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 Post subject: Arcade Archives: Mazinger Z (PS4|5 - Switch)
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2023 7:27 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Just like I said on my review of Arcade Archives: Tetris The Grand Master, Arcade Archives opened the doors to licensed titles. It only needed a Tetrimino to open the lock.
After the incursion of Tetris, another big hit name enters the scene: Mazinger Z by Banpresto (formerly known as Coreland).

One super robot is what it takes to save the world.
The robot is ready. ¿Are you up to take the challenge?

The plot of this game is simple: Dr. Hell and Baron Ashura joined forces with the Mycéne Empire and the Vegan Empire to conquer the world with their nearly invincible army of Mechanical Beasts, Warrior Beasts, Saucer Beasts and Vega Beasts, and the only things standing between them and total destruction are Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and Grendizer. Sounds simple, yet it works good enough for this mashup, which Banpresto knows how to pull perfectly well (the Super Robot Wars series are proof of this).

Three powerful robots for the ultimate robot smash!

Before you start the game, you and a friend are given the choice of picking one of the three super robots with their own powers and weapons.
With their unique powers, it's time for newcomers to get familiarized and oldschoolers will be on a trip to memory lane.

The timeless classic Super Robot, Mazinger Z

MAZINGER Z: The titular robot of the game, known in America as "Tranzor Z" in the localization of the same name by 3B Productions. Piloted by Koji Kabuto (Tommy Davis in Tranzor Z and Lance Hyatt in Force Five: Grandizer), Mazinger is the savior of mankind who has foiled the plans of Dr. Hell, Baron Ashura (Dr. Daemon and Devleen in Tranzor Z) and Count Brocken who unleash their Mechanical Beasts in their attempt to conquer Earth. When the battle requires Mazinger to be airborne, it is equipped with the Jet Scrander making it capable of aerial combat.

- RED WEAPON: Fires a full frontal barrage of missiles that destroys anything on its path. It's charged shot is the Koushiryoku Beam (Photon Energy Beam), which is the optic laser used by Mazinger to damage enemies.

- GREEN WEAPON: Fires missiles in a spread fire-like pattern, not as spread like the blue weapon since they're fired in a "left-to-right" and viceversa pattern, but they're fast, yet weak. The "Rust Hurricane" is the charged attack of this weapon, firing a series of small tornadoes that go on multiple directions. In the Tranzor Z dub, it was called "Hurricane" by the command "Hurricane, Fire!"

- BLUE WEAPON: The Spread Weapon of the game. Fires an 8-way blue Shuriken like bullets covering a very wide range. Not as powerful than the frontal shot, but provides better wide fire than the green weapons. It's charged attack is the "Rocket Punch", a fast semi-homing barrage of fireballs that partially track enemies.

- SPECIAL WEAPON: BREAST FIRE - Mazinger unleashes its main super attack: A superheated laser fire from its heat sink panels on the chest that melts and vaporizes its enemies. In Tranzor Z, it was simply called "Laser", and was activated by saying the command "Laser, Fire!".

Great Mazinger

GREAT MAZINGER: If you were a kid in the 70's, you'd probably remember Great Mazinger as Mazinga (and later as Great Mazinga) from Mattel's 1977's Shogun Warriors toyline, and it was originally intended to be part of Force Five, but it was ditched by Sci-Fi West Saga Starzinger. This is the second Mazinger and the single Mazinger created by Kenzo Kabuto which made its debut on the final episode of Mazinger Z, saving Koji's life during his first battle with the Warrior Beasts.

- RED WEAPON: Frontal laser fire that gradually increase its size as it flies further away from Great Mazinger. It's charged attack is the "Great Boomerang", which uses the heat skin panel as a boomerang against enemies in front of Great Mazinger.

- BLUE WEAPON: Fires several Rocket Puches on the sides while as a central firing backup it fires a twin bullet shot. It's charged attack is the "Drill Pressure Punch", which is a rapid spread fire of punches.

- GREEN WEAPON: For the charged attack, it uses the Scramble Cutter, which fires a Samurai Sword-styled fireball shaped like Great Mazinger's retractable wings called "Scramble Dash".

