- Manufacturer: Discovery Software
- Versions: Amiga, Commodore 64, IBM PC
This game's song-and-dance introduction is almost too delightful for its own good. Watching the three stars of the Zoom-land Magic Show is so addictive that the computerist may sit mesmerized instead of plunging into the 50 playfields of action-strategy challenge. If cute could kill...
Zoom marks the international design debut of Frank Neuhaus. The inspired help of Jochen and Gisela Wiegelt (computer graphics) and Thomas Lopatic (sound) makes the game as delightful to see and hear as it is to play. Zoom packs as much charm as a Disney cartoon.
Like Discovery Software's other recent releases, Zoom is inspired by the classic coin-ops. In this case, the play mechanic is partially derived from Amidar. The big difference in the play mechanic is that Zoom lets the player's on-screen surrogate roam freely around the playfield instead of limiting it to the corridor's of a simple maze.
While most computerists will play Zoom solitarily, the program offers a choice of two player modes. A pair of gamers can alternate turns, or they can each use a joystick for simultaneous competition.
The player guides Zoomer around the geometric playfields that are divided into an arrangement of squares by colored grid lines. Zoomer cruises along the lines, changing their color in his wake. When a square is totally enclosed by completed lines, it turns from transparent to a bright color. When every square is recolored, the playfield flashes and a new one hurtles onto the screen to renew the test.
Zoomer starts his journey through the playfields with three lives. A variety of nasties works hard to take them as quickly as possible. The disembodied flapping mouth, known as the Jaggernaut, poses the most consistent danger. The red lips follow Zoomer like a homing missile, and a single touch is lethal. Other menaces are the line-erasing Wormletts, bottomless Black Holes, Spheroids and Angleheads.
Fortunately, the round yellow character is not completely helpless against his assailants. By pushing the action button, the player orders Zoomer to drop bombs. These charges temporarily block the grid line and give Zoomer the chance to light up squares without worrying about pursuers.
Valuable prizes pop up during the game. If Zoomer touches one before it vanishes, he receives the corresponding reward. Glue slows the enemy down, and an ice cube freezes all monsters in place. A magic potion makes Zoomer invulnerable until the gauge to the right of the active display runs down. Candy provides a burst of speed, but a rocket can fly Zoomer right to the next playfield!
Plucking a big red apple lights four squares at once. This is a double-barrel bonus. It puts the gamer four squares closer to advancing to the next round and adds time to the bonus scoring gauge, which is next to the previously mentioned invulnerability meter. The player also acquires additional time whenever Zoomer lights two or more squares simultaneously.
The cheery music and quirky sound effects are nearly as impressive as the graphics, and that is no small praise. Zoomer's exuberant whoops and yells, generated with speech synthesis, punctuate each phase of the game. "Hey! Hey! Wow!" could become the "wocka, wocka, wocka" (in Pac-Man) of the late 1980s.
This enjoyable program has gained more than a play-mechanic idea from the arcades. Frank Neuhaus is loyal to the coin-op credo: "Easy to learn, and fun to play over and over again". It's a perfect description of Zoom, which is why this amusing, yet exciting action contest is unreservedly recommended.
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- Theme: Action
- Players: 1
- Difficulty: Easy
Take the role of the speedy little orange dude that has to race around a field outlining boxes and dodging wacky enemies in order to proceed to higher levels of game play.