Thursday, May 06, 2021

Old Video Games: Flight of the Amazon Queen

Since I'm on a point-and-click adventure kick, let's discuss another forgotten title from the 90s.

1995's Flight of the Amazon Queen is a LucasArts style adventure game released for MS-DOS and the Amiga not made by LucasArts. Instead, this was the product of a small Australian studio called Interactive Binary Illusions. Their previous game was 1993's well regarded action platformer Halloween Harry (later renamed to Alien Carnage) co-developed with SubZero Software and published by Apogee back in the Duke Nukum (not a typo) 1 & 2 days. Led by by John Passfield and Steve Stamatiadis and released by British publisher Renegade Software, Amazon Queen was Interactive Binary Illusions' second, and final game.

It was not the end for Passfield and Stamatiadis, who would form Gee Whiz! Entertainment in 1996 and produced two games, Zombie Wars (a sequel to Alien Carnage) and Mike Stewart's Pro Bodyboarding (a sports game about bodyboarding. Professionally) before the studio joined with Robert Walsh to form Krome Studios Pty Ltd. In 1999.


Krome would release a number of licensed titles during the PS2/GameCube/Xbox era, but also handled the first 2 games of the Spyro the Dragon reboot and developed an original mascot platformer of their own: Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. In 2006, Krome acquired Melbourne House Studio, which had once been prolific 8- and 16-bit console game developer Beam Software, and renamed the studio to Krome Studios Melbourne.

Financial troubles shut down Krome Melbourne in 2010, but Krome revived in 2012 with new games in the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series (and subsequent remasters), and recently handled remaster duties for The Bard's Tale Trilogy and Wasteland Remastered, both for inXile Entertainment. Passfield left the company in 2005, but Stamatiadis is still with Krome, as far as I can tell.

The reason for the history lesson is because 1) its neat, and 2) it means Flight of the Amazon Queen is an early step in a lengthy and respectable career for the Aussie developers, who are still kicking around.

As for Amazon Queen itself, the game's prologue starts at the 11th hour of 1949 and clicks over to 1950. WWII has been over for a while, and dashing pilot-for-hire Joe King has a gig to fly blonde film star Faye Russel into the jungle for a photo shoot. Misfortune strikes and his plane, The Amazon Queen, crashes in the jungle, and Joe finds himself swept up in the schemes of Floda, a lederhosen company that's a front for the totally-not-a-Nazi-scientist-hiding-in-Brazil Dr. Frank Ironstein, who's mad goal is to transform Amazon warrior women into dinosaurs so he can take over the world. To do that, he needs to rescue Azura, the beautiful princess of the Amazons.

I say “LucasArts style” because the comedy runs deep in this game and there are no dead end fail states like the “Sierra style.” The adventure itself is inspired heavily by Indiana Jones, with Joe as a fast talking, baseball loving chad of an adventurer with a mechanic sidekick named sparky. There's also jet packs, dinosaurs, the Grim Reaper, zombies, an Abbott & Costello reference, a gorilla who shouldn't be in South America and he knows it, and a crystal skull plot macguffin 13 years before Indiana Jones touched on the same concept. This is a game set in the Pulp era and embraces it wholeheartedly, and the pulp elements aren't played for laughs, either. The amazon princess is even a redhead, as is traditional for the pulps.

The interface is fairly standard for adventure games of the era, with context buttons and a mildly annoying inventory. The puzzles aren't too squirrelly by 90's adventure game standards, and the trial and error system is pretty forgiving. There is a little too much going back and forth, and some of the screens only have one or two things to interact with.

Contemporary reviews were hard on the graphics, calling them dated, which I don't agree with. They might not be as strong as contemporaries like King's Quest VII or Full Throttle, but the art is clean, the backgrounds are great, and there are some really nice animations. The lighting on Joe even changes as he walks under trees, which is a great touch.

The audio stands out even better. The main theme is really solid, but its the voice cast that really shines. A glance at IMDB shows a list of professional actors with solid careers as secondary and character actors. The biggest name of the cast is William Hootkins, who played Jek Porkins in Star Wars (and had a long career in voice work as well). The cast is fantastic. They've got the right balance of self-aware camp and earnest Gee Whiz attitude for a story about a German scientist turning women into dinosaurs.