- SPECIAL WEAPON: THUNDER BREAK - A powerful lightning attack that channelizes the energy on the atmosphere and redirects it to its enemies with lethal power.

UFO Robot Grendizer

GRENDIZER: For those who are 40 or older, you'd probably remember this one as part of the Shogun Warriors as "Grandizer" and as part of the 1980-1981's cartoon Force Five by Tim Jerry Productions, a weekdays series that featured a different super robot show like Gaiking, Danguard Ace, Starzinger (Force Five: Spaceketeers) and Getter Robo G (as Force Five: Starvengers). In France, it was renamed as Goldorak. Piloted by Duke Fleed (Fried in this game, "Orion Quest" in the Force Five dub and Actarus in Goldorak), the prince of the planet Fleed which was ruined when the Vegan Empire attacked. Duke was adopted by Dr. Genzo Umon and took the name Daisuke Umon.

- RED WEAPON: Fires a full frontal fire with great power since it can take mid sized enemies with a few hits. Its charged attack is the Hanjuuryoku Storm (Anti-Gravity Storm) which shoots a frontal color flashing beam similar to Mazinger's Koushiryoku Beam.

- BLUE WEAPON: Fires a homing-like spread shot with considerable strength. Its charged attack is the Screw Crusher which is a rapid spread fire attack.

- GREEN WEAPON: Fires missiles in 8 directions: Two frontal and 3 on the sides. By holding the fire button it will charge its attack, unleashing the Double Harken which throws a double scythe like weapon that bounces across the screen.

- SPECIAL WEAPON: SPACE THUNDER - This is a three way stream of beams that hit in all directions. While the central beam is fully frontal, the ones on the sides swing in a waved line, swooping with anything in their way.

It's Mazinger VS Mazinger.
Get ready for the fight of your life!

At first, Mazinger Z looks like a Raiden clone which features three different weapon styles like Final Star Force, Thunder Dragon or Banpresto's first Macross arcade game, But there's several differences in the gameplay. To begin with, it goes beyond the classic "Shot and bomb" capabilities of most 90's shooters by granting the player the ability of unleashing "Charge Attacks" by holding the fire button for a while, providing a stronger attack for a short period of time, but not as devastating or invincibility providing as the Super Weapon. One interesting addition to the game was the Punch feature which looks like a short ranged flame attack from your super robot's hand, but this weapon has a triple function: First, the Punch destroys any bullet that gets in contact. Second, it acts as a bonus triggering weapon. Each enemy destroyed by the Punch will give you a small bonus boost from 100 to 1,000 points. Third, this is the only weapon capable of destroying ground-based hatches since the standard fire and super weapons can't take them down. While you start with 3 hit points, you can increase the amount of energy by picking bonus items. As you take down enemies, they will drop coins with Boss Borot's face (Bobo-Bot in Tranzor Z), these coins are the bonus item that adds a counter that increases as long as you don't miss one of them. As you pick a certain number, you'll be getting special items from either Aphrodite A or Venus A who act as the item carriers. ¿Which items?, 1 more Super Weapon or 1 additional life bar (recovery if you took a hit). This concept of granting extra energy to the player is very useful as the game will throw you more and more bullets and fast enemies, but also makes you feel that you're playing with a real super robot as it gives the notion that Mazinger is capable of withstanding any attack just as it did on the show. My best strategy is to use the red weapons since they're the strongest of the game regardless of who are you using.

You're a great Super Robot Pilot!

After completing a level, the game will give you the bonus rewards based on key factors: First one is the power level of your robot, for instace, 15000 points for being on Power level 3, the total of enemies destroyed, and the amount of Boss Borot coints picked. If you've cleared the stage with all the enemies defeated, you'll get a "Perfect Bonus".

