Genre: Turn Strategy
Software House: Bandai
Playable by non japanese speakers? yes
This little forgotten game, created by Bandai in the far 1984 for the
Fujitsu FM-77 machine, is very important. Why, you may ask? It’s
important because it’s the most ancient ancestor of the popular Super
Robot Taisen (or Super Robot Wars) saga, a turn based strategy serie of
games, started in the far 1990 on the Game Boy, involving robots and
characters from japanese animation which is still running today, and is
the first experiment in mixing anime characters and turn based strategy.
The game is based on the character that spawned the “super robot”
legacy and is an important milestone in japanese animation and mangas:
Mazinger Z by Go Nagai.
Mazinger started as a comic on the page of the famous Shonen Jump in
Japan and it’s popularity brought to the creation of an animated serie.
Both the comic and the serie had an immense success and influence.
The animated serie, created in the early ’70, was one of the first to
introduce to a mass audience the concept of mixing man and machines
(the giant Mazinger behaviour is often an extent of it’s pilot inner
state) and to expose the strange, yet fascinating, view of Nagai
regarding moral: Good and Evil are separated and are fighting with each
other but Good must sometimes mix with Evil and face it’s darker side in
order to triumph. A theme already faced much more deeply by Nagai in
other works, like the fabolous Mao Dante or it’s spiritual successor
Devilman (1972), both born on the pages of the aforementioned Shonen
Magazine in Japan.
The comic was different from it’s televisive trasposition but was
equally fascinating, having a bit dark humor in it and showing a bit
more on the erotical side (an element still very light in Mazinger Z),
for which Nagai is very famous.
After this brief introduction to the character, let’s speak about the game.
After patiently loading the tape in our trusted XM7 emulator, we are
presented with a primitive but nice title screen, which shows our
beloved super robot in all of it’s glory.
Then we must select the difficulty level between 1 and 5 and wait a
bit for the map to be randomly generated. The game does not feature a
plot or progressive levels, like a lot of games of the era it aims to
provide an “infinite” replay value. Remember that the game was released
When the map is created, we start as Mazinger in the square occupied
by the Photon Lab. The graphics are very minimalistic and raw, Mazinger
it’s so tiny that is barely recognizable, the same goes for the
mechanical monsters (which rarely appear on the map).
On the map, we can perform three type of actions: Move (with F1) in
the selected direction (with numerical pad) for one square, Attack (with
F2) but for doing so we need to be close to the attacked square or to
the mechanical monster, and Repair/Resupply (with F3) if we are on the
After the first 2-3 turns you will receive a message which signals
which square is attacked by the enemy. The goal of the game is to avoid
the total destruction of the cities and the photon lab (indicated by the
% under the blue writing at the bottom of the screen) or the
destruction of Mazinger and destroy the enemy. That’s it.
When facing an enemy we have a nice view of Mazinger facing his
mechanical foe and we can attack or move, strangely these commands are
in english. If Mazinger is hit the damaged part will be shown on the
screen. If the legs are 100% damaged you won’t be able to move left or
right. Also you won’t be able to use some weapons if some of your parts
are 100% damaged or if you run out of ammo. When pressing 0 to attack,
you can select the weapon of choice (rocket punch, breast fire etc) but
be careful to not run out of ammo.
The game is very hard and unforgiving and it’s very easy to get
Mazinger destroyed. The first games will surely be frustating but once
you’ll get accostumed to the game mechanics Mazinger Z will provide some
basic but rewarding fun.
This title will provide the fundation for more refined other turn
strategy games based on popular anime series, like Aura Battler Dunbine
for MSX, Mobile Suit Gundam for PC-88, Mobile Suit Gundam Hyper Classic
Operations for FM-Towns and others. It’s historical importance must not
I would be glad to write about these titles one day, if i’ll have the opportunity to do so.
I hope you enjoyed the review
HOW TO START
Type load and press enter
Type run and press enter
Gameplay Video 1/2
Gameplay Video 2/2