Zool

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Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension
Zool cover.jpg
Amiga cover art
Developer(s)Gremlin Graphics
Publisher(s)Gremlin Graphics
Designer(s)George Allan
Composer(s)Patrick Phelan
Neil Biggin (CD32)
Platform(s)Acorn Archimedes, Amiga, Atari ST, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS, Game Boy, Game Gear, Master System, Genesis, SNES
ReleaseOctober 1992
March 1993 (MS-DOS)[1]
Genre(s)Platform
Mode(s)Single-player

Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension is a platform game originally produced for the Amiga by Gremlin Graphics in 1992. It was later ported to several other platforms and followed by Zool 2 in 1993.

Gameplay[edit]

SNES gameplay screenshot

The game is a platform game, relying on smooth, fast-moving gameplay. Its protagonist is Zool, a gremlin "Ninja of the Nth Dimension" who is forced to land on Earth; in order to gain ninja ranking, he has to pass seven lands, beating a boss at the end of each of them. The game contains a number of embedded minigames, including several arcade games, a scrolling space shooter and a game accessible only by making Zool play a certain tune on an in-game piano or finding certain invisible warp points.

Development and release[edit]

Zool was marketed as a rival to Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog. George Allan came with the idea of Zool as he was criticized on his previous game Switchblade II for having a lack of enemies. In development, Zool could cast spells to get him out of trouble by collecting potions. For example, Zool could escape from pits with high jump spells and cast a shadow spell to make a clone of him that follows his actions (thus doubling the fire power). In the final version, the spells were replaced with collectible power-ups. The very early name for the project was Pootz.[2] The soundtrack by Patrick Phelan overlaps with the Lotus 3 soundtrack and inspired several modern electro/techno remixes. The game was heavily hyped upon its initial release, including being bundled with the then-newly launched Amiga 1200, although not the AGA version with enhanced graphics which followed later. In 2000, the Amiga version of Zool was re-released as part of The Best of Gremlin compilation.

Zool was also ported to the Atari ST, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Master System, Sega Game Gear, Amiga CD32, PC, and RISC OS platform, as well as an arcade machine.[3] The Amiga CD32 version has original red book audio tracks by Neil Biggin and has the option to have both sound effects and music. This and the Acorn Archimedes port are the only two incarnations of the original Amiga version to have this. Most computer ports are close to the Amiga original but the Genesis and SNES ports both feature different levels which are structured differently, different background graphics, and unique bosses. The Sega Master System version features smaller, more scaled down stages and a more strict quota on collectible items, but also features unique gameplay moves like a wall climb. With the exception of the CD32 version, all console versions feature the soundtrack of the Amiga original, remixed appropriately for each console's unique sound systems.

Two young adult novels based on the games, entitled Cool Zool and Zool Rules, were released in February 1995. They were written by Stan Nicholls and Ian Edginton and published by Boxtree.[4] The Game Maker's Companion (APress, 2010), a book on hobbyist game development, contains step-by-step instructions on how to remake the original Zool game using GameMaker Studio.[5]

Remaster[edit]

Zool Redimensioned, a remaster of the game, was announced and released in August 2021. It was developed by Sumo Digital Academy and published by publisher Secret Mode on the Steam platform.[6] The game was based on the Mega Drive version, which was included as a bonus.[7] Due to legal reasons, the Chupa Chups brand and logo that have been heavily featured in the Zool series as part of their sponsorship, featured in the opening title and the first level "Sweet World" have been removed due to the brand no longer being associated with the series.

Reception[edit]

The original Amiga game was released to critical acclaim,[10] receiving scores of 97%, 96%, 95% from Amiga Computing, Amiga Action and Amiga Format respectively. Electronic Gaming Monthly claimed, "Zool sports great graphics, but ends up with a case of Super Trolland's disease: your character moves much too fast and with little control!"[8] GamePro gave a positive review of the Game Gear version, praising its "great graphics and sound abound", as well as its "crisp" gameplay.[11]

Retrospectively, Virgin Media included Zool on their list of top ten video game ninja heroes.[12] In 2011, Wirtualna Polska ranked it as the 22nd best game for the Amiga, noting its "absurdly" high difficulty.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Electronic Gaming Monthly's review of the Genesis, version, two critics scored it 5/10, two 6/10, one 7/10.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "PC Zone Magazine". PC Zone. No. 1. April 1993. p. 9. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "Zool preview from CU Amiga (Mar 1992) - Amiga Magazine Rack". Amr.abime.net. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  3. ^ "Zool: Ninja of the 'Nth' Dimension". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  4. ^ "Stan Nicholls". Knibbworld.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  5. ^ [1] Archived March 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Romano, Sal (4 August 2021). "Zool Redimensioned announced for PC". Gematsu. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  7. ^ "16-bit icon Zool returns in Zool Redimensioned, out this month". 4 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b Semrad, Ed; Carpenter, Danyon; Manuel, Al; Sushi-X; Weigand, Mike (January 1994). "Review Crew". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Vol. 7, no. 1. pp. 38–52.
  9. ^ Webb, Trenton (December 1993). "Zool". GameZone. No. 14. pp. 34–35. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  10. ^ "Amiga magazines - Amiga Magazine Rack". Amr.abime.net. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  11. ^ "Zool". GamePro. IDG (58): 130. May 1994.
  12. ^ "Zool (Zool) - Top ten ninjas - Pictures - Games". Virginmedia.com. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  13. ^ "22. Zool - 30 najlepszych gier na Amigę". Gry.wp.pl. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-28.

External links[edit]