Invasion ZZT Revision

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Closer Look: Invasion ZZT Revision (Part 2)

The long drawn out conclusion and a lot of PSAs about drinking and driving

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Jul 15, 2020
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The rest of the aliens (despite being the ones suggesting an attack in the first place) rally behind Sam's decisiveness.

Though I am amused that one of the aliens refers to their own kind as "aliens".


Anne isn't as readily convinced, and the fact the she has her doubts is what helps make her just as memorable as Sam. From what we've seen of her own story in all this, she's been able to avoid violence and now has to decide if she's able to take cross that line. Sam meanwhile has been shooting aliens all night. Her fear of the effect of all this on Sam can't stand up to her fear of what will happen if they don't work together and she joins in, not enthusiastically, but not with as much reluctance as she could have shown.


Everyone exits single file and heads towards the bridge.


Of course it's not like the bridge is right there. First there's a residential area with some nicely numbered living quarters.


This chest here contains 100 ammo. After all this time Sam's ammo finally goes up, and the end result is having just slightly less ammo than when Andrew first gave us a bunch of bullets at the start of the game.

The alien in the room with two beds is lamenting how awkward it is to share a room if he wants to bring his girlfriend over.

The alien standing against a wall is searching for more secret passages and reveals the location of the programmer's room to Sam in case he managed to miss it.


The moment Sam walks into the next room Alena provides another warning to the player to save their game. This one seems a little nicer as it's not warning about dodgy mechanics like instant game overs, but it's still breaking the flow of the game.


Honestly what makes it feel weird in this case is less that the author is interjecting a message directly to the player and not doing so within the game's world, but that the lead-up to this scary final fight is walking past some mostly empty alien dorms. It just doesn't have the right atmosphere.

You get aliens talking about how it's important to keep your room clean and not the invasion and how humanity is going to be enslaved or destroyed or whatever the specifics are.


One of the crates offers the connection of who the alien leader actually is. Nobody's spoken of him as such so far, but it's none other than MysteryX, the alien who injured another alien in the arena earlier. I guess that shows the player what they're dealing with, but also Alena's character had no problems taking him down so it's difficult to feel all that intimidated.


This would've been a much nicer spot to remind the player to save. It's still nothing too wild, just some blinking torches lining the inside of that room with a passage in it, but that's much more threatening than living quarters.

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Hey Sam.

▓░> Sam <▓░
I am so close, I can't back down now!

That's the spirit!
Let's storm the bridge. The renegades
will attack the crew and lock the door
behind us, so if there is anything you
need to do, I suggest you do it now.

Once the renegades have opened fire, we
will sneak in the back room and destroy
the storage crates full of the energy.
Once this is done, the renegades in space
will have a better chance.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Gotcha. But let's not forget my doggy!


Let's do it!
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There's finally an actual plan and it seems pretty sound. The renegades onboard will distract the crew so Sam and Anne can sneak into the back and destroy the supply of purple gel and rescue doggy. Once the gel is out of the picture the additional renegades can begin to attack the ship from space.

The team rushes to the passage and Sam follows...


The bridge is about how you'd expect Alena to make it look by this point. A few odds and ends and this big thing in the middle for MysteryX to be frightening from.


It's not much of a surprise attack as the team is immediately spotted and there's a bit of conversation before anybody starts shooting.


There's no exciting action sequence here. A scripted event plays out quickly with a few renegades making short work of two of the alien guards.

  â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢    â€¢
You idiots! I have had my fill of you
renegades, and with you miserable humans!
You thwarted my plans at the old mill
and you renegades have hunted us even to
this depth of the universe! CURSE YOU!!!

I WILL finish the transport to the comet
and I WILL perfect the engine gem fuel!
We WILL amass the ultimate power from
the gems and conquer EVERYTHING!

I refuse you let you win anymore!

Bring the slave puppy!

▓░> Sam <▓░


Yes... You see I returned the other
slaves to your miserable mudpile planet
but I was expecting you to fight your way
here. I believe you know my trump card
better as "Doggy"!


▓░> Sam <▓░

You monster!!

Tsk, Tsk Human. Be carefull not to bite
the hand of your new god!
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The whole dumb animals as slaves didn't work out, but MysteryX knew Sam's dog was valuable in a different way and is taking him hostage to thwart the renegades' plans.

