Zillion 3D is a Wolfenstein 3D mod with characters from the anime Akai Koudan Zillion. This project is entirely non-profit and it was developed with the concept of “fair use” in mind, so please don’t sue me. I wanted to see this game made since I was 8 years old, so cut me some slack.
It’s based on Wolf4SDL, so it runs straight from Windows.
The intelectual property belongs to Sega/ Tatsunoko (characters, art, music) and the code belongs to id Software (the game program). They have no participation in this project.
My Story with Zillion 3D
At last, after 20+ years of wanting to play this, I’ve finally took the task to myself and made a FPS Zillion game.
For those who don’t know, Zillion was an anime that Sega sponsored in 1987 to sell their already popular laser tag toys. They commissioned Studio Tatsunoko to create characters and stories based on the toys, and with that Sega developed two Master System games and used the design of the laser tag on their light gun.
The anime was incredibly good. It was funny and smart, with very charismatic characters. The trio of protagonists is great on its own, but the anime really takes off with the antagonists, the Nozah, an alien race hat resemble ants. The leader of their army, Baron Ricks, is one of best villains that time forgot.
As a kid, I was obsessed with the anime. The music, the characters, the sounds, everything fit together so nicely that made all other cartoons feel like a big waste of time (with the exception of Macross). I also loved the Master System games, specially the second one, with the nicer graphics and all. Except there was one thing that bothered me: they were side-scrollers, so I always thought, even as a kid, that the games didn’t capture the excitement of shooting a Zillion gun.
Also, the Light Phaser. My God, I loved that peripheral. Mind you, I don’t mean that I loved the light gun games, I loved the Light Phaser itself. The design is ridiculously cool, and I had one just for the sheer power of its existence. Oh, and also because I had some fragile hope that someday Sega would fulfill my dreams of making a fucking light gun Zillion game so I could fucking shoot my Light Phaser as a Zillion gun, just like God intended.
Yeah. We all know how that turned out. Sega, inexplicably, never released a light gun game of Zillion. You see, despite the huge success in Japan, Sega and Tatsunoko had some legal disagreement and Zillion vanished from the face of Earth in the blink of an eye. Zillion II itself doesn’t bare the name “Zillion” anywhere in the game, it’s called simply Tri-Formation, and I assume it’s because of the law battle that had already started when they were developing it. I guess nobody really knows what happened, and I would love if someone emailed me with hard facts, so feel free to do so if you are “in the know.”
And while on the subject, let me tell you my theory about the game called Assault City. It’s a light gun game that I always felt that resembled Zillion. In my head, I like to think it was the Zillion game I dreamed of, but Sega changed the characters to avoid more headaches with Tatsunoko.
Anyway, Zillion I and II was all we got in the video game department. Deep inside, the younger version of me still had some hope of seeing the characters again, maybe in the Mega Drive, but soon I realized the black hole that engulfed Zillion. With a heavy heart, I accepted that I would never play another Zillion game.
But then, around 1993, I saw Wolfenstein 3D for the first time. My mind was blown. A 3D game that you can shoot like in real life. You know what would be perfect for that, my younger self immediately thought. A Zillion game! And so my obsession begun – Zillion and FPS, somebody needed to work on that immediately!
Long story short, nobody bothered to do it and my anxiety just grew. The years passed and the internet came, and I kept my hopes seeing the amount of game modifications that existed everywhere. But still nobody bothered to revive Zillion, although the idea was great and it was up for grabs.
Me, I wasn’t a developer, but yeah, I did prospect the possibility of take the task to myself, but every time I tried to modify a game – first it was Dark Forces, then Halo, I even considered Fallout 3 – I rapidly understood that I had no chance, mostly because I’m an idiot who have no code training at all. What was I thinking?
After giving up far too many times, something snapped inside my head. I was so frustrated. My last round trying to do it involved Doom. I thought, come on, it’s an old game, everybody does it, why can’t I? But I couldn’t. I spent one entire afternoon studying, downloading, reading forums and forums, but couldn’t make even the smallest first step possible. I was so useless.
That was in 2012, 25 years after the release of the anime, and after giving up on Doom, my mind said, fuck it, let’s go bowling. I gave up for good. I would never try again. I had to let Zillion rest for eternity. I couldn’t beat myself anymore. I mean, I can’t sink lower than Doom, can I?
Before wrapping it up to go to dinner, I thought, actually, there is one game bellow Doom. Could it be? Could it be easier to modify Wolfenstein 3D?
After a quick Google search, heavens opened up before me, and what do you now, it was easier. There was a great mod community, and the tools were all user friendly. All I had to do was basically replace all graphics. And after thirty minutes, I had a working Wolf3D with the Zillion gun, firing sound and all.
It was the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new one. My younger self was so proud, seeing the Zillion firing flawlessly against Nazis. Then, I remember thinking, “great, I can’t believe, my obsession of more than 20 years is finally over! All I have to do is replace the graphics and I’ll have a new Zillion game! Life is good! I bet I can do everything in just a week.”
It took me two years to finish the damn game.
But here it is, so if you’re an orphan just like me and also have great memories of Zillion – and I know many of you have – go on and have fun with Zillion 3D. Think of it as a taste of a better world, a world that could’ve been in some parallel universe where Nintendo was the underdog and Sega was selling the Dreamcast 3 with a VR set where you could play the new Zillion game in virtual reality.
Wait a minute, I think a new obsession was just born.
See you in 2033.