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Review by
Steve Cooke
(The White Wizard)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Zzzz
1986 Mastertronic
By Les Hogwarth & Clive Wilson
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eleventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: February 9th, 1986).
 

ZZZZZZ...
Mastertronic, 1.99 cass
 

his game has all the ingredients of success, but ends up in the cat-litter tray. It pains me to have to say that, since I'm obviously eagerly awaiting someone who can bring out a good cheap adventure -- and if anyone can do it, Mastertronic ought to be able to. But,

unfortunately, they haven't. Mastertronic deserve the gratitude of Wizards worldwide for rescuing Carnell Software a couple of years back and re-releasing the classic Wrath of Magra, but Zzzzzz... is a sad example of botched opportunities. It's an attractive game to look at. The graphics are detailed and quite well drawn, the screens are colourful, the character set has been redefined and the SID chip is kept busy throughout pinging and ponging through a variety of musical and other effects. There's also a joystick option for selecting most of the common commands such as GET and EXAMINE. One novel touch involves using the joystick to illuminate different points of the compass which then indicate which directions are open for movement. All this is good, clean programming.

Alas, when it comes to the game itself, it's another story. In fact, it isn't really a story at all. The idea is that you've fallen asleep and found yourself in the land of Zzzzzz... You have to solve various puzzles and attempt, in the end, to wake yourself up. The problem with all this lies with the inane sense of humour that keeps cropping up, combined with some very illogical plot developments. For example, you don't die in the program when you get into trouble (which you can at any moment, and often for barely acceptable reasons). Instead, you are instantly transported to any one of a number of randomly chosen locations. You retain your possessions, so you might well find yourself swimming along beside the shore carrying a bucket, spade, and a bicycle. If you've ever tried to do this, you will know that it's not possible without casting some pretty nifty spells and wearing water-wings.

The vocabulary is very small and the program gives you virtually no assistance when you get into trouble, beyond telling you to try something else, or simply saying it doesn't understand. There is very little blurb on the cassette inlay, so all the atmosphere and direction of the game relies on the program itself. Since the first few locations consist of an igloo, a hot sandy beach and a frontier post guarded by a bandit, you can see that probability is being stretched to the limits. Zzzzzz... reminded me slightly of Quest for the Holy Grail, a game I slugged -- sorry, criticised -- recently in this column for killing you off too illogically and having a pathetic sense of humour. Programming-wise, Zzzzzz... is streets ahead of that ancient monster, but the plot . . . well, I'm afraid we don't seem to have come very far in the last three years with this one. OK, it's cheap, but then money isn't everything and life's too short to spend snoring away in front of this little offering.

 
Atmosphere 25%
Interaction 40%
Lasting Interest 26%

Value for Money

40%

Overall

38%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (8 Feb 2004)

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