Zapper: One Wicked Cricket
Zapper the Cricket is enjoying a little quality time with his baby brother Zipper when a thieving magpie, named Maggie of course, slips in and steals the tyke. In his place she leaves one of her eggs, which will eventually hatch another thieving magpie. Now it's up to Zapper to rescue his baby brother and stop Maggie from propagating a world of feathered filchers.
It doesn't take long for a player to see that Zapper has a lot in common with Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge and that's a good thing. Both games are built on the same Blitz engine so expect a lot of 3D platform action. The good news is that Zapper is as addictive as the Frogger line of games but offers enough of a twist to keep the game fresh. The biggest difference between Zapper and Frogger is that Zap can do just that'he can zap an enemy with a low voltage charge of energy from his antenna.
While the game plays like your traditional 3D platform get-the-heck-out-of-the-way game, it has enough hidden areas to make Mario blush, spread out across six worlds and 18 levels.
Once a player beats the storyline gameplay, they can go back and try their hand at timed trials and two other modes of play. In Expert Ghost Race gamers have to run the gauntlet with a ghost in tow, beat the ghost and win the game. In Expert Orb Race, players have to race the same ghost in a mad dash to collect orbs, first one to collect them all wins. Although nothing to write home about, the graphics and sound in Zapper provide all of the audio and visual oomph needed to make this an engaging game to play.
Anyone who has wiled away the hours and quarters of their nearly forgotten teens playing Frogger will understand the addictive nature of this simple, fun, and well constructed game. You don't always need life-like animation and big-screen names doing voice-overs to make a hit. Sometimes all it takes is a good game.
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After his little brother Zipper was kidnapped while using him as a TV antenna, Zapper goes on a rescue mission. Once the adventure is started however, Zapper realizes that in addition to just locating the bird that took his brother, he'll be looking to destroy the eggs left by the bird that are hatching and causing havoc. Zapper: One Wicked Cricket is a platform game where the object it to save Zapper's little brother and destroy the eggs left behind before they hatch. Using an extremely basic gameplay and control structure, most will find it more of a challenge to finish the game due to its monotony than the challenge it represents. Although it appears to be designed with simplicity in mind, it fails to use that basic structure in a way that entices you to keep playing.
As stated earlier, the object is to simply smash a specific number of eggs, which advances you to the next level. That's the whole object and although you're armed with the ability to shock enemies with your antennas, generally you hop around releasing fireflies from glass orbs and smashing eggs over and over. To further reduce the game's potential challenge, Zapper's antennas can be used to point in the direction of the hidden eggs, reducing the need to problem solve or search for them.
The controls follow the same simple theme, and the D-Pad is preferred since there isn't any analog sensitivity to be concerned with. A push on the D-Pad causes Zapper to jump once in the chosen direction and when combined with the ability to jump, sums up the movement capabilities. Using these movements, Zapper maneuvers around the obstacles in his path and times his movement with moving enemies that can't be shocked to get around them.
Zapper: One Wicked Cricket presents a platform game that fails to engage or engross its audience. Although the graphics and audio meet standard requirements, they aren't exceptional and don't help counteract the game's overly simplistic gameplay. Younger audiences may find it enjoyable but if you expect any challenge or diversity, I'd pass of this one.
Zapper is your classic story of revenge. Bad guy kidnaps family member's brother; family member embarks on major trial to bring justice to bad guy. The only difference is that in Zapper, the bad guy is a maniacal magpie queen and the justice seeker is a cricket. Is Zapper's zest for revenge enough to carry this game? Not fully, but for the family gamer, there are some things to like.
Zapper has several modes of play: Storyline, Arcade and Multiplayer. Yes, that's right multiplayer! Now the Campaign or Storyline game can best be described as Frogger 3D, which isn't that ironic considering that Blitz also developed Frogger 2. The game is played out in a similar fashion via an overhead view, giving you pretty good visibility to Zapper and his environment. Only occasionally do other objects get in the way.
Your goal is to hop your way through each level discovering magpie eggs, releasing globes of fireflies and avoiding or zapping the assortment of bad guys that get in your way. While the levels are pretty simple and easy to complete, there was some thought put into them. There are hidden objects to uncover; yellow globes give you an added bonus if you collect them in the proper sequence and most importantly, the levels do increase in difficulty as you progress in the game.
While I do have children, and therefore, try to judge games according to their intended audience, I personally found myself quickly getting bored with this game. Yes, even though the characters are cute and the graphics are on par with other platformer/arcade games. The Arcade mode doesn't add much more to the game other than the ability to retry levels without having to work your way back to them in the campaign mode. The multiplayer mode is somewhat interesting. Yes, it does seem a bit contrived, like it was sort of tacked onto the existing game, but my kids really liked it. They especially liked zapping the old man. Multiplayer can best be described as Fuzion Frenzy with insects.
Can I recommend this game? Yes and no. If you have children, then yes, this is a great game for them and will definitely entertain them for some time. I especially recommend this game to Xbox gamers desperate for some games that their kids can play. PS2 or Game Cube owners simply have too many other better games geared to children, but in the world of Xbox, at least for the moment, family gamers need to take what they can get.
Zapper's premise is quite simple: You play Zapper, a cricket with attitude, as you travel through puzzling levels searching for your little brother Zipper. Zipper has been taken by Maggie the magpie, who has also made things tough for the crickets by laying her eggs around the world. It's up to you to collect these eggs and find your brother, using only your wits, zapping antennae and the help of some fireflies.
Ok, so maybe the premise is fairly contrived. But it still sounds like it might be fun, right? Nope. Wrong again. It is a cute concept, but the execution is simply not worth your money. The game does offer extremely easy gameplay, with arcade-style movement similar to Frogger. Unfortunately, the levels are monotonous and the characters do not have much character.
Many of the level designs are interesting to see the first time around as you wonder if the game will get better. And you even get to unlock extra levels as you collect power orbs. But none of this really helps. Playing through any level more than once just made me feel sleepy.
Every once in a while, a good arcade game comes along that is genuinely fun to play. This is not one of them. Younger audiences may find the game amusing, but Zapper will certainly just bug most gaming enthusiasts.