ago, I brought you all the news that there was a sequel to Kung Fu,
and that more likely than not, you probably never played it. Well
today, I've come bearing yet another overlooked sequel. In some ways,
it's quite similar to the Kung Fu series, principally because of the
whole martial arts thing, but at the same time, it has a style all its
own. I think you'll see what I mean as I present you with Zero the
you make it to the title screen, you can tell that this game is going
to kick ass because just as the music starts up, you're hit with a
very enthusiastic, Bruce Lee-ish
martial arts scream. That's from the
titular character, and it's his way of welcoming you to his own
personal game. But what the heck is going on here, you ask? What could
there be in the way of a story for an action game featuring an
anthropomorphic squirrel with heavy Japanese overtones? All I can say
is thank god for opening cinematics:
receives a telegram from his forest homeland stating that a villainous
lumberjack named Jacques LeSheets is cutting down all the trees for
his paper factory. To make matters worse, he's cutting them down to
print counterfeit money at his factory. To make matters even worse,
he's also kidnapped Amy (the Girlfriend Squirrel). What's a squirrel
to do? Well, for starters, he has to tell his evil circus-themed boss
Ektor that he has to abandon his evil schemes for a bit to go save the
forest. Ektor isn't big on vacations for his henchmen and tells Zero
that he can't leave. Zero's response is simple:
Now that's definitive!
this game is a spin-off of the Aero the Acro-Bat series, in which you
control an anthropomorphic bat circus performer in what is an equally
bizarre spectacle. Therein, Zero was one of the villains, and now he
has his own game, not unlike the Red Devil from the Ghosts and Goblins
series, and also not unlike the Red Devil, Zero's game is slightly
darker in its execution than the source material. It's not exactly
bleak and goth like the Gargoyle's Quest games, but it's slightly more
mature, hence the MA-13 rating (Sorry everyone 12 and under).
Enough background. Let's get to the good stuff: A quick trip to the
options menu will show you that though the game only uses the old
three-button configuration of the older Genesis games, those three
buttons are packed with a number of different moves/abilities, and
every single one of them relates in some way to you handing out ass-kickings.
The A button is the loafer of the bunch, with only one move tied to
it: the shuriken toss.
standard stuff, really. Except that Zero can carry hundreds of the
little things and can throw them with such force that they ricochet
off of walls, ceilings, floors, any of you garden variety surfaces.
The B button, on the other hand, is positively crammed with features.
Jumping is a given for games of this type, and having a double jump is
double handy, particularly when it's a flip that bowl over those pesky
airborne enemies. More importantly, however, "B" also contains two of
Zero's more devastating combat moves. The first is his nunchaku:
flick of the nunchaku, a hearty karate yell for good measure, and the
bad guys will be screaming for mercy. The kind of mercy that squirrels
don't have. I know that last part ended with a preposition, but that's
just how Zero is: Merciless. Don't try to think about it.
Anyway, the other important move you get from B button is the swoop:
where we start to see that he is really Zero, the Kamikaze Flying
Squirrel. You could use this move for just about anything, whether
you're trying to hit an obnoxious (or as some might say, squirrelly)
enemy, or just trying to recover from a botched jump. Not that I've
ever needed it for the latter, but you could use it for that in
You'll see a continuation of this theme in the case of button number
C. In addition to the swoop, Zero can also pull off an even more
spectacular parabolic flight with a move called the Super Dive. All
you need is a goodly amount of vertical space to build up sufficient
speed and you're well on your way to getting your pilot's license.
Just be careful about pulling off such fancy maneuvers in tight
That's where the "kamikaze" part of his name comes into play.
he's off, hell bent on getting his sweetheart back and saving his
beloved forest. Normally, getting there would be no problem at all,
but Zero winds up getting his plane wrecked, not by crashing it into a
battleship, but by getting it shot down by a mysterious, unseen
sniper, who continues to hound him throughout the game.
no skin off his nose. Menacing gunmen and bizarre enemies like
partially-hatched eggs and grown men in beanie caps are just another
part of everyday life when you're a squirrel trained in the art of
But wait, there's more! Sure, the enemy may have nixed the Kamikaze
Squirrel's Zero, but they forgot all about his jetski and speedboat:
make for a fantastic ride, whether you're zipping down a curiously
whirlpool-enriched river, or just taking a scenic trip down a stinking
cascade of toxic waste (the cartoon-ish, glowing green toxic waste,
not the real life, lymphoma-inducing kind).
And of course, all this is saying nothing about his jetpack...
So then, why have you never heard of this game despite it being a fun
platform game with some catchy tunes and a vicious flying squirrel? I
don't know. Maybe it's just you. Maybe your parents didn't want you,
an impressionable young man or woman, to have your mind polluted with
this kind of cartoon violence. Then again, maybe it was because
Sunsoft didn't do much with the game because they decided to make the
previously mentioned Acro-Bat their mascot. Maybe if they had decided
to crank out another Zero game back when there was a barrage of
remakes for the GBA in the late 90s, early 00s. But no, they wanted to
make another Aero the Acro-Bat back then, and it never got off the
ground. Come on, Sunsoft, how much clearer can the fans make it:
THEY WANT MORE OF THE KAMIKAZE SQUIRREL!!!
Perhaps the third dimension will have some new openings for Zero, or
maybe he has a future on the DS. Imagine, flying through the trees,
hurling shuriken, and kneecapping lumberjacks with a flick of the
stylus. And you could include a special stylus in the shape of a small
pair of nunchaku. The marketing practically writes itself.
Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel! ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ZERO THE KAMIKAZE SQUIRREL!]
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