There could be some strife here as to whether or not the renegades would particularly care about this Earth creature when potentially the fate of the entire universe is at stake here, but what happens instead is something a lot more unexpected (even if perhaps it shouldn't be).

Okay. Okay I did not expect this to happen. Alena seriously just killed off Andrew doggy.

Sam is having a very bad day.

In contrast with Andrew, honestly this one is even more surprising. Despite Alena pulling the death of a character twice, this one is incredibly unexpected. Doggy has been little more than a generic plot point to get things moving, and while it's clear Sam cares about him dearly, there's no interaction between the two unlike with him and Andrew.

I can't really think of any other ZZT games that pull the death of a pet off. I can't even think of something cartoonish or even edgy. Even in the Freak Da Cat series which features a villain named "Mr. I-Love-Dogs", doesn't let Freak actually hurt any of the dogs he has to deal with, and if it did I imagine it would be as emotional as Mario jumping on a goomba.

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Sam! We must follow him! We can't let him
get away with this nor can we let him
finish the transport! I will detonate the
crates, give me cover!

▓░> Sam <▓░

We have to do this! We can get cover from
the renegades, we have to stop the
transport! If we don't the Aliens will

▓░> Sam ░▓
... Promise me you won't die.


▓░> Sam ░▓
Tell me you won't die! Everything
and everyone I love is dead! My brother,
Andrew, my doggy, I can't loose you!

I promise Sam.. If you stay by my side
I know I wont die!
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Needless to say, Sam is crushed. He starts having a breakdown on the spot, finally expressing grief for Andrew and doggy but his brother as well. Despite the heavy themes of the importance of open communication, Sam's still been bottling things up this entire game and is a bit of a mess right now, terrified that he's going to lose Anne next.


Anne is able to snap him out of it, at least for the time being and the scene finally erupts into a battle. Sam and Anne have the job of finding and destroying the gel, so there's no time to get involved, and all the shooting is just for visual effects. None of the renegades or crew members actually get hurt, meaning that Sam is the only one to deal with a personal loss here.


On the next screen things really do pick up as far as danger goes. MysteryX explains that the transporter is set to send everything to the comet and that there's no way to stop his conquest.

Anne takes the job of running around destroying the crates while Sam's job is to fight off MysteryX and keep her safe.

Worth noting is that Anne tells Sam to take out the gun towers using the bombs, but the "gun towers" are in fact just spinning guns which can't be destroyed by anything making the bombs useless.


My first attempt at this went pretty well despite not knowing what I was doing or that the bombs would be a waste of time.


But at the last moment Anne was struck by a bullet and killed with MysteryX finishing off Sam afterwards.

On subsequent attempts, Anne was getting shot constantly. I never even got close to as far as I did on my first try. It definitely got frustrating at a certain point and I wound up saving in the middle of the board so I didn't have to constantly restart the whole thing.

The spinning guns make things way too random and even if you think to try just tanking bullets for Anne, MysteryX's attack pattern is to move and shoot towards the player so she'll likely end up just getting hit by something aimed at Sam. The idea behind this fight is really good, but it definitely needs to be a bit more consistent in order for it to be an enjoyable sequence.


Eventually I pulled through and Anne was able to destroy all the crates. Now we're just at the point where the villain gets fussy and decides to just destroy things just to spite the player rather than go ahead with his original plans that have been foiled.


Sam and Anne take the transporter and follow MysteryX onto the comet where they discover that it's entirely artificial and absolutely loaded with purple gel.

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That was him!

▓░> Sam <▓░
Anne, we have got to stop him before
anything else goes wrong, we lost
Andrew, my puppy, who even knows how
many renegades died and I have no clue
how we are even going to get home...
This must end now...

I agree, but...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Anne, this looks like the control area.
You should see what you can do about
getting us home...

What are you going to do?

▓░> Sam <▓░
I have a score to settle...


Please Sam, be careful!
I will be working on an escape plan...

Be strong...
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By now both parties are just improvising. Sam and Anne have no idea if it's possible to stop the comet, or even how to get off it. They're committed to seeing this through to the end with Sam vowing to settle everything once and for all.

Sam gets a second kiss from Anne and once again says nothing about it.

