Review by MaullarMaullar

"This game is no less a game than it is a touchy-feely ASCII game development environment."

Some look at ZZT and see a boring old crappy DOS game with four boring old levels. However, if one takes the time to look into it, they will find an easy yet capable ASCII-based game development system! With an easy-to-use world editor and ZZT-OOP (the official programming language of ZZT world design, easy to use with elements of Basic and C), entire ''worlds'' can be created. Hex editing expands the capabilities of the ZZT system, and today obtaining colors outside the regular 7 of ZZT is just a few imported ''boards'' away. ZZT has great potential, from making RPGs to making side-scrollers.

The included ''worlds'' are pretty boring: just walk around, pick up keys, shoot stuff. However, anyone with a good knowledge of ZZT-OOP programming can make his/her own fun new world. Entire web sites have been filled with excellent ZZT games (custom-built worlds) from various sources. Based off of the defaults, the gameplay would be a 3/10, but the creative potential of the game in its entirety earns it a 10/10.

Well, there is none really. It's up to you, when making your own worlds, to include a story. 0/10 for story.

Well, the audio is PC speaker and the graphics are entirely made of ASCII characters. However, ZZT's awesome capability extends to this field as well. Beautiful PC speaker tunes have been synthesized in the ZZT editor, and the diverse 255-character charset of ASCII allows surprisingly good graphics... for a 10 year old ASCII game. Heh. I give the audio/video in this game a 7/10, because it was great in its time.

This game is the KING of replayability. Using the editor, you can create entire new worlds, or just play custom worlds made by others. Swapping worlds you have built produces strong friendships, as well. ZZT will provide you with endless fun long after you have beaten the default worlds. This game's replayability deserves a 6.02 * 10^23/10, but the best I can give is a 10/10.

To buy or rent?
You don't need to do either; ZZT can be downloaded anywhere for free in its full version, thanks to the generosity of Epic Megagames. I would gladly pay $10 for it were it not free, though. Definitely ''buy'' it. ;)

This game is no less a game than it is a touchy-feely ASCII game development environment. Overall, it earns a 9/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/31/01, Updated 12/31/01

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