To put it nicely, I didn’t enjoy this game at all. Part of it wasn’t the game’s fault, as my copy kept glitching and crashing. I tried cleaning it, blowing in it, and asking it nicely. Nothing seemed to work, and the parts of the game I experienced weren’t that great.
The technical problems aside, this is one of the games I think I might have liked when I was younger. However, I don’t think it would have been something I would play for long, playing it today. You can say that about many Game Boy games because that was the experience they offered, for the most part. These were games designed to fill those periods of downtime in your day. If you were an adult, I remember playing them during movie time during class.
I had never heard of Fortified Zone before I was collecting games. Granted, the news I got about video games didn’t always extend into the Game Boy unless it was something outstanding like Pokemon or Final Fantasy Legend II.
TLDR: This isn’t a game I liked, and I think this is one of the worst games JALECO published that I’ve played.
History of the Game
There isn’t much to say here. It was an original game made for the Game Boy, and JALECO released it in 1991. I’m not sure why it wasn’t ported to another system.
This was apparently the first entry in a series. Most of the games didn’t get released outside of Japan. This is something I always thought was strange. Why release only one game in a series, or why rename a game that is part of a series? This happened with this series as the SNES installment was renamed Operation Logic Bomb.
It looks like Metal Gear, Plays like Trash
Fortified Zone reminds me of Metal Gear but isn’t as cheap. You have a top-down view, moving your character through a series of rooms. There is no jungle scene, at least not one I could find, and you can jump over some traps.
It’s a familiar style of gameplay. It just isn’t something I liked. Some rooms seem to be dead ends, very few enemies on the screen, and some shooting angles, which are more annoying than they need to be. I wouldn’t say I like this style of run and gun shooters.
If you look at the port of Contra on the Game Boy, it gives the player a much better experience. Fortified Zone looks like it should be Metal Gear on the NES or the not so sequel Snakes Revenge, and it just isn’t that. It probably would have been better if it followed the same gameplay as Contra instead of this.
There are two playable characters, each with its strengths and weaknesses. One thing I found interesting was how you have to switch between your two playable characters. It feels a bit forced, in my opinion. One player can jump, and the other can use special weapons. I hate when games do this. It can make the game enjoyable, but for the most part, it just makes me wonder, “why did you do it this way!”
You can collect special weapons, which can only be used by one character. You can also pick up different power-ups. These are pretty standard for this type of game. You can get a spread gun, rocket launcher, chain gun, flame throwers, hand grenades, and med packs.
It looks okay
For a Game Boy game, Fortified Zone looks okay. It seems like a base that has a bunch of rooms. It works for this type of game. I was playing this on the Game Boy Pocket. I’m not sure how it would look on the Game Boy Color or the Super Game Boy.
Fortified Zone’s Story
There isn’t much to say here. It does have a story, not sure why, but it does have a story. You play as two mercenaries who infiltrate a fortified base or zone, and you have to blow it up. Why? Who knows, and who cares?
This is a lot like an arcade game. I’m not sure why it wasn’t an arcade game. It feels like they didn’t know what they wanted to make and ended up making this.
When I first tried this game, I thought it could be fun. However, after all the technical issues and the little of the game I got to experience, I still think it could have been fun. Back in 1991, it probably would have been a good game. Going back to play this now, I didn’t enjoy it.
Fortified Zone feels like it was JALECO trying to do something close to Metal Gear but having no idea what made Metal Gear fun. We end up with something between Metal Gear, Ikari Warriors, and Contra. It feels like parts of a game I would like to play.
If this had just picked one game to emulate/ripoff/be inspired by, then it would have been better.