I can't say enough nice things about Flight of the Amazon Queen. It's solid pulpy fun with an earnest sense of humor that clearly loves its source inspirations and doesn't overstay its welcome. I liked Lure of the Temptress, but I loved my time with Amazon Queen.

The game was released as freeware in 2004 and runs just fine in the ScummVM emulator, so you have absolutely no excuse to play it. Because if you don't want to see the hero kiss an amazon princess on an airship flight into the sunset after watching a giant crystal skull powered robot punch a giant dinosaur man in the face, then Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is over thataway.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Old Video Games: Lure of the Temptress


Classic point-and-click adventure games have two titans that loom large because of just how many successes they had: Sierra On-Line and LucasArts.

This isn't about them.

Other adventure game developers existed alongside those titans. Some of them, like Revolution Software, continue to exist, outliving both of the big two.

Best known for the Broken Sword series of adventure games, Revolution was founded in 1989 by British game developers Charles Cecil, Tony Warriner, David Sykes and Noirin Carmody.

Cecil and Warriner got their start in the mid-80s working at Artic Computing, an English studio active during the British microcomputer boom (think systems like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad CPC). Artic folded in 1986 and after a few years working at other companies, Revolution was founded.

1992's Lure of the Temptress was the company's first product: a fantasy point-and-click adventure game slightly reminiscent of King's Quest and with a cheeky sense of humor reminiscent of The Secret of Monkey Island, though less wacky and more British in its comedy. Released for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, and MS-DOS computer systems, it was a solid hit for the company and paved the way for more ambitious projects.

The game's setup is told in a gorgeous intro cinematic that explains that a good king had united the land and on a hunting trip, hired the peasant protagonist, Diermot, to flush out game for them. Suddenly, the unnamed king learns of an evil sorceress named Selena who has conquered a town and threatens the kingdom. The king's men ride to battle, only to be cut down by Selena's orc-like henchmen, the monstrous Skorl. Diermot is captured during the battle, and awakens in a prison cell, where the game begins.

Revolution developed the Virtual Theatre engine for their games, which aside from the regular pointing and clicking, also allowed the NPC characters populating the world to wander around and interact with each other for greater immersion than simply standing in one place waiting to be talked to by the protagonist.

This is good and bad because while the verisimilitude is appreciated, the game also has you track down specific NPCs to talk to in order to proceed, and it can be frustrating trying to track them down.

After escaping the dungeon with the help of a jester named Ratpouch, Diermot has to explore the village of Turnvale, its castle and a nearby cave to find a way to stop Selena from conquering the rest of the kingdom.

The interface is quite good. Left click to look at something, right click to bring up a menu of options like talking, pulling, using, etc). The game also gives you companions that can follow you around and Diermot can even give them somewhat complicated orders which are necessary for some puzzles.

Unfortunately, the character pathfinding, at least on the DOS version available on for free, is a mess. Its very finicky getting an NPC follower to do something because you have to stand right next to them at exactly the right spot to trigger the dialogue. Not impossible, just irritating.

With the stakes of an evil sorceress with an army of monsters threatening the kingdom, the actual scope of the game is quite small. Cozy, even. Turnvale is a nice little town, which is good, because you will spend a lot of time walking back and forth across it. The townspeople all have engaging personalities, and even ones like Gwyn, the town gossip who has no direct bearing on any puzzles, provides story hints and clues if you keep talking to her.

As a protagonist, Diermot is a lunk, but a likable one. Ratpouch is funny for a little while, then his pathfinding wears out its welcome as he constantly ends up underfoot.

The GOG version uses the SCUMMVM emulator to run, which apparently has buggy audio and there's an annoying alarm bell sound that played constantly in the town as I was exploring it. Apparently the issue doesn't happen if the game is run in DOS-Box. From what I've seen online, the Amiga version seems to run the best with the best sound, but I have no experience with Amiga emulation to have a firsthand opinion on it. This being an early 90's game made by a brand new studio with hardly any budget, there is no voice dialogue in any of the versions.

The writing and artwork are solid in all the versions I've seen, and the game has a very quaint and cozy atmosphere that allows the tone to jump between flippant dialogue with a Conan the Barbarian type of adventurer in a bar to trying to save an innocent shopkeeper from being executed by the Skorl. Like Sierra games, Diermot can get game overs in many ways, but its not the parade of Save-Die-Reload Save that King's Quest has. Only a few puzzles have built in limitations like time limits you don't necessarily know about, like the wine barrel puzzle, but overall its fairly forgiving for an early 90s adventure game.

