Thursday, June 24, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Zoom!

Retro Game of the Day! Zoom!

Zoom! by Discovery Software, ported to the Sega Genesis in 1989 following a PC release a year earlier.
In the earliest of the early days, after the Sega Genesis came out, there were a handful of exciting titles available at the system's launch. Of course, there were one or two titles which were not so spectacular. One of these was called Zoom!

This was one of the games you always saw a card for at Toys R Us, and it's pouch was always stuffed with redemption papers. Nobody wanted this poor game! Finally I gave it a rental, and saw that there was not actually too much to Zoom. It was advertised as a PC game in the mags some time before.. you were a sphere, and you had to trace lines and avoid nukes or something. For the Genesis version, Mr. Ball became Mr. Smart, a rat-pig-still ballish looking thing, though not necessarily imbued with too much more personality (other than the curiosity of firing rubber balls out of his tucus.)

For several reasons, the game felt like a union of Q*Bert and Qix, though not half as good as either of those games. You were this strange character tasked with tracing lines to fill in rectangular segments on each game board, and aside from collecting the odd power-up you must avoid enemies. Standard stuff, and fairly-enough presented for a launch title.

The game has plenty of annoying idiosyncracies (anyone familiar with Zoom! will cringe at the mention of "c'mon, boy!" which is both it's one redeeming quaity yet most damning feature). A strange title for Sega to launch alongside it's initial lineup of Genesis software, you had to give it to them for being open-minded and experimental.

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