Watch as I rescue my gaming collection from boxes and lofts, and attempt to justify why I have so many delights that I may never find time to play again, including some for systems I still don’t own…
A Game A Day – Day 1: Zool
I’ve started with Zool – a bit of an odd choice for me as although I had an Amiga for several years, and spent a lot of time playing games on it, Zool was never one of my favourites. That’s not to say it wasn’t pretty good, but I found platformers really become more fun when I got more into console gaming.
That’s not to say it isn’t a great game.
It was originally developed for the Amiga, with versions appearing for the Acron, Atari ST, Game Boy, Mega Drive, SNES, Master System, Game Gearm, Amiga CD32, PC and even arcade machines. It was also bundled with the Amiga 1200, and was created by Gremlin Graphics.
Zool is a gremlin ninja of the Nth Dimension who has to pass seven lands and in addition to the platforming elements it included a number of minigames.
Although it was the best-selling Amiga game of 1992, some people did criticise the fairly early and very pervasive product placement for Chupa Chups and the fact it was bloody hard.
A sequel did arrive in 1993, but only appeared for Amiga, Atari Jaguar, and PC.
Sadly, despite the fact it almost matched the sales of Sonic 2, the blue hedgehog and rival Italian plumber have continued to this day. Meanwhile Zool possibly suffered by being closely tied to the Amiga and Atari – both platforms that experimented and failed with the CD32 and Jaguar.
Meanwhile Gremlin gained faimed for Zool, Premier Manager, the Lotus racing series and the acquisition of DMS Design in 1996 (creators of both Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings). Unfortunately after Gremlin were themselves bought by Infogrames in 1999 it led to the studio closing in 2003.
Personally although it was a decent game, Zool never caught my attention and addiction at the time as much as Sonic and Mario. I don’t know whether that was a lack of taste on my part, or the fact I’d played enough European platform games since Manic Miner on the Spectrum, and preferred being able to plug in a cartridge and enjoy the more exotic exploits of the Japanese invasion. It may just have been that Sonic Two was one of the defining games of that era for me and my friends…
But it’s still worth playing (ironically, the Mega Drive version is smaller, and the SNES version is buggy and best avoided). There’s plenty of choice on ebay for reasonable cash. And plenty of Amigas are also for sale for an authentic experience.