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Phipps Associates
Tony Barber
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Whilst returning from one of those interminable journies to the furthest reaches of the known universe to reconnoitre some useless grid you would like to defend against 3D alien attack craft, you are captured by (guess what) - aliens. But these are a superior life form, and seeing as they are interested in other aliens (like you) they put you in their Zoo. The only way out, you discover (from the cassette inlay) is through all the cages in the zoo. Each cage holds a button (to open the door to the next) and a ferocious type of alien as well. There is a time limit per cage, because If you spend too long in there, your Jailers will start to chase you In a kind of flying machine.

Loony Zoo is a classic type of platform game, where you must make your man Jump from level to level within each screen, avoid the rotten old aliens, and thus reach the flashing button to show you where the exit door is placed. This usually turns out to be right at the opposite point in the cage, which necessitates retracing your steps. The demo shows six screens - whether there are more or not will be up to the player since this didn't prove to be an easy enough game for any reviewer to find out!


Well I suppose it has to be said, this is a Manic Miner copy. It doesn't have the generous graphics of Manic Miner, nor the complexities in the scenario for each cage. But none of this is to say that it isn't worth buying, because Loony Zoo is fiendishly hard to play. Each cage has a different type of alien, each with their own movement characteristics, and each cage has its own layout of ledges. This means that, like in M M, you have to learn the strategy of getting from A to B and back again. I noted quite quickly that the upward route is by no means the one to use on the way b: ck down the cage. The graphics are nicely animated, especially your man who moves and jumps very well. Okay, it's not as mammoth as Manic Miner it is totally addictive and utterly maddening.'

'The game is one of the most addictive I have played. It's difficult, requiring a lot of co-ordination and timing so as to arrive at the right place at the right time to avoid the nasties. The movement and graphics are very good, as is the animation. Apart from that, the screens are rather plain, with simple blocks for the ledges, which I think gives a pleasing and uncluttered look. I really enjoyed the game and found it difficult to eventually pull the plug on.'

'This Just goes to show yet again, that a simple - even a well tested idea, can often be better than a complicated one. Top marks to Phipps for their best arcade game yet. It's basically a simpler version of Manic Miner, simple in the graphics and scenarios, not at all simple in the playing. Thoroughly addictive. I reccomend it.'

Control keys: 6/7 = left/right, M = jump
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: quite good
Graphics: well animated, although two reviewers noted a tendency for the man to land not on top of a ledge sometimes, but more 'inside' it
Sound: not much, but good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: 6
Loading: 2-part for intersections
General Rating: Highly addictive, very good.


Screenshot Text

Loony Tunes in Loony Zoo - jumping the walking washing machines.