Sketch has multiple variations of kicks, punches, a body-check and a throw, which is very useful against certain enemies, and not as effective against others. Each enemy has a weakness, which you must exploit and use to your advantage. You can go around just plain button mashing, or you can take a more crafty and cautious approach to combat. But I personally take the "stylish" approach when dealing with my foes, using combination of fancy kicks and punches and the occasional weapon.
The gameplay revolves around the picking up of weapons/items that help you on your comic quest. You have 3 open slots to carry items in, so be very careful which items you take with you on your quest. You can pick up a power-up, items, weapons, and even Sketch's pet rat, which can electrocute enemies, find items and flip switches that Sketch can't get to. Comix Zone is littered with puzzles, most of which are relatively simple, and with Sketch's tipster constantly giving advice you should have no problem overcoming them.
As previously mentioned in the story segment of this review, Sketch is undergoing a transformation while he attempts to escape the imprisonment from his comic book. You can't turn into the hero at will, which would have been a blast. But there is a power-up you can use which transforms you into the hero form of Sketch momentarily providing a devastating maneuver, "erasing" every enemy in the caption off the page. After every stage/level you complete your hero rank is raised, and Sketch's hero meter fills, which leads you to wonder just what will happen.
Boss battles are handled well, with each boss having their own patterns, which you must adapt to. Some battles can be tricky and frustrating, but the game is so fun to play, you shall find yourself going back to beat them into the ground.
Comix Zone is a fun beat 'em up with interesting puzzle elements and great character/environment interaction. The boss battles and combat overall are exceptional; with different gameplay mechanics for the boss battles you won't find the game to be stale or repetitive at all. The character and personality this game possesses alone will tempt you to keep coming back.
The sound is good, but not that special. The music is very enjoyable - it often changes throughout each page of the comic. Certain enemies have their own themes as you approach them and each theme fits the opposing villain. The sound effects are also pretty good. It's not often that you don't hear Sketch make a remark about the current situation that he's in. The remarks never get annoying, but there is an option to turn them on or off anyway. The punching and kicking sounds are basically run of the mill type effects, but they're not bad at all.
The graphics are definitely great for a Sega Genesis game: Everything in the game is portrayed in cel-shaded animation befitting of a comic book. You can see the multicolored water churning through the city's sewers and the brightly lit and decrepit buildings in the background. Sketch looks as if he belongs in a comic book; between his gloved fists, stylish sweatshirt, flowing ponytail and smooth animation frames, he fits in well with the rest of the game. Little things like having the characters speak in comic-styled thought bubbles and showing off effects like "BAM!!! or "CRASH!!!" make the game seem all the more like the comic book as opposed to just another beat'em up game.
While the game may be simple and frustrating at times, it is still worth picking up. The gameplay is good enough and it is presented well for the most part. The combined use of puzzles prevents this from being just another beat em up game. Overall it's a enjoyable experience and should be played if you're into these games of kinds with a twist.
Final Score: 8.0/10