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You miserable swine.
the things you must have learned on this
little adventure of yours... I have no
idea how you could press me against such
a wall, but this is our last bout.

If you win, the invasion plans are off and
the energy will never make it to my
superiors, leaving us helpless to the

If I win, the Universe will fall into my
hands, along with the blood of your

This comet is not an ordinary comet or
ship, human. This is the combined hatred
of everything our race has seen or have
been done to us...

Our fears, pain and desire for
revenge created this and with my death, I
will be the master of this wickedness!

Good-bye human. Our next meeting will be
between you, myself and this evil...
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Sam gives chase and the truth of the comet is revealed. It's a creation of pure hatred! This next fight is going to determine the outcome of the invasion.

There's this really cool sequence where MysteryX merges and becomes one with the comet, turning the fight into Sam versus a giant creature of hate. That so much of the board shuffles around really makes this a unique experience compared to most ZZT bosses that are intended to be massive creatures.


Between this fight and the previous section with Anne dying to bullets, it's a shame that the quality of the game finally dips here. Invasion ZZT has been above average from the very beginning, but the end winds up being a bit weak.

Despite the impressive initial formation, the boss fight here is like any other giant ZZT boss: a few moving parts that shoot bullets and some weak point for Sam to attack. There's this bomb dispenser at the bottom of the chamber with which to push bombs up the screen and blast MysteryX in the face with.

The spiky red bits in the middle move in an up-and-down pattern, but don't actually hurt Sam if he gets too close causing them to end up being a helpful barrier to block bullets from the left side with. This combined with all the health Sam has makes it pretty much just an exercise in running back and forth across the screen with a bomb and not caring about taking damage at all.

It might be better off this way, since there's very little time to actually push any bombs to the top and into position. With less health I think this would end up being quite frustrating trying to get a good bullet pattern to be able to get through completely safely instead of being able to just accept the damage.


Oh, and also every time you bomb MysteryX this text appears up top.


After ten bombs MysteryX will be defeated and Sam will be free to leave.

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Sam! What the heck is going on!?!

Are you alright?

▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea... I think it's over Anne...

You beat MysteryX !?!
Amazing! Sam you did it!

▓░> Sam <▓░
Assuming the renegades survived the
attack and that this comet was indeed
the final destination of the gel
It looks like the universe is safe...


Oh? However what?

▓░> Sam <▓░
My puppy....

What the heck is the point?

Oh... I see.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Let's just get the heck out of here...

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The celebration is short-lived. Sure the universe is safe and all, but it came at tremendous personal loss to Sam. This kid is definitely going to be dealing with the trauma of what happened tonight for years to come.

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Um... Sam?

▓░> Sam <▓░

It seems the controls have been severed
by MysteryX. That's not all though...
When you defeated him after he merged with
the comet the comet died with him...

There is no way out...

▓░> Sam <▓░
That's too much for one man to swallow!
Why does everything happen to the
good guys!

Darnit! I just wish things were fair!

I'm scared Sam!

* Just then a single tear of compassion &
purity falls from Sam's eye.. *

What the !?!?
The Comet is shaking!!!
We're in serious trouble!

▓░> Sam <▓░
We have got to get out of here!

I don't know what to do!!!
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But he still hasn't suffered enough. The controls have been destroyed and the comet is now I guess just floating in space? Hopefully it's not going to crash into the Earth.


The only real option left is to run, but there doesn't seem to be any place to go. The whole comet is sucked into some sort of vortex, but then a mysterious figure appears.

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We've got major problems here!!!!

▓░> Sam <▓░
No more problems!!!
We... holy crap!!!
What the heck is this!?!?

I don't know but we're gonna be swallowed

Sam, we're going to die!

▓░> Sam <▓░
No.. I can't let this happen.. not now!
Not to you!


▓░> Sam <▓░
What the...
Is that who I think it is?!?!



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Things get serious pretty quickly. Sam and Anne are pretty convinced that they're going to die here and Alena carries that sense of urgency and panic in their voices quite well.

But then Andrew appears??


If that's Andrew, he's not saying anything. He just walks into the vortex and Anne is soon sucked in. The two are still certain this is the end for them.


After Anne cries out for help as she's sucked into the vortex Sam is next. There's a nice effect where objects surround Sam and push him along, forcing the player along for the ride.