Show accurate monster-of-the-day introduction.
(Translation: Vega Beast King Gori)

With such incredible action, source material faithfulness and pure saturday morning/anime nostalgia, it was a mystery why Mazinger Z didn't got a console port. We all knew Mazinger Z failed on its American localization as Tranzor Z not just for its renaming, but due to the censorship done by the localization, lack of toy sponsorship in the heavily toy-based 80's where if you didn't had a toyline you're done for, and the lack of popularity of anime back in the days, forcing it to low-cost UHF TV stations and early cable channels desperate for cheap kids and family content.
While in Japan the super robot has a mega popularity that prevailed up to this day, it makes constant appearances in games like the Super Robot Wars series and a SNES platforming game, the shmup was still buried and forgotten to the sands of time, not even as bonus content on the SRW games on later consoles. Since its release in 1994, this game had to wait 29 years until it finally got a console release on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives series. The Original Mode only features the original Japanese version excluding the international release, but this time I think that's for the better because for some reason the international release omitted a couple of things: The custcenes in-between levels and the "boss presentation" pause before the boss fight.

While having this game in game in the Arcade Archives series is well received, its price tag is not: $14.99, twice than the standard Arcade Archives release. The reason of this is obviously the use of Dynamic Planning/Toei Animation's Mazinger license, making this contradictorious since Hamster already released a licensed title before with the regular price tag (Tetris: The Grand Master). This sudden increase raises a burning question on the fans: ¿Licensed titles will cost twice or more in the future?, If Mazinger Z costs twice as much than the rest of the Arcade Archive titles, what would be of Superman, Rambo III, RoboCop, Bucky O'Hare, The Simpsons, Macross, Sailor Moon (both being requested after Mazinger's announcement and release) or even Fighter & Attacker? They will be expensive (especially Fighter & Attacker due to the aircraft manufacturers involved), but not out of the realm of possibility since The Simpsons has been requested since Hamster announced Konami's Arcade Archives: Xexex. Only time will tell what will happen.

Mazinger Z VS Ghostbusters (with the NES Advantage)

Graphically, its very surprising, not just on the visual terms of color palettes, but on the faithfulness to the source material, this is very well noticed in the opening sequence that recreates the anime experience incredibly well, and the super incredible detailing on the scenery throughout all the levels are a testimony of faithfulness to the source material rather than "pulling an LJN" and letting someone else do original things with terrible results. Here we have all the elements and familiar faces for the fans of all the three series: Mechanical Beasts and Vega Beasts like Garada K7, Doublas M2, King Gori and even the Dragonsaurus from the crossover OVA Grendizer, Getter Robo G, Great Mazinger: Kessen! Daikaiju. While nodding the classic cast of mechas and monsters from the animes, Banpresto managed to add original designs to the game that fit very well in this mashup: Liberty F7, Dangoon N5, Windar N3 and they even created an original "Evil Mazinger" for the game. Believe it or not, Banpresto did an extraordinary job on this aspect of the game making it a masterpiece in visual terms.

Professor Yumi: Koji-kun, you can destroy the enemy bullets with your punch.

The japanese version had cutscenes in between levels which were removed in the overseas release. That was a bad choice since the animation in those cutscenes was incredibly well made and relied on sprite scale and parallax scrolling giving them depth and speed as if they were action scenes inspired by the show. The visual quality surpasses other games of the 90's that used those effects, even the Turtles in Time arcade game.
The sound department is also a full take on the show accuracy, as the music is based on the opening themes and action scenes from the show (Chumei Watanabe's score during the boss battles) and Toshio Hayakawa (stage name Ichiro Mizuki) fans will easily recognize themes like "Ore wa Great Mazinger" in Stage 2 and "Soratobu Mazinger Z" as the 3rd stage theme very easily. The sound effects are no less as the explosions, shots, laser beams and overall sounds will be easily recognized by the fans of the original series 'cos they are borrowed directly from the anime.


The only life sized Mazinger statue in the world is in Spain.

