ZANAC [AI]
game Cover
game cartridge
ザナック
Game Designed By Compile
Produced By All
Presented By Pony Inc.
Copyright ©1986 PONY INC.
Release: 1986-11-28 (¥2900)
DiskCard L29V5906(PNF-ZAN)
Shooter / Vertical

American Version
country
Released in America (Cartridge) as
ZANAC
( NES-ZA-USA )
Zanac [AI] is a vertical shooter by Compile and conversion of a game originally released for the MSX in 1986. Humanity is under attack from an otherworldly force - many millenniums ago, an alien race created a device called the "System" which is now threatening Earth. As a last resort against the unknown force, the AFX-6502 Zanac fighter is sent out to put a stop to the invasion. The weapon system is what makes the fighter such an unstoppable war machine - the initial primary laser gun can be upgraded in all kinds of ways. Although collecting yellow floating orbs (usually hidden inside blue bunkers) increases its fire-power, eight secondary weapons types are available for the picking (indicated by flashing number pods). They consist of All Range Weapon, Straight Crusher, Field Shutter, Circular, Vibrator, Rewinder, Plasma Flash and High Speed. The goal of the game is to destroy the main central base located at the end of the game, but countless other bosses (all anchored to the ground) are scattered around each level - they are all made out of several core-units that need to be destroyed to proceed. But the essence of the game lies in its unique automatic level of difficulty, hence the [AI] suffix next to the game's title. The strength and amount of enemies on screen change in function of the player's skill level - the better the player performs, the more difficult the game becomes.
Related
Non-direct relation : Super Aleste (Sfc)
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Zanad & Zanac Ex (MSX)
Zanac AI was originally released for the MSX in 1986. Zanac Ex for the MSX 2 followed the same year and can be seen as an enhanced version of the original. It featured a smoother vertical scrolling and full screen action (the original was marred by a choppy scrolling and a large status bar that eat up 20% of the screen). Zanac Ex is overall a lot closer to the Famicom version tested here. Although Aleste (and the Aleste series, see Super Aleste) is considered to be a sequel to Zanac (and they do share a lot in common), the only 'real' successor to the original game was Zanac X Zanac released for the Playstation in 2001. The game was most certainly made to commemorate Zanac's 15th year anniversary and included the first Zanac and a new and exclusive Zanac Neo.

Teaser text from the American version:
The "system" was created by an organic intelligence body many millenniums ago and began attacking the human race. The earth was thrown into turmoil with only one hope for salvation. Fighter model AFX-6502 ZANAC was perfected by the 256th Riot Fleet to ward off the enemy system. It's your job, as ZANAC, to save the human race. Using eight special weapons and secret power forces buried along the way. guide ZANAC through twelve screens of enemy creatures to victory.
Exclusive Power Play Feature
ZANAC's ALC (Automatic Level of Difficulty Control Function) controlled by AI (Artificial Intelligence) is an exclusive feature which change the strength and quality of the enemy according to the pattern of the attack and player's skill level. The enemy's location also varies game by game. This feature is unique to ZANAC. So playing ZANAC, the fastest, most advanced space game, is like playing a new game every time.

Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :

CONGRATULATIONS !
YOU ARE THE MESSIAH OF EARTH.
STAFF
Game Design
Jemini
Janus
Moo
Program
Jemini
Music
Miyamoto
Graphics
Janus
Test Play
Mnc Nui
Wao Isee
Yoriki

PRODUSED BY All
CREATED BY COMPILE


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Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook


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Zanac Manual Comic Book
Click on picture to enlarge

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Continue (Japanese version):
On the title screen, hold Select and press Start.





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Zanac [AI] is a terrific shooter! Although Compile is definitively better known for its Puyo Puyo puzzle series, it earned itself a reputable name among shooter fans for also creating some of finest and fastest straight shooters ever made. Levels in Zanac are somewhat varied despite some obvious repetitive environments and backgrounds. But the great appeal of the game lies is its incredible pace, with hundreds of enemy ships trying to atomize you in countless formations and attack patterns. Some stages, such as the first one, are also literally huge and feature multiple bosses. The gameplay and control system are perfect, and the fact that the game cleverly reacts to your overall performance also adds a huge replay value to the mix. All in all, Zanac is an intense and exhausting shooter, thanks to its incredible length and cleverly designed (and unique) difficulty level. A brilliant and challenging game.




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