Air Zonk

TurboGrafx 16

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


The TurboGrafx was a console that hit at the wrong time. Where completely oddball and outlandish titles can gain a following and be successful in today’s market with some Internet exposure, games like Air Zonk simply weren’t “American” enough to grab hold of a wide audience. Looking back, this is a lost gem.

Having loose connections with the Bonk series, this futuristic horizontal shooter is as off the wall as they come. Zonk flies through various locales, firing off weapons like metallic dentures, boxing gloves, or something slightly more acceptable, rockets. Power-ups are prevalent, and the clean graphics, particularly in the backdrops, elevate this one above other typical shooter fare.

Aside from the extended final level, this is a nice entry point for new shooter fans, aside from the quirkiness. It’s simple for most of the game, with simple to pop enemies and typical boss patterns. It’s quite casual and easy to get into because of it, while the catchy soundtrack follows along behind the action.

In addition to playing around with a number of available standard weapons, Zonk can bring along a secondary character to deal out some extra damage. Each has a specific trait, though their purpose is always to take down as many incoming foes as possible. They only differ in how that task is performed, and the player can sit back while they go to work knowing they can handle their own.

Slowdown is uncommon, and this is a title that throws a lot at the player. Zonk showcases some superb multi-tiered backgrounds, making the sprite count all the more impressive. It doesn’t bring any revolutionary mechanics along with it, settling in purely on solid design and its quirky style.

While there are a monumental amount of shooters on the console (including some of the best the genre has ever seen), Air Zonk is relevant purely based on its style and calming difficulty. It’s a worthwhile entry, and even though the connections are loose at best, it’s a fine addition to the Bonk franchise.


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Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 10:03 PM