Retro Review: Comix Zone

Comix Zone

Platform: Sega Megadrive

Released: 1995

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

For my final comic related retro review I wanted to take a look at a game that has interested me for many years. It’s time to dive, quite literally, into the pages of a comic book with Comix Zone on the Sega Megadrive.

Comix Zone is one of those games that I have been aware of since it was released but for some reason only briefly played it once or twice. I think the main reason is because it was released in 1995 and by that time I had moved away from consoles and owned my beloved Amiga 500. I’ve always been intrigued by the look of the game, but for some reason it never clicked with me which is why I decided to write this review and make the video below.

You play as Sketch Turner who is a comic book artist that lives with his pet rat called Roadkill. During one stormy evening Sketch is pulled into his own comic by the evil Mortus. Mortus cannot kill Sketch in real life and the only way he can rub you out (pun very much intended) is by killing you within your own creation. It’s a cool concept and reminds me of Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child where there is a similar idea of a character being pulled into a comic and killed off by Freddy. I wonder if the makers of Comix Zone took some inspiration from the movie?

Comix Zone is a beat-em up where Sketch must battle his way through the panels of his own comic fighting creations from his own vivid imagination. The first thing I noticed about Sketch is that he is the most 90’s character ever! His pony tail, glasses, fingerless gloves, quarter length trousers and boots scream 90’s grunge and he is definitely of his time.

You can pick up different items to help you along the way but I found some elements of the gameplay to be a little frustrating. This included taking damage when you have to punch obstacles out of the way. I couldn’t find any other way to get rid of the obstacles so I found this to be a little harsh especially considering you only have one life. To be honest the gameplay is fairly mediocre as you beat up enemies, but Comix Zone is one of those games where the visuals take centre stage and you keep playing to see what happens next.

Comix Zone has a really distinctive look which for me is the main reason for playing the game. I had a big smile on my face when Sketch jumped from panel to panel of the comic, and an even bigger grin when a black and white hand suddenly appeared and drew an enemy right in front of me! Despite some flaws Comix Zone is well worth checking out and remains quite an innovative game to this day.

Graphics – Not the best graphics I’ve seen on the Megadrive, but there are some really clever touches that make it look quite unique. 7

Sound – Fairly generic music and not a patch on one of my all-time favourite beat em ups, Streets of Rage 2, but way better than Streets of Rage 3. 6

Playability – Nothing ground breaking and it plays like a standard fighting game albeit with a fantastic setting. 7

Re-Playability – Having one life makes the game quite tough indeed, but I am definitely intrigued to see if I can progress further. 7

Overall –Comix Zone has a really interesting premise and seeing enemies being drawn in front of your eyes is very cool! The gameplay is a little bit frustrating at times and there are better beat-em ups out there, but there is enough here to keep you entertained for a while. 7

Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)