet and getting hit by an enemy. However, with the amount of enemies running around, I would rather a collision with an enemy just do extra damage rather than kill the player outright.
  • I enjoy how the power-ups (megasmasher, flash buster, barrier shield) are handled. You don't have to equip them right away, which works in your favor because you lose them if they're equipped when you die. So, you can hold off on using them until you really need them. I also like how the flash buster becomes more powerful when you get a second in reserve (I only wish they did this for the other options).

Bad

  • The energy/lives combination is a bit confusing, especially when enemies kill the player and also do 5 energy damage.
  • The three capsule weapons (missile, flash bomb, crush ball) are hard to use and not worth the 5 energy cost. They should either be cheaper or more effective.
  • Most of the in-game music isn't very good.
  • The graphics, while on-par for a 1987 game, aren't that great.

Ugly

  • Like most games of this era, the game is so hard it hurts the gaming experience a lot. I cut my teeth on the game until I memorized most of the sections. And, even then, I still had a hard time finishing it.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Videos

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Section-Z
Japanese セクションZ Sekushon Z Section Z

Links

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