Funky Fish

Funky Fish
Company: UA Limited
Model #:
Year: 1983
Port of the 1981 Sun Corp. coin-op.


No you haven't traveled back to the 70's, this game really is called Funky Fish (heavy on the Funk).  Based on the obscure Sun Corp. coin-op of the same name (we're talking REALLY obscure here), Funky Fish is an underwater shooting game similar to Fantasy Zone but slightly funkier.  You're more likely to find Funky Fish sitting in your local arcade than you are to find any of its home versions as none of them were ever released in the US.  Even though UA announced Funky Fish for the Arcadia 2001 in the catalog that came with the system, it never saw the light of day on this side of the ocean.  In fact the only two places where Funky Fish was released was in New Zealand for an obscure Arcadia clone called the Tunix, and in Italy for an even more obscure Arcadia clone called the Leonardo.  Good luck finding either of those two ports!


Funky Fish can best be described as an odd underwater Fantasy Zone style game with some strange twists.  The screen consists of five boss monsters which must be destroyed before you can advance to the next level.  Each boss monster (represented by a square) has a swarm of fish defending it, which must be destroyed before you can take down it down.  However the guard fish aren't stupid (well maybe a little.), and as you approach they'll lash out at you attempting to fry your poor Funky Fish (French Fried Funky Fish, try saying that three times fast!).  Once you've succeeded in taking out the guard fish with your bubble blaster (hey you're a fish!) the boss moster will die.   However each time a guard fish is destroyed it will turn into a piece of fruit which slowly falls to the ground.  If you don't grab the fruit quickly it will turn back into a guard fish, so be quick.


Another little twist that Funky Fish adds to the same old tired side scrolling shooter genre is a power gauge.  Yes it appears that your fish has a limited amount of power, and you must quickly defeat each boss monster before the gauge runs out.  Once you've managed to kill all the guard fish (represented by the number at the bottom of the screen), the boss monster will start to glow and a timer will begin to run down.  During this brief time (about 10 seconds) you can recharge your power by touching the dead boss monster.  You can track the locations of each of the boss monsters on your handy underwater radar screen (wouldn't that be sonar?) so you'll always know which direction to go.


While it's commercial success may have been questionable, Funky Fish probably would have slipped into the mediocre part of the 2600 shooting games library.  Nothing about it really makes Funky Fish a stand out other than its rather unusual name.  Still, Funky Fish is worth a play now and then, even if the thrill is short lived.


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