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SECTION Z, SIDEARMS, FORGOTTEN WORLDS : During the 1980's Capcom specialised in shooters starring various lone heroes on jet pacs.. culminating in the classic Forgotten Worlds!

Here are three great little Capcom shooters which have aged surprisingly well, rather dated graphics aside (altough Forgotten World's visuals still stand up to scrutiny). Section Z is a good, progressive 'memory'-shooter with some tricky and nicely designed levels (one section has you stuck inside a giant 'pinball' machine!), Sidearms has some great weapons and a visual style very reminiscent of (copied from?) Konami's Gradius and Salamander games, and Forgotten Worlds introduced the 'Weapon Shop' feature and contains some the most well designed, visually impressive bosses of the three games. All are still remarkably playable after all these years (in MAME) and would have made a good retro-pack in Capcom's Generations series of re-releases if Capcom themeslves had gotten round to it.. ;)



The first of Capcom's 'Jet-Pack Hero' shooters!
Section Z starred one 'Captain Commando' - Capcom's one-time official mascot - who would later appear in the scrolling beat 'em up of then same name (minus the rocket pack..). Your mission was to penetrate the planetary base of the evil
Balangool Empire, through each section divided into sections A through to Section Z - and the final confrontation with the arch-nemesis, the 'L-Brain'. Though fairly basic both visually and play-wise, this horizontal-scrolling shooter was still rather engaging (similar in feel to the original Darius IMO). A very much remixed NES version (more of a Metroid-style shooter-exploration game) was released three years later in 1988.

(ABOVE) Rather nice original artwork for the US arcade game
(ABOVE LEFT) NES version coverscans,
click to enlarge.


More Sidearms screenshots
coming soon..


Sequel to Section Z and probably the fastest and most out-and-out 'twitch' shooter of the three games. Sidearms added a two-player mode and better weapons while retaining the feel of it's predecessor. I wasn't a huge Sidearms fan in the arcades (probably because I was playing 1942 and Nemesis most of the time) but in retrospect it's a pretty good game.. if a little repetitive stage-wise - there are only 3 or 4 different types of boss seemingly re-used ad-infinitum. Still, it has a good reaction-shooter 'feel', some great weapon powerups (selectable from a menu-bar a la Gradius) and some very catchy music.. the background midi on this page is from Sidearms.

The last, and for me, most interesting game of the 'series', Forgotten Worlds started with the immortal words "You can not stop me with Paramecium alone!" from one of its protagonists.. Hmmm. OK then.. One of the first Capcom CPS1 shooters, the game cast you as one of a pair of 'Psyonic' soldiers fighting back against an evil War God and his reptillian henchmen. The 'Forgotten Worlds' of the title were made up of eight diverse and unique stages, each with its own set-piece boss - many of which are most impressive for the period this game was released (1988). FW did away with the one-hit-death policy of the previous games and introduced a player life-bar, another interesting feature was the 'Weapon Shop' - the player could collect floating cash ('Zenny') to spend here on better firepower, extra health and shields. This feature which would later become commonplace in many 16-bit computer shooters ie. Retrograde (C64), Xenon 2, X-Out and Blood Money (Amiga). Many home conversions of the game were released, including C64, Mega Drive and a great Turbografix CD version. A definite Capcom classic!

More Capcom faves soon

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