Lure of the Temptress was a hit in England and paved the way for Revolution to make bigger games, like Beneath a Steel Sky and the Broken Sword series. Its a pleasant little game with some ambitions that occasionally exceed its grasp, like the NPC pathfinding. The writing and art style are good, the music isn't great played through SCUMMVM, but it wasn't a dealbreaker. I liked it, but it wasn't mind blowing. It is freeware, so I definitely recommend it, at least for a try.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Shin Super Robot Sunday Gaiden: 8 Man and Cyborg 009


As mentioned last time, I'm going to be doing smaller posts for series/stories that aren't about Giant Robots, but are still relevant to the overall development of Mecha concepts; cyborgs, space operas, weird sci-fi concepts, that sort of thing. These are meant to be sidebars, a gaiden, if you will. (Astro Boy, which was hugely influential in the early days of anime, and still is, was briefly discussed in the Ambassador Magma post).  

Starting off, there was the first Japanese Cyborg Superhero: 8 Man. (or Eightman). The creation of science fiction and manga author Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. 8 Man was their most significant original creation, but both creators would work on adaptations of Western superheroes. Kuwata worked on the Batman manga in the 1960s and Hirai became the main writer for the dark and gritty Spider-Man manga of the 1970s. 

8 Man tells the story of detective Hachiro Azuma, who was shot dead by a thug (in the manga) and run over by a car (in the anime). Either way, he dies, and his consciousness is transferred to a robot body by Professor Tani. Reborn as a cyborg cop who is affiliated with the police, but not officially, he assumes the name 8 Man, because there are seven investigation units in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and 8 Man is effectively a one-man precinct. It also played on a contemporary police drama called “Seven Detectives.” 

At any rate, 8 Man is a human-sized cyborg who can run at super speed, his eyes can work as searchlights that can detect infrared and radioactive materials, energy emitting, disguises, and other abilities. He had vulnerability to intense heat and electricity, and would have to regularly smoke energy cigarettes which also helped cool down his reactor. The manga ran in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1963-1966 and led to an anime adaptation directed by Haruyuki Kawajima produced by TCJ which aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from November 07 1963 to December 31 1964 for a total of 56 episodes. The anime was brought over to the US as Tobor The 8th Man in 1965.

Cyborg 009 is one of Shotaro Ishinomori's first major breakout successes, and next to Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, one of the pillars of Japanese superhero franchises created by him. 
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, young Joe Shimamura was kidnapped by the sinister Black Ghost and his criminal empire and was turned into the ninth in a series of cyborgs. Joe, as Cyborg 009, has super strength, durability, jumping, swimming, and can activate a super speed “acceleration mode.” Joe and the other cyborgs (each with their own powers and exaggerated features) rebel against Black Ghost and escape with the help of Dr. Gilmore, waging a war against the organization and then fighting other bizarre threats against the world. 

The initial manga series debuted in Weekly Shōnen King on July 19, 1964 and ultimately ran across several magazines until 1981. On July 21, 1966, the first anime movie (eponymously called Cyborg 009) was released, followed by a second movie, Cyborg 009: Monster Wars, which released on March 19, 1967. This was followed by an anime TV series which ran from April 5, 1968 to September 27, 1968 for a total of 26 episodes. Toei Animation handled the work of all three projects. 
Both series were quite successful, and would see continuations and revivals over the years, though Cyborg 009 is certainly the more popular of the two. In July 2020, the crossover manga 8 Man vs Cyborg 009 began running in Champion RED magazine, bringing the two cyborg hero franchises together.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Shin Super Robot Sunday: Go! Greenman (1973)

Twice I've tried to write this post, and twice the power went out for multiple hours making it impossible. That finally ends today. 
Before Zone Fighter, Toho's first tokusatsu superhero was a red and white alien who could grow to gigantic size and defended Earth from monsters. No, of course he's not an Ultraman ripoff, he's Godman. 

He has a blue visor and a giant mane of platinum blonde hair. 

