There are many Japanese games that we wished we had in the west, just getting those weird and wonderful games from the east, but there is one game that we didn’t need was Formation Z (Fômêshon Z), developed and released by Jaleco in 1984.
The year is 2701 and robots want to take over the world with an alien super weapon; it was the 80’s and stories didn’t need apply at the time so at least they tried. You play as a robot (or some kind of rejected Transformer) in which you just shoot stuff when walking, the usual auto-scrolling and by holding the jump button turns you into a plane and shoot stuff, but you have limited fuel so make sure your mostly on the ground, only use it when flying through waters that might drown you and blow you up.
The graphics (playing the Famicom version) is bland but it’s an early game so at least they tried. There is no music which makes the game more boring, you must have music so the game can be fun, for the most part. The game play is a dull shoot em up but it’s very difficult like most Japanese games at that time.
Did you Know? Aeroboto outside of Japan and was released for the arcades by Williams (which sounds more Japanese that what the Japanese version got).
Overall, it’s a very dated shooting game that’s forgettable even after playing it, there really is nothing else to say about it, it’s that boring.
You can get it on the Arcades, MSX, NES and Virtual Console (in Japan).
So I didn’t have any fare luck with Formation Z, so let’s give Jaleco one last chance for redemption. Field Combat (Firudo Konbattò), developed and released by Jaleco in 1985. The aim of the game is to get from one side of the field to the other, think of it as American Football, but you play as a warship Genesis (so it has 16-bit blast processing, far too awesome for an 8-bit game), you control the blue soldiers and you pretty much need to defeat the red soldiers by shooting them but they don’t die, they just get up and run away or you can absorb them.
By pressing both A & B, you can send out for reinforcements to help you in battle, if you run out of soldiers you can absorb them to join you, so it’s kind of a strategy game which is an interesting feature seeing it’s a game from the 80’s and by adding twists to the game play and just the game itself it makes it very unique. But it’s very difficult some of you might not make it to the next stage, however, unlike Formation Z, you want to play it again, it looks simple but it still has that Japanese difficulty I like to call “Asian Mode”.
There is also an enemy UFO like spaceship, when it’s in the battlefield, will try to grab and escape with a player friendly unit if there’s any on the battlefield and will also engage into combat with your helicopter.
The music is lacking but makes up for it with it’s fantastic 8-bit rendition of “Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner as part of the background music, it fits perfectly with the retro game play.
Did you Know? The Famicom version was re-released for the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007 in Japan.
Overall, it’s quite a fun war game with mostly heavy strategy to boot, it somehow reminds me of Advance Wars, that Red VS. Blue war with tanks and all, yes it’s very difficult but at least it can keep you more entertained than Formation Z.
You can get it in the Arcades and Famicom.