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"Zanac AI" (Famicom Disk System)

You're likely thinking, "Wow, a game titled Zanac—the perfect name for a prescription drug that your doctor doesn't recommend you take." I had that same thought, but at the same time, you probably wouldn't think it's the title of a shoot 'em up that's voted at the most difficult game for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System console. Let's have a look:

The intro and the game music are quite intense; It gets your adrenaline going but it's not annoying to where you gradually lose concentration of the game. The controls seem self-explanatory: the A button repeatedly gets your fighter/ship to fire bullets, while the B button casts special power-ups that can eliminate all enemies on the screen, block projectiles heading toward your direction and/or use bombs to wipe out even the most subtle enemies. Graphically, the game is quite colorful and I strongly recommend playing this on any upscaler you may have, or any third-party console that outputs HD. Believe me, it's worth the experience of having every pixel vividly pop out giving you an almost life-like image, let alone the fun, crisp sound of the music. This is one of those games where you want to maximize all that it can provide and enhancing it by today's standards (frankly, I've never played this game on a 4K/8K television so I don't have any advice for those wanting to play on such TVs).

The fast pace of this game requires extreme attention and responsive reflexes. Because it is faster paced than titles like 1943 and/or TwinBee, it may explain why the game is so difficult and frustrating. Some enemies and bosses are ruthless, shooting projectiles in every direction. Now, yes, the intensity of this game will truly test who really is a sharp, diligent video gamer, but it is one of those games where you'll get so angry you'll cuss and swear aloud. In contrast, the game brings you the feeling of not wanting to quit, despite that losing brings you back to the very first stage—first area.

Let's have my sample gameplay do the talking:

Did the best I could, but I would love to have another shot at it.

Because it's a difficult game doesn't mean it's bad, as we've mentioned before. Games like this really challenges the video gamer, balancing between subtle moves and going head-on full-attack mode. The power-ups should suffice and help you out through the area, but again, the best advice is not to die. Always be wary of your surroundings because you never know if a projectile crept into your path while shooting everything in your path. Also, given how colorful the backgrounds are, it could visually obstruct bullets and enemies confusing the video gamer if something is going against you or is just part of the background.

Since this game relies on getting as much points as you can, rewarding you with extra lives as you progress, the challenge is very fun. After reviewing this, I have a good feeling this will make its way back into the spotlight with fellow retro video gamers live streaming this on their next broadcast(s). Enjoy the challenge, everyone! Highly recommended!





  • Great shoot-em-up game.
  • The music gets you going.
  • Controls are very good.
  • A great game to compliment other shoot-em-up titles like "1942" and "1943."
  • Would have been nice to see more of this game on other consoles.
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Game Title Zanac
Description ????
ISBN / Bar Code number ????
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) / Full Screen
Audio Format Stereo
Disk/Cartridge Count One (1)
Language(s) English
Genre Action, Shoot 'em Up
Rated ????
Region NTSC
Specification Color
Licensed by Nintendo
Developer Compile / Pony Canyon
Item Number ????
Released November 18, 1986 (JP)
Copyright Copyright © 1986 Pony Inc.
Other Formats Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, iOS
Quoted Reviews --
Other --
Game designed by Compile
Produced by All
Presented by Pony Inc.

Copyright © 1986 Pony Inc.


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