See? Completely different. 
Go! Godman ran for 26 episodes comprised of multiple five minute segments segments from October 5, 1972 to April 10, 1973. The plots were simple affairs centered around monsters threatening people, the people calling on Godman for help, and then Godman arrived to pummel the monster into the dirt.

On November 12, 1973, the spiritual sequel to Go! Godman aired: Go! Greenman (Ike! Greenman). 52 eight minute episodes comprised of 3 parts each ultimately aired, and this time there was more of a plot tying everything together. 

Deep underground, the devilish monster Maoh, the lord of the underworld awakens, learning that God has exiled him below the Earth. Plotting revenge, Maoh needs the blood of children to power himself up, and summons an army of minions to hunt them on the Earth's surface for him. 

Standing in his way is Greenman, an envoy of God sent to protect the innocent children of the world from Maoh's depredations. After losing initially, Maoh escalates things (literally) by turning his minions into stronger minions that can also grow to gigantic size. With the phrase “Greenman Giant Machine Change!”, Greeman himself can grow gigantic and battle the demons on equal footing. 

Greenman is a robot from Planet Green, and can grow to a height of 45 meters (148 ft). Designed by Tsuguo Murase and refined by a committee that included his brother, veteran monster designer Keizo Murase, the costume was modeled after Buddha statues from Southeast Asia. The similarity is most noticeable in the head, and the whole design was intended to be bright and ostentatious. Like most all tokusatsu heroes of the era, Greenman has an array of weapons, including flight, super speed, energy attacks, a staff called the Greenman Stick, Leg Arrow, chest missiles called the Greenman Breaster (probably influenced by Mazinger Z), and Ear Boomerangs (which are self-explanatory). Greenman also gave the children a box called the Green Call with a button that, when pressed, would summon him to their aid. 

A notable feature of the show was recycling costumes (and monsters) from Toho movies, including Gaira and Sanda from The War of the Gargantuas, Gabara and Minilla from All Monsters Attack, and the King Kong costume from King Kong Escapes. Kong could only be called “Gorilla” in Greenman because Toho no longer had the rights to the King Kong license. If you ever wanted to see an evil version of Godzilla's son get thrown around and laughed at, then here you go.


Go! Greenman had a successful run, but the character went dormant after the show ended. In 2008, Toho released a 22 minute direct-to-video short movie called Go! Godman that brought back Godman to fight against a group of monsters. At a critical moment, one of the human characters finds a Green Call box, presses the button, and Greenman arrives to aid Godman save the day. As a surprising bit of trivia, the Greenman mask and most of the costume remained intact after thirty-plus years and were re-used for this movie. 

Next time on Shin Super Robot Sunday: A new sub-feature that looks at some series that aren't about giant robots per se, but are worth mentioning in context. Get ready for Shin Super Robot Sunday Gaiden
You can blame Space Battleship Yamato getting into a Super Robot Wars game for this.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Shin Super Robot Sunday: Mazinger Z vs. Devilman

Mazinger Z began airing in 1972 and finished in 1974. 92 episodes is a long time in weekly television installments. On July 18, 1973, in the middle of that successful run, a 43 minute movie was produced by Toei Animation which would cross over with another Dynamic Production series created by Go Nagai. The result was Mazinger Z vs. Devilman
Mazinger Z was already covered on this project, so today we get to focus on Devilman. In 1971, Go Nagai wrote and illustrated a horror manga called Demon Lord Dante about a student who is merged with the body of an ancient demon. Dante initially ended when the magazine it ran in, Bokura Magazine, was discontinued by the publisher, but Toei Animation approached Nagai for an anime adaptation which evolved into a new manga (and related anime) called Devilman

Devilman (the manga, which ran in Weekly Shōnen Magazine) is the story of Akira Fudo, a teenager who learns of the existence of demons who are trapped in hibernation beneath the Earth and will invade soon. Akira is merged with Amon, the most powerful of these demons. As Devilman, Akira fights against the demons and wages an internal war of good vs evil as he struggles to control Amon. 
In the anime (which began airing on July 8, 1972, several months before Mazinger Z), the demon invasion is still planned, and Devilman is sent to Earth, where he possesses the body of the recently deceased Akira Fudo. There he learns the meaning of love and rebels against his people, and becomes a transformation hero (who can grow to giant size) to fight the demons. Both versions were successful, and while the anime was significantly toned down from the manga to be more kid friendly, they're essentially alternate universe stories of each other. Both carry the trademark Go Nagai mix of hot-blooded protagonists, cool monsters, hot chicks, and hot chicks who are cool monsters. 
Devilman aired for 39 episodes, and the franchise would see multiple manga down the line, as well as OVA miniseries, a spinoff series called Devilman Lady, a live action movie in 2004, and most recently the somewhat divisive Devilman Crybaby from 2018 (which aired on Netflix).

