Comix Zone is a 1995 beat 'em up video game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. An unusual feature of the game is that it is set within the panels of a comic book with dialogue rendered within talk bubbles and sprites and backgrounds possessing the bright colours and dynamic drawing style favoured by superhero comics. This style had been used in video games previously, for example Ocean Software's Batman: The Caped Crusader in 1988, but Comix Zone stretched the idea to such an extent that Sega applied for and were granted a patent for a "Videogame system for creating a simulated comic book game".
The concept for the game originated from a Commodore Amiga demo video animated by Peter Morawiec titled "Joe Pencil Trapped In The Comix Zone". The video was made in 1992, displaying the animation of how the gameplay and the comic book elements would blend in.
This is my favorite game of all time. It was such a huge inspiration for me as a gamer at that time, I haven't played a PlayStation game yet, but Comix Zone gave me a taste of a more mature gaming future. The main character was cool, he cursed, the soundtrack was mostly rock-oriented tunes, I was hooked from the first minutes I saw it.
Even now design wise this game is exceptional. You literally play inside the Comix, you can choose a path which you can follow, there are 2 different endings. I can go on and on about big and little details in the game but it won't change a fact that I just love it to death. It's a hard game, it's a short game and it's definitely a game with flaws, but in my heart it's a perfect game.
I remember playing this at my friend's place back in the early 2000's (he had a Sega while I only had a NES). The game stunned me with its distinct visual style, and the very idea of making a beat 'em up in a comics world is ingenious. I am actually surprised nobody made another successful brawler with a similar setting, perhaps they are just afraid to be compared with Comix Zone.
All effects like comics Bangs! and Whacks! look great and moving from one picture to another as well as enemies breaking borderlines are impressive (pictured above). This visiual style also make the game look beautiful and unique now, 20+ years after the release.
It is also quite hard, when I revisited this game a couple of years ago I was beaten like a bitch. So if you want to play a timeless and challenging brawler — this is the game you are looking for. If you have never played it, do yourself a favor!