Fans of excellent Turbografx-16 shoot-em-up Air Zonk will undoubtedly be intrigued by this sequel which was released in the latter years of the console for the CD-Rom attachment. Given the CD format, it would be fair to expect the sequel to be a vast improvement over the HuCard original, but sadly, this is not the case.
In this version, Zonk’s buddies - Team Cool - have been captured by nasty King Drool. When they are rescued, the assist the player with taking down the big boss waiting at the end of each stage. Rather than using power-ups, as in the first game, you are now reliant on finding one of your buddies so you can use their special firepower. Also, you can now hold down the action button to do a charge shot, which is a welcome addition. The playability is as good as ever in Super Air Zonk. The action is fast and furious but you always feel in control. The enemies and bosses are very humorous and some of them will make you crack a wry smile.
The original had some lovely multi-layered scrolling backgrounds that even rivalled competitors like Thunderforce IV on the Megadrive. Sadly, the parallax scrolling was thrown out of the window for the sequel, which is a shame as it makes the backdrops appear much flatter. It’s not the end of the world though; the foreground characters still look super and after playing for a while you are unlikely to care about the backgrounds. The in-game music is an interesting mix of piano and electric guitar. This is one of the things to really benefit from the CD format. It’s a great soundtrack albeit very zany! Think Parodius and you are not far off.
On the whole, Super Air Zonk fails to really improve on the original. For die-hard Air Zonk fans it is definitely worth a look but the original is 200 Wii points cheaper and takes up far fewer blocks on your Wii’s internal memory. For a unique game like Gate of Thunder a higher price and memory requirements might be easier to swallow, but for a sequel that is really more of the same it is harder to justify.