- According to Go Nagai, Astro Boy and Gigantor
(Ironman 28) were his inspirations for Mazinger Z.
- Mycéne is sometimes written as "Mycenae" and "Mikene".
- This was the lone shmup based on Mazinger Z, since all the games featuring it are strategy based like the Super Robot Wars series and the lone platformer for the Super Famicom.
- This game was the first Mazinger title to feature an "Evil Mazinger" before Mazinkaiser's Ashura Mazinger which was the original Mazinger Z captured and rebuilt by Baron Ashura.
- Second Arcade Archives title based on a license.
- First Banpresto game in the Arcade Archives series.
- First Arcade Archives title based on an anime series.
- First Arcade Archives game and licensed title that costs twice as much than a regular game.
- This release coincides with the 50th Anniversary of Mazinger Z.
- Like in the in-game description, the Arcade Archives manual wrongly calls Duke Fleed as "Duke Fried".
- While everyone knew Mazinger Z as the Go Nagai creation, in Spain they took the 1974 Taiwanese film The Iron Superman
(an adaptation of Mach Baron) and renamed it as Mazinger Z: El Robot de las Estrellas (Mazinger Z: The Robot from the Stars). Despite the unusual decision, it became a smash hit on Spain with plenty of merchandise based on it, mostly comic books.
- Ironically, Spain also aired the original Mazinger Z anime on television with great cultural impact, at the point of building a 40 foot tall statue in the Tarragona suburb of Mas del Plata.


In the 90's, this low-cost toy meant a lot for all Mexican kids.

Mazinger Z was released on Mexico in 1986 by Televisa's Canal 5 as part of the afternoon cartoons like The Transformers, ThunderCats, Robotech and newcomers like SilverHawks and Centurions: Power Xtreme, but it was more than just another animated show, Mazinger Z
(unlike the US release, it wasn't called Tranzor Z) became one of the first animes to reach the country along with Speed Racer, G-Force: Guardians of Space (Gatchaman) and Dragon Ball. But Mazinger's TV debut is mostly remembered due to its airings in the 90's by TV Azteca's Azteca 7, as part of the weekdays afternoon programming block along with other shows, animes and cartoons like Ribbon no Kishi (Princess Knight) or "La Princesa Caballero", Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad (Samurai Cibernético), Doogie Houser M.D. and The Simpsons, becoming a mega-hit on Mexican TV despite not being aired on the more Anime-based Caritele Saturday Morning block which featured Queen Millennia (La Princesa de los Mil Años), Saint Seiya (Los Caballeros del Zodiaco), Sailor Moon and many other cartoons and animes. Regardless of the TV network where it was shown, Mazinger became the flagship product for any crafty artisan, street vendor or paper store who wanted a quick profit. From sticker sheets to cheap toys, it was Mazinger for everyone.
Back then there wasn't anime related products on hobby shops as these featured aircraft scale models, and the very first anime stores were extremely expensive making them look as very distant luxuries such as the Soul of Chogokin line
(which borrows the japanese name for "Super Alloy", the metal which Mazinger Z is made of). Having a cheap "Mazinger del Mercado" or "Mazinger del Tianguis" might not sound or look too impressive, but despite its cheap plastic and unstability due to its shoddy crafting, having that Mazinger toy was as amazing as owning Devastator, Castle Grayskull, the electronic T-Rex from Jurassic Park or even the Millenium Falcon. The sudden smash hit of Mazinger Z is what lead to the anime boom in Mexico, even more than Robotech or Dragon Ball and its follow ups. The last time we saw the anime on Mexico was on Grupo Imagen's Cadenatres channel in the 2010's. A full testimony that Go Nagai's creation survived the pass of time, and also prove its impact on Mexican pop-culture.

It really baffles me that both Mazinger Z and Macross arcade games weren't released there. Even with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat and The King of Fighters dominating all the arcades, Mazinger Z would definitely took a stand since many people would get in line to play with the most popular super robot just like many people made lines to play with the yellow family from Springfield when The Simpsons arcade game was released. What a missed chance for distributors.

A Powerful game for the greatest of Super Robots.

Mazinger Z is a perfect example of how to make a game based on a license: Taking the concepts of the anime and manga and adapting them with resounding perfection. A powerful shmup for the Super Robot by excellence.
Now that Banpresto has joined the Arcade Archives, does that mean we would see Air Gallet? With the frequency Hamster releases BNEI games, it might be possible.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup and video game reviews with humorous criticism.

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