Comix Zone (Sega Mega/Genesis 1995)

The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis was a home for a bunch of American made games, much more so than the Super Nintendo. The Sega Genesis was a big hit in America and Sega of America made it much less anal to make 3rd party games compared to the sometimes hostile business practices of Nintendo. Games like Toejam & Earl and Comix Zone are great examples of that.
Comix Zone is a 1-player beat ’em up game that throws Sketch Turner, a comic artist into his own comic book were he has to fight his way out and stop Mortus, the villain that Sketch himself created from wreaking havoc on the real world…. Pretty far out but it is a very fun concept having to beat your way through the windows and pages of the comic themed stages.

So that is pretty much the concept of the game, after that starts the “beating up”. Sketch Turner has a bunch of combos like the punch combo, low kick combo and the high kick combo. He also sports some finisher moves like the scissors kick and an uppercut. Apart from that he also has all the basic moves you would expect like a jump kick, low kick etc. Pretty much whatever you press it feels like you are doing something somewhat effective in dealing with your enemies and it feels really smooth. You even have a bunch of moves for when you are hanging from a pipe or something like that.

Sketch Turner fight through waves of enemies added to the comic by Mortus

But this game is not just a beat ’em up. You have to platform around and solve little puzzles to advance. You will need to use items like a knife or a bomb to get rid of obstacles that otherwise would drain you health bar if you had to punch them out of the way. This matters a great deal because this game is tough as nails. You are going to want to preserve every sliver of health you can because you have only 1 continue per stage, and this game will kick the shit out of you and hand your ass to you on a pretentious, douchebag looking platter. You will also need to use your rat pet companion to find secrets like health replenishing ice tea and more bombs etc. Drop him every now and then and memorize where the useful items are placed.
Yes, this game is tough but it is also very short. The game is 6 pretty short stages and a perfect playthrough of the game should only take around 20 minutes. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing since the games’ difficulty makes up for how short it is in many ways. You will never beat the game in just those 20 minutes, it will take scores of playthroughs for you because you have to know the game in and out to be able to beat it. There are also multiple paths to take through the comic pages so each playthrough has some variety.

POW!! Scissors kick with sound effects and all!

Like with many of the late Sega Mega games, Comix Zone’s graphics really stand out. The comic(cartoony) theme of the game makes it so that the graphics are similalry great as some of the best looking games on the system like The Lion King, Aladdin and Earthworm Jim. Comic Zone’s comic book style is a bit more gritty and is supposed to look more hand-drawn compared to those titles i mentioned and it comes out pretty well.
I like the character designs and sprites. The bad guys look  cool and a bit over the top as if they were doing a parody on comic book villains which totally fits the atmosphere. I love the design on Sketch Turner, he is the fabled “cool nerd”. His pony tail is kinda dorky and his clothes are baggy and comfortable and he makes comic books…. Still, he has cool sunglasses, is clever and kinda bulk.
Sound effect visuals are also a nice touch.

Climb between comic windows… Just do not fall down, you won’t get many chances.

The music is very groovy. It fits the laid back style of Sketch Turner and also the hostile environment he has landed in. A few of those tracks might end up on your mp3 for easy listening but this stuff is not super memorable. It’s solid and appropriate.

Overall Comix Zone is a good beat ’em up option for a 1 player game. If your are itching for a good beat’ em up experience but do not have a pal around Comix Zone is definitely a good option since you should be saving the co-op beat ’em up games for when you have a second player around anyway.
Comix Zone is a very good game with good controls, good set of moves and some good platforming and puzzles. The game is very short but its insane difficulty makes the time it takes to clear the game plenty so you are getting something for your buck here
Its presentation is fun and innovative. The comicy theme comes out great and the overall graphics are superior and the music is pretty solid too.
Just a very good game, like i said i recommend it as a good 1 player beat ’em up option.

Gameplay 8,5
Visuals 9
Music 8
Lasting appeal 8,5
Is it fun? 9

Overall 8,5 a very good game!

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