Which brings us up to speed for Mazinger Z vs. Devilman
While fighting the robotic monsters of Dr. Hell, Koji Kabuto in the Mazinger Z and Sayaka Yumi in the Aphrodite A accidentally unleash the beautiful female demon Sirene from the earth. The demon flies away before anyone can do anything, but not before beeing seen by Akira Fudo, who turns into Devilman to chase after her. 

Dr. Hell, seeing a potential ally, also follows, and frees a bunch of demons in the Himalayas. The two sides cut a deal. Dr. Hell will help defeat Devilman, and Sirene will help defeat Mazinger. Akira tries to warm Koji, but makes fun of Mazinger's inability to fly, so they get into a heated motorcycle race that ends in a tie. 

Then the bad guys attack and Devilman rescues Mazinger, Mazinger rescues Devilman, and when the situation gets hopeless, Mazinger Z gets its major upgrade: the Jet Scrander. That's right, the Jet Scrander appears in this movie before its debut in the show. With the day saved, the two part as friends. 

The movie is a fun bit of light entertainment that feels like a two-part episode with a higher animation budget. It doesn't exist in either show's continuity, instead acting as a kind of “what if” team up. It would, however, open the door for more crossovers between Dynamic Production series down the line. 


Next time on Shin Super Robot Sunday: Toho goes green.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Shin Super Robot Sunday: Super Robot Red Baron

Coming off the success of tokusatsu shows like Iron King and the non-giant robot Silver Kamen, Senkosha Productions would follow up with Super Robot Red Baron, which began airing on Nippon Television on July 4, 1973.

Perhaps the most notable staff member who was involved in the creation of the show was Ryu Noguchi (the pen name of manga artist and illustrator Masaru Noguchi). After working as an assistant for Shotaro Ishinomori for a time, he went independent and illustrated the manga adaptation of Alistair MacLean's 1955 novel HMS Ulysses for Weekly Shōnen Sunday. Red Baron was his first television work, where he created character designs. It was the start of a long and successful career in tokusatsu production, and he would work on the Kamen Rider, Metal Heroes, and, most significantly, Super Sentai series. He even did creature designs for Resident Evil in the 90s. 

As for the show itself, Red Baron tells the tale of the the evil Iron Masked Party led by Dr. Deviler/Devilar, who have stolen a bunch of giant robots from around the world and their designers and plan to use them to conquer/destroy the Earth. Kenichiro Kurenai, the designer of the the titular Red Baron (the last robot not stolen), makes it so only his younger brother Ken can operate it, before being kidnapped and killed by the Iron Masked Party. Ken, already a member of the Secret Science Investigation (SSI) group of crimefighters/spies/ninjas, takes control of the robot and uses it to defend the Earth, first against the Iron Masked Party, then against the Space Iron Party, commanded by Giras Q. 
After a slow start, the show was a success and was extended from its initially planned 26 episodes and introduced an entire new faction (the Space Iron Party). Ultimately the show ran for 39 episodes, apparently only ending when one of the main sponsors went bankrupt. Senkosha Productions would make spiritual sequels, but those are stories for another time. 

The comparisons to Mazinger Z are unavoidable. A hot blooded hero inherits a powerful robot made of a special metal (in this case Baronium) that he has to use against a secret society bent on world conquest. What's different here is the presence of the SSI. They're an Ultraman style support team of agents in snappy uniforms and their own character arcs and personalities. There's the strict but kind captain Daigo, the hot-blooded marksman Tetsuya, comic relief brawler Daisaku, Mari, a high kicking photographer and sort-of love interest for Ken. Aiding them is Inspector Kumano, a somewhat silly police officer on a bicycle who has a sword-cane in his umbrella and a gun in his bicycle pump.


As for the Red Baron itself, its a 40 meter (131 ft) tall, bright red colossus with a staggering array of weapons ranging from missiles, to beams, to kicks, to a rocket punch (called the Baron Punch). Its powered by a nuclear reactor, can fly at Mach 10, and after an upgrade, is capable of space travel. Fairly standard kit for a super robot. 

While overshadowed by bigger contemporary tokusatsu franchises, Red Baron did get a western DVD release in 2010 that included the entire series in one cheap boxed set. For whatever reason, the sequels did not. 
Next time on Shin Super Robot Sunday: Things get spooky as Mazinger Z runs across some deviltry.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Shin Super Robot Sunday: Zone Fighter

Toho Studios wasn't done with 1973 after Godzilla vs. Megalon. The studio had successfully ventured into tokusatsu television programming in 1972 with Warrior of Love Rainbowman (a name that will come up again later), and 1973 saw a new live-action superhero series with direct ties to the Godzilla franchise: Zone Fighter

The show famously included Godzilla as a recurring guest character, but also Godzilla villains King Ghidorah and Gigan, and a number of episodes were directed by Toho feature film directors Ishirō Honda and Jun Fukuda. The show began broadcasting on Nippon Television on April 2, 1973, but despite its pedigree, only lasted 26 episodes before cancellation. 

Zone Fighter, or Ryūsei Ningen Zone (literally “Meteor Human Zone”), tells the story of the Zone family, fugitives from the destroyed planet of Peaceland who fled to Earth and disguised themselves as the Sakimori family. However, the aliens who destroyed their planet, the Garogans, have come to Earth, and the Sakimori children, take up the fight to save their adopted planet.

The primary hero is the eldest son Hikaru Sakimori, who can transform into the masked Zone Fighter by shouting “Zone Fight Power!” He can additionally transform into a gigantic 62 meter (204 ft.) tall form by shouting “Zone Double Fight!” His sister, Hotaru Sakimori, can transform into Zone Angel, and their kid brother Akira Sakimori, can turn into Zone Junior. Neither Angel or Junior could become gigantic. Their dad, Yochiro Sakimori, is an inventor who works for a toy research institute, providing the heroes with various gimmicks and weapons. 
Zone Fighter himself takes obvious design cues from Ultraman, but with a predominantly silver and blue color scheme with red trim. Abilities include flight, defensive and offensive energy projection, grappling, wrist-mounted missiles, and even teleportation. Like contemporary giant heroes, he has a time limit on his giant form before he runs out of energy. And like the Ultras, Zone Fighter is not a robot, but a dude who can get huge. 
The Garogas are skull-faced aliens who aren't huge either. Instead, they launch their dreaded terror-beasts from space to Earth in rocket pods, like a kaiju ODST. The terror beasts are usually giant monsters or cybernetic mixtures of monsters with various metal parts bolted onto them. 

One of the terror-beasts, Jikiro is a full robot. Appearing in the second episode, Jikiro is launched to Earth to attack a weakened Zone Fighter, and nearly succeeds in killing him. Jikiro is a 78 meter (256 ft) tall metal monster with a hunchbacked, reptilian head and magnetic powers. It also has an adorable parachute that deploys after he hits atmosphere, allowing him to land safely.

Being a monster-of-the-week, Jikiro was destroyed, but he was rebuilt later in the series as Super Jikiro, with more powerful armor and weapons before being destroyed once more. 

Zone Fighter is an interesting side story of the Showa-era Godzilla franchise. Cancelled amidst poor ratings and an oil crisis, it nevertheless exists as an official part of Godzilla continuity taking place after Godzilla Vs. Megalon. After fleeing Earth, Gigan was captured by the Garogas and used to attack Earth, and he was killed by Zone Fighter. There were a few manga that ran alongside the show, but after its run the show drifted into obscurity. 

Curiously, in 2015, the YouTube channel Daikaiju Legends began a fan project/sequel series to Zone Fighter (called Zone Fighter) which uses American actors for the human cast and stop-motion action figures to represent the monsters and heroes including Zone Fighter and a bunch of Ultraman characters. Its odd, and the acting leaves no question that its a fan-film, but the stop motion effects are an interesting workaround to not having suit actors and miniature city sets, and the production quality jumped several levels of sophistication in the intervening five years.

Next time on Shin Super Robot Sunday: Senkosha Productions goes from a King to a Baron.