The NewZealand Story

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The NewZealand Story
The NewZealand Story
Arcade flyer of The NewZealand Story
Developer(s) Taito
Publisher(s) Taito
Composer(s) Yasuko Yamada
Yasuhisa Watanabe (Arcade)
Tim Follin
Geoff Follin (NES port)
Platform(s) Arcade, NES, Amiga, C64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Master System, ZX Spectrum, Sega Mega Drive, PC Engine, FM Towns, Sharp X68000, Virtual Console
Release date(s) September 1988
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
CPU 2x Z80 (@ 6 MHz)
I8X41 (@ 400 kHz)
Sound YM2203 (@ 3 MHz)
Display Raster resolution 256×224 (Horizontal) Palette Colors 512

The NewZealand Story (ニュージーランドストーリー Nyū Jīrando Sutōrī?) is a 1988 arcade game developed and published by Taito. The player controls Tiki (ティキ?), a sneaker-wearing kiwi who must save his lover Phee Phee (ピューピュー?) and several of his other kiwi chick friends who have been kiwi-napped by a large blue leopard seal. The player has to navigate a scrolling maze-like level, at the end of which they release one of Tiki's kiwi chick friends trapped in a cage. The game shares several elements with previous Taito games (such as collecting letters to spell out "EXTEND", from Bubble Bobble).

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot from an early level of The NewZealand Story

The goal of each level is to safely get Tiki through the level, avoiding enemy fire and spikes, and rescue one of his kiwi friends at the end. The weaponry starts out as arrows, but pickups can change these into bombs, lasers or bouncing fireballs. These act a little differently, and what is useful depends upon the player's location. A distinctive feature of this game is the ability to ride a variety of flying vehicles, including balloons, blimps and UFOs. Vehicles can be found ready for use or can be stolen from an enemy.

The game features four main zones, each with four rounds, the fourth round featuring a boss fight at the end. Other features include the many secret areas and shortcuts hidden throughout the game, accessed using special hidden "warp" portals. On certain later levels, if the player loses their last life due to being killed by a projectile weapon, they will be sent up to a special "Heaven" round. Here, they can either receive a special ending or find the secret route out of Heaven and continue playing the game.

Ports and related releases[edit]

Bob Wakelin's artwork for Ocean's home ports of The NewZealand Story.

After the release of the original arcade game in 1988, the game was converted to most of the game consoles and home computers of the time. Most home releases came in 1989, with some arriving later through 1990-1992. The home computer versions were published by Ocean Software, and their home computer versions refer to Wally as a walrus on the packaging; however, the original arcade version specifically mentions him as being a leopard seal during the closing credits. The NES version was developed by Software Creations and published in the PAL regions by Ocean. In North America, however, the NES version was published by Taito as Kiwi Kraze, instead of The NewZealand Story. The game received even more publicity due to being included in the Amiga 500 Batman Pack, which was launched in September 1989 and sold over 2 million units.[1] Home conversions generally received good reviews in computer game magazines.[2][3] The game was also converted for the Japanese FM Towns and Sharp X68000 systems, providing arcade-perfect conversions, but released exclusively in Japan since both computers were only available there.

The Sega Mega Drive version (again, only released in Japan) had its levels based on the location test arcades.

The Taito Legends pack includes an emulated version of the original arcade version of The NewZealand Story, allowing it to be played on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and any PC. On October 14, 2008, the PC-Engine version was released for the Wii Virtual Console exclusively in Japan.

Tiki the Kiwi also made some cameo appearances in other Taito games such as Liquid Kids, Bubble Symphony and (along with his lover Phee Phee) Pop'n Pop.

Remake[edit]

On January 25, 2007, Rising Star Games published the Taito-developed Nintendo DS remake titled New Zealand Story Revolution first in Australia and in Europe on February 2, 2007. In North America, it was published by Ignition Entertainment on February 13, 2007. On May 31, 2007, it was published in Japan by CyberFront as New Zealand Story DS (ニュージーランドストーリーDS?). This version combines the use of both screens for action on the top screen and a map on the bottom screen. During certain instances, the game utilizes the touchscreen, such as opening a door, finding a secret button or flicking Tiki to safety. It also introduces a four-player wireless mode, Normal and Expert game modes, and improved graphics and BGM over the original arcade version. Also, unlike in the original, Tiki can receive multiple hits before losing a life, and can shoot at an angle.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Crash 91%[5]
Sinclair User 82%[6]
Your Sinclair 93%[4]
MegaTech 89%[7]
ACE 875[8]
Awards
Publication Award
Crash Crash Smash
Sinclair User SU Classic

The ZX Spectrum conversion of The NewZealand Story, published by Ocean in 1989, achieved critical success. CRASH awarded 91%,[9] Your Sinclair 93%,[10] and Sinclair User 82%.[11] On the conversion from arcade to an 8-bit platform, Your Sinclair accepted the "disappointing" monochrome display for the sake of smoother play.[10] CRASH commented on the accuracy of the character graphics and animation describing it as "an arcade conversion masterpiece", but found the multi-load cassette version to be awkward.[9] The gameplay was deemed "addictive", with the variety of weapons and modes of transport being particular highlights. By November, The NewZealand Story was number 2 in the Spectrum full-price games chart.[12] The Spectrum version was voted number 34 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time.[13] The game was ranked the 19th best game of all time by Amiga Power.[14] Mega placed the game at #40 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.[15]

The Nintendo DS remake Revolution received average critical reception. IGN awarded Revolution a "mediocre" score of 5.9, and Eurogamer gave 6/10. While reviews highlighted the challenging and fun retro gameplay, they criticized the touch-stylus and spot-the-difference events as poorly implemented, and the level design sometimes seen as spiteful.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A500 Batman Pack
  2. ^ "Amiga Format #1, August 1989"
  3. ^ "Your Sinclair #45, September 1989"
  4. ^ http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/articles/newzealandstory.htm
  5. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=Crash/Issue68/Pages/Crash6800047.jpg
  6. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=SinclairUser/Issue090/Pages/SinclairUser09000010.jpg
  7. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 78, May 1992
  8. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=ACE/Issue24/Pages/ACE2400062.jpg
  9. ^ a b "The New Zealand Story Review". CRASH (Newsfield) (68). September 1989. 
  10. ^ a b "The New Zealand Story Review". Your Sinclair (Dennis) (45). September 1989. 
  11. ^ "The New Zealand Story Review". Sinclair User (EMAP) (90). September 1989. 
  12. ^ "Top Ten Games". Your Sinclair (Dennis) (47): 6. November 1989. 
  13. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. 
  14. ^ Amiga Power magazine issue 0, Future Publishing, May 1991
  15. ^ Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
  16. ^ Burman, Rob. "New Zealand Story Revolution UK Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-05-31. With a little more thought about level design and a more thorough graphics overhaul, Revolution could have easily stood its ground alongside New Super Mario Bros. As it is stands Tiki's deserves to go the same way as another famous flightless bird - the dodo. 
  17. ^ Reed, Kristen (7 February 2007). "New Zealand Story Revolution". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2009-05-31. ... in small doses, it's a game that finds its own old-school groove, and an enjoyable one for the most part. The touch-screen nonsense does it little favours, though, but luckily doesn't completely ruin the fun. 

External links[edit]