Title T-Zero Game Type Shoot-em-up Publisher ClickBOOM Game Type Shoot-em-up Publisher ClickBOOM Players 1 or 2 Compatibility AGA (CD drive) HD Installable Yes (Compulsory) Submission Eric Haines (firstname.lastname@example.org) Review In the modern computer game world of high-tech 3D wonders, it's a little surprising that ClickBOOM would release what amounts to a plain, old-fashioned, sideways scrolling shoot-em-up. I wonder if it will be the last commercial game of this type? To be sure, it's still a modern CD-ROM game, with loads of options, rendered animation, CD soundtracks, the ability to save your game, and so on. You can choose how much of the game to install on your hard drive - my 16x CD-ROM coped quite well, but unfortunately the minimum install doesn't allow for saved games to work, so I went with the next level up, which uses around 50MB of hard drive space. T-Zero requires AGA and doesn't work on graphics card modes. Fortunately I have a PicassoIV, so this doesn't matter much, though the programmers did use an odd screen mode that causes some color flickering on still images. This is a little distracting, though luckily the game itself is free of this problem, which probably wouldn't occur for those not using scan-doubling anyway. The graphics themselves are quite professionally done throughout the game. The 3D rendered sequences aren't the best I've seen, though they do have a unique style and are interesting to watch a few times. Still images are high-resolution and look great, aside from my color flicker problem. In-game graphics are extremely smooth and all the various ships and backgrounds are well-drawn. You can choose to have various levels of background animation, though the highest level I found a bit distracting, and it also led to the one real problem I found with the game: Major graphics-trashing. This usually happened when there were lots of objects on-screen at once, and caused the game to be nearly unplayable until the trashed graphics scrolled off-screen. Using medium background animation solved this, however. One of the options lets you choose between two modes of play: Arcade and high-tech. The former turns all the bonuses into somewhat silly-looking flowers and fruit and so on, whereas high-tech gives you more standard colored metallic shapes. Also there are different sets of CD soundtracks for each mode. Useless? Yes, but kind of amusing. This applies to a lot of the options, actually. Do you really need to choose the color of explosions? The sound is mostly standard zaps and explosions, with some voice by the ClickBOOM lady, who does a somewhat better job than she did on Napalm. The CD soundtracks aren't much better than the Amiga could do with mods, but they're nicely arcade-ish anyway. Sometimes they run out before the level does, but in this case I suppose that's better than the pause you normally get while the CD track loops. Now for the gameplay: well, it's a standard sideways scrolling shooter, like R-type or Project X. All of the bells and whistles don't change that. You get to choose between 3 ships, and there are a bunch of power-ups, but that's nothing new. Each level has two different paths you can take, but that's not exactly ground-breaking either. What is unusual is the editor, so you can make your own levels. But people don't seem too motivated to use it, because I haven't seen any T-Zero levels anywhere. I haven't even looked at it myself, since I still haven't made it through the game - either T-Zero is hard, or I'm not too good at it. (Entirely possible, as I haven't played any sideways scrollers in years.) The save-game feature is not common among shooters either, and I found it to be quite welcome. So, if you still like old-fashioned blasting waves of aliens, get T-Zero. Everything else these days is either 3D or a real-time strategy game of some sort, so in a sense it's sort of refreshing. It's certainly well done and rather fun. A footnote about the copy protection: it's annoying and stupid. After playing a level, you're required to look up some symbols from the manual and enter a code. This would deter pirates for all of 5 minutes while they found a decent photocopier, and serves only to irritate legitimate buyers. The only saving grace is that you only have to do this once per game session, but it still puts me off from playing a little.