What to be, if you can’t be a Hedgehog…
We can’t all be Sonic or Mario. While there are some game mascots who reach the lofty heights of mainstream success, there are more obscure game characters who never quite break into the big time despite perhaps being deserving. Gremlin Graphics ‘Zool’ is one such toon, hardly a household name but the main star in a platformer that (still deserves) a noteworthy mention.
Zool was to be the face of the Commodore Amiga, the kind of platform character you use to sell a platform, bundling it with units and strapping it to merchandise. Whether or not Zool was any kind of decent commercial success shouldn’t take away from the fact it was an admirable platformer. As Zool, a ninja from the ‘Nth’ dimension, the player must make their way through several different themed worlds smashing monsters and collecting points bonuses and the like. The first world you’ll encounter is ‘sweet world’ which as the name suggests is literally covered in chupa chups, life savers and other assorted candy. The gameplay is fluid and fast, the graphics colorful and bold and sound effects really lend a lot to the fun of whizzing through the levels collecting things and squashing bad guys.
From sweet world it’s likely there are some other fun themed levels except that, well, I didn’t get to experience them. This game is hard you see, not hard like “oh, that’ll be a nice challenge!”, hard like “You want me to bend my elbows to where while reciting backwards the known planets in the solar system in descending order of their gravitational mass?” hard.
Yeah, that hard. Maybe I just suck, but I’m almost entirely sure I don’t, in which case Zool is freakishly hard even in the first level, enough to put one black mark against this otherwise awesome platform game. Don’t let difficulty deter you though, Zool is still worthy of your playing time. It’s crisp, bold and it’s quite easy to get into a ‘groove’ of playing that will have you entertained for a while. A lovable main character and tons of collectable points and power-ups round out a decent romp.
Don’t get any of the ports or conversions of the title either, try to source the Amiga version, that’s the one you’ll want.
Score: 3 out of 5
Did you like this review? Are you obsessed with retro gaming? Sega Master System’s? Famicom’s? Atari? SNK? Ye olde Vectrex? Tips on collecting Nintendo Game & Watches? Check out the rest of the Guru Meditation site :).