Review - Zool 2
Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:39 pm
Zool was a game that caused quite a stir for Amiga owners back in the early 90’s. It’s critical and financial success made a sequel inevitable. This Jaguar port could make possible for those who missed it the first time around to see what all the fuss was about.
Though my memory is not totally 100%, I’m all but certain that I got my copy of Zool for either 99 cents, or $1.99 (This was when the Jag was dying and Electronics' Boutique was trying to unload its software) At that price, why wouldn’t anyone buy it? It was cheaper than renting (not that I knew of any place that rented Jag carts sadly) and platformers have universal appeal, don’t they? Well, I like them anyway. Zool is worth more than the pocket change I paid, but would I have paid full price for it.? No. My reason is simple … for everything that Zool does right, it seems to do something equally wrong.
First things first, what is Zool? Basically it’s your standard platform game starring an ant like ninja named, you guessed it, Zool. This sequel adds a 2nd playable character, for more ways to traverse the game. This is a nice, right, addition.
U.S. audiences may find that Zool has a bit of a foreign flavor, but otherwise it should be an easy pick up for most. Not to say that this is an easy game, for it is not. Many stated that Zool 2 (like it’s predecessor) was overly tough, and I won't contradict this. The character is also rather typical of 90’s challengers to Sonic the Hedgehogs top rank (clearly Zool was gunning for Sega’s star) A couple hits in the wrong direction.
Graphically, the colors really pop out of this cart. Are they too much? The visuals, with their cute appearance could be a plus or a minus depending on what your tastes are.
The title character for whom this cart is named is quick and well animated, and he has a slick (though far too brief intro) More or less right, but really other than the more on screen colors, Zool's visuals betray their 16-bit origins. Wrong … the Jag can do better!
The music in this cart surprised me … it is good stuff indeed, especially from the Jag. This is definitely something done right! The sound effects nearly ruin it though. Overly loud, cart quality stuff that you’ll be hearing in abundance thanks to the games emphasis on collecting (more on that in a sec) Wrong ....
Zool is a fast character, which is nice (right) but a couple of things detract from this. The slippery control (thanks to the inertia effect) in my opinion is no good in a platformer (the best inertia is none … off) Also, the need to collect so many trinkets effectively dampens the speed element, as you’ll routinely be slowing down to collect them. As a result, it is not fully realized. Both of these things, in my honest opinion, are wrong.
Zool as a series has just never really been for me. On the Jag, the bulk of my platforming time is spent with Rayman. Other better choices exist in my opinion too, like Soccer Kid (although overpriced) Flashback (although more platform/adventure blend) & Pitfall. Can’t comment on Bubsy yet, as I haven’t played it (I’ll buy a spare if anybody has one) Still, I recognize that some hold Zool in high regard, so if you are curious it might be worth checking out, especially if you are a platform fan. Zool may have never reached the stardom he was aiming for, but he did find his way into some gamer’s hearts.