It's all kind of beautiful.

This board is really minimalist, with nothing more than some blinking vortex and Sam falling through space, still being pushed along.


Somehow Sam has made it back to Earth, but Anne is nowhere to be seen.


In the sky, the vortex moves in on the comet, enveloping and destroying it for good.

It is very unclear what just happened.


Although back on Earth, Sam isn't sure exactly where he's landed. This is unfamiliar territory. It doesn't take long for Sam to be found by a fisherman living on the waterfront here. He explains that Sam isn't the first person to come out from the woods tonight and invites Sam inside to join the others.


Two familiar faces are inside. (Don't mind the fact that this screenshot comes after one of them leaves.)

Anne and Friends
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▓░> Anne <▓░
Oh I am so glad you are alright!!!

▓░> Sam <▓░

▓░> Andrew <▓░

Hey Sam!

▓░> Sam <▓░
Your'e alive!?!?

▓░> Andrew <▓░

I have no idea what happened but I
remember being caught by the guards on the
UFO and after that I remember a flash of
bright blue light and all of a sudden I
was on a wierd.. thing and was pulled in
to a even brighter blue light and found
myself waking up to that old man poking me
in a tree!

▓░> Sam <▓░
After we beat MysteryX the whole comet
acted funny...

▓░> Andrew <▓░

It's nice to see you Sam..

▓░> Anne <▓░

I think that when your tears touched the
evil that had taken the form of the comet
your love seriously messed it up!

▓░> Sam <▓░
I..I guess.

▓░> Anne <▓░

It must have caused a warp of some sort
that brought us here and reversed the
death of Andrew...

Maybe we had not only reversed it, we may
have travelled to a point and prevented

▓░> Sam <▓░
That sounds a touch outlandish

▓░> Anne <▓░

Sam dear... You destroyed a comet and
went on a UFO...

▓░> Sam <▓░
I see your point...
How the heck are we going to get home
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It's quite a lot to take in. Andrew is alive and well once more. The best theory the kids can come up with is that Sam's tears reacted with the evil of the comet and "seriously messed it up". Messed it up to the point of reversing the flow of time, reviving Andrew and resulting in the vortex destroying the comet.

I'm glad to see Andrew is alive, but this ending is a tad disappointing in how everything is reset like nothing ever happened. Granted, the reunited trio has their memories of everything so it's not a total rewrite of the past few hours.

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I'll tell you what.. You seem like good
folk. My daughter is in town but I am
an old man and just can't deliver her
food and money for her University anymore.
If I lend you my boat you can bring her
some food and find your way home...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Wow! That's very generous of you sir...

I should be getting a new job in town
soon anyway. My daughter's husband is
a sailor as well but crashed his ship a
few years back...

He could return it for me and help me
make the journey once all my buisness is
done here...
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Except the game isn't over just yet. Honestly it really should be, but there's still this one last weird quest to deliver some supplies to the fisherman's daughter.

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▓░> Sam <▓░

I just wanted to thank you for everything
you did for me, your friends and the

▓░> Sam <▓░
Thanks.. You did so much work of your own
that you are equally if not more so
a hero...

When I look at the stars I see so much
more than before. I see that struggle has
no escape, but I also see that struggle
has a medicine. The bravery to stand up
for your own personal beliefs in the face
of adversary.

▓░> Sam <▓░

I see that love and hard work can indeed
make life fair...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Anne.. I... I


What the heck is Andrew doing down there!?
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Those little moments of philosophy and the importance of making the world a better place are back, but everything's pretty much wrapped up at this point so by now I just really wanted to get things over with.


And yeah, doggy and Andrew are fine too of course.

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* Sam grabs his doggy with the biggest
smile... *

▓░> Sam <▓░
I was so afraid I would never see you
again! You are so important to me, I
don't ever want to go through that again!


▓░> Sam <▓░
I guess you're right.. It probably
was worse for you...

I think this nightmare is over buddy!
Everyone is safe, the evil has been
stopped and ... well, just between you
and me... I think I kinda like Anne.


▓░> Sam <▓░
Geez... We haven't even been on a date

I have learned that life is unfair but
only because of some stupid things...
If you try to change those things,
dreams can come true and life can be


▓░> Sam <▓░
For sