Fortified Zone 3DS review

  • Character swapping mechanic
  • Interesting boss battles
  • Great music
  • Stupid pit traps
  • Enemies spawning on you
  • Hunting for keys

Price: $3.99
Size: 33 Blocks
First Released: 1991

Talk about literal. Fortified Zone is a top-down shooter about – wait for it – a fortified zone. In this particular case, it’s one that’s in need of some serious blowing-up, which is where the game’s unique dual protagonists come in. You play as two mercenaries that each have their own strengths and can be swapped-out on the fly to tackle different situations that arise while slogging through the maze-like rooms of the aforementioned fortress. While this essentially gives you better odds at reaching the final boss alive, each character is useful in certain instances.

The Rambo lookalike Masato is a beefy dude who can pick up extra weapons like machine guns, grenades, and rockets. He’s a hefty tank best used for mowing down bosses and tackling tougher foes. His female counterpart, Mizuki, can’t use special weaponry, but she’s nimble and can jump. Avoiding pits, spikes, and quick foes is her specialty. Together they must battle robots, creatures, and enemy troops to reach the heart of the fortified fortress and blow the hell out of it.

Beyond the unusual character swapping mechanic, some rooms have interesting standout features, including darkened rooms that obscure pits, retractable spikes that make progress perilous, and even a destructible machine that temporarily reverses your character’s movement controls. These elements are pleasant surprises that help change up the monotonous nature of navigating room after basic room. Fortified Zone has some cool boss encounters and a few nifty twists on the explore-and-shoot gameplay, but it’s a short and easy game to beat. Once you blast and roam through the game’s four very similar-looking maze levels, there’s not much else to do, which is a bummer since it’s actually pretty fun.

Jul 15, 2011

More Info

Release date: Jul 07 2011 - 3DS (US)
Jul 07 2011 - 3DS (UK)
Available Platforms: Game Boy, 3DS
Genre: Shooter


  • CitizenWolfie - July 18, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    While I do agree with mrclam and Larinah that it's great to be playing some of these old games that I never thought I'd ever see again (especially Donkey Kong!), I'm more on the side of BigKingBud and rockbottom. The 3DS costs a lot of money and is an impressive piece of equipment. I don't think it's unfair to expect more first party and third party support in terms of cart-based games and downloadable 3DSWare. I bought a (old 60gb) PS3 to play brand new games in HD - the fact that it's backwards compatable is great but only as a bonus. It's the same principle here: The 3DS promised a lot and can handle some truly great games with ease (SSFIV, LoZ, RE) but instead Nintendo seem to be more concerned with rereleasing (original!) GameBoy games. Sony and Microsoft have a back catalogue to release but they only do it as part of a weekly store update. First and foremost they are developing for their flagship consoles. The old games are great and I'm enjoying this retro revival but they can be found just as easily on an emulator. Nintendo need to concentrate more on getting some good quality 3DS games out there or else that neat, expensive bit of kit is going to waste. To sum it up with a comics analogy - What's the point of being the Human Torch if all you do is light cigarettes?
  • Aletheon - July 17, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    Rockbottom is kind of a dummy, huh.
  • absolutemarc - July 17, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    Crazy I still own an original copy of this game for the gameboy. It was one of the first games I ever bought. I should pull it out and play it again.
  • EnigmaSpirit - July 17, 2011 2:33 a.m.

    How about they bring out some GOOD classic games. Go to through the gba/gbc library some! The only re-released classic gb worth a damn was Kirby.
  • SparkleDevon - July 17, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    I like having the ability to access all these games without cartridges, but I wish that I didn't have to buy them -again- when I still own my old cartridges just to play them, since my SP won't work, and I can't find any previous Generations before it :(
  • onetimebuster - July 17, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    I wish they would just go back to the gameboy. wh
  • Larinah - July 16, 2011 11:28 p.m.

    On topic: Great review. I won't be getting this game because I'm saving up for when they release more GBC games, but it's nice to see that they picked another good game to release. Rant: I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to actually enjoying these older games. I love the nostalgia. That being said, I could definitely use them releasing some GBC games instead of just the originals. I'd gladly pay $6 to play Oracle of Seasons again. And don't even get me started on Dragon Quest Monsters: Tara's Adventure(I think was the name)! I loved that game and miss it badly. Although, I think the thing I want most from the VC store is GBA games. I can play through Metroid: Zero Mission any number of times and still find it fun, so it would be the perfect purchase for my 3ds. So please people, stop crapping on everyone else's parade and be patient. Some of us actually do like these older games!
  • UsernameLoser - July 16, 2011 8:56 p.m.

    @Kyo SHINOBI IS NOT A WEAK GAME! S-H-I-N-O-B-I! I just hope they don't put any Pokemon games on VC, every Pokemon game is exactly the same gameplay, why the hell does no one realize?! I swear, every public DS I see has goddamn Pokemon on it, how the hell is anything else selling?!!??!?!!?!?
  • Kyo - July 16, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    Seems interesting.. but still, Nintendo isn't really going for top tier gameboy/gameboy color games are they? Best one so far is LoZ LA.. and yet the eshop VC is still disappointing. Me pesonally? I want Pokemon Blue/Red or (especially) Yellow.. BUT at the rate Nintendo is going, along with the weak list of games for the 3DS AND eshop(Lots of DSiware, but that is NOT 3DS stuff) I doubt it'll ever happen, but a dude can dream huh?
  • rockbottom - July 16, 2011 7:23 p.m.

    @ mrclam You buy it then, doesn't make it right. By the way, microsoft don't need to make millions of 1st party games as they have a system that 3rd party developers seem to enjoy working on, as do sony. Shame that Nintendo have this void to fill in the first place, don't you agree? Is the definition of Troll someone who doesn't like being sold a bucket of reheated shit from a firm that should know better? It is? Oh, well then you got me.
  • mrclam - July 16, 2011 7:14 p.m.

    You trolls are aware of how long it takes to make a game arent you? Excuse me while i wade through the millions of 1st party games which microsoft have released this year (for example) And its hardly going to take a lot of effort to re-release some classic retro gameboy games is it? And SOME of us like retro-gaming...
  • rockbottom - July 16, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    I agree completely. Such a rip off. Could it be that the 3DS is actually a load of crap and Nintendo themselves are already bored of it? Surely not...

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