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Mastertronic Ltd
1986
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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77
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Not bad at all. Zzzz is, in its own quiet way, an attempt to bring some original touches to adventure game design. Fundamentally, it's what one can only call a graphics adventure but some of the more tedious aspects of playing adventures have been replaced by an option to use single-key, icon-based commands. Standard options like Enter, Save, compass directions, Get etc, are represented by a variety of icons which may be highlighted using the joystick rather than typing the complete command.

The centre screen shows the current location, graphics are quite simple but not without some charm, around Knight's Quest quality (for those who can remember that far back) and drawn instantly.

As an adventure, Zzzz has some interesting ideas. The first is the original premise - that all the events happen in your dreams and only dream logic applies. Your quest is to metaphorically cross the dream border post and wake up, the alternative is to remain lost in dream land forever. James Joyce would have been proud. Another nice touch is the Sanman, a peculiar character who pops up in unlikely places and makes curious observations that may or may not count as actual clues.

The opening of the game is packed full of promising clue-laden situations - your bed floats to a far shore, there you meet the Sanman for the first time under a bucket dug up in a beach, and you have both a bike and a bus to take you to other lands - but the opening screen has said you are thirsty and there is an ice palace that seems to be locked. Nothing makes any obvious sense but you can reason your way to some sort of solution.

For those who like their adventures without pixies, trolls or other mystical creatures the peculiar worlds and problems to be found in Zzzz may be a very challenging option. Particularly if you can assimilate shooting ducks, leading orchestras, London busses and the wild west and still hold on to your sanity.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Clive Wilson and Les Vogarth
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****

A surprisingly imaginative adventure, at a budget price, particularly for those into pixiless posers.

5/5