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In a small gold mining town during the pioneer days in America, there lived a young boy. His birth name was Johnny. Like other small boys he had a wild imagination and a dream, to become the world's greatest hero. Johnny would spend time with the sheriff in search of adventure.
During his exploits Johnny went to a ravine where people were reported missing. After a long time of searching about for the people without incidence, Johnny gave up and started to head home. On his return trip assassins suddenly appeared and killed his horse. With the gun Johnny's father had given him gripped tightly in hand, he yelled "Come out! I'll kill you all!"
With the moment upon him, where a hero could be born, Johnny came out guns blazing. Not one shot found its intended target. And then darkness . . .
When Johnny woke up Suzuki, his father's long life friend was there. Suzuki had saved him. Johnny asked Suzuki to teach him Zipang's legendary fighting technique. Suzuki agreed to teach the ancient fighting art and so he was off to Zipang. Many years of training passed by. . .
Armed with the knowledge of the traditional gun slinging ways and the ancient fighting technique, a man returns to his home. Wielding his father's gun in his left hand and a katana sword in his right, a man seeks revenge. The boy whose birth name was Johnny is no more. The man who came home is 'ZAN', the self-pronounced Super Ultra Sexy Hero.
Zan has come home in search of these mysterious assassins. Observing an eye as an insignia, Zan discovers important information. The assassins are part of a group called the Jackal. With skill and strong desire fueled by vengeance, Zan was on a mission. A mission only a Super Ultra Sexy Hero could undertake.
Sound and Vision:
From the opening introduction sequence you could tell the game is definitely going to be unique. The lyrics for the story are very humorous. The music is actually catchy. With guitars and banjos playing the music sets the tone for the rest of the game. The dialogue for the characters was excellent. The conversation was funny, filed with emotion that added that much more to the game. The sound effects were good swords slashed, the guns banged, the explosions boomed, and the bosses made me roll on the floor with laughter.
Graphically Rising Zan was good. The opening introduction used old time black and white photographs. This was great for the western flavor the game was trying to achieve. The characters rendered were created with skillful artwork and Zan actually looks like a cowboy with a samurai flare. The women that you get to rescue looked very sexy and the bosses where colorful and hilarious.
The backgrounds had decent detail and were all depicted in 3D polys.
The biggest drawback is that the graphics tended to be on the grainy side. I suppose it is due to the lack of textures that were able to be used and still keep up the framerate and game pace. A worthy tradeoff in my book.
The controls for Zan were simple to implement. With a couple hits of the directional pad and tapping an action button you can execute a special move. It could be using the special techniques of your sword or unloading the barrels of your gun. It could even be a combination of steel and powder. Each scenario can be best utilized by one of these techniques. Defensively you can block, return a projectile, and side step.
Zan uses two types of weapons. The first is a gun called the 'Johnny No More Gun'. It was a gift from his father; specially made and given to Johnny on his birthday. The gun is a 56mm, revolver / rifle composite weapon. Zan also uses a katana sword named the 'Demon Slayer'. Legend says the sword was created out of four great swords melted together by a secret process.
Each level in the game is called an impact. The early impacts let you get used to your character. And after each successful impact completed you get ranked. The higher the rank, the more points you will get for a big surprise at the end of the game.
The training facility is very useful. This option is divided into several atriums. The Defense Atrium teaches you to block, return a moving projectile, and side step. The Jump Atrium teaches you to time your jumps. You will leap over logs and walls of fire. The Sword Atrium is the next level. It will show how to use various katana sword techniques. The Gun Atrium lets you practice locking on to a target and blasting away. At the end you will have to combine your new skills and defeat some enemies and super woodman. And when the enemy is lost you must execute an all event "button finishing" move which helps in your ranking.
Special attacks include the hit back, the charge, the slice, the hurricane, the spin, and the rush. The hit back is similar to using a baseball bat. When an enemy shoots a projectile toward you, swing and bang, the projectile flies back to the perpetrator. The charge involves blitzing forward and impaling your sword into the bad guys. The swing is a technique where the sword is swung sideways in a sweeping arc. The hurricane is effective when there are enemies all around you. Your character swings 360 degrees. The spin is similar to the hurricane except you will be doing your spin in a somersault forward. The rush is a gun skill. This enables rapid fire to make Swiss cheese out of anybody.
I found the impacts to be entertaining and easy to accomplish early on. The later impacts get a little more complicated and more hand eye coordination is needed. The only problem with that is the character sometimes does not respond quickly enough to the joystick controls. Some of the offensive moves just take too long to execute. Sometimes moving around the rooms was hard. Even though you can rotate your view via the L1 button. It was still hard to lock on to a target especially when you are jumping and running around the room.
The bosses are very colorful and distinct and the comical depiction of them already adds to the humorous main character. The supporting characters will add some amusing "T & A" for the game and don't forget, Zan is a self-proclaimed sexy hero. The whole premise is all very amusing!
This is a 1 disk game for 1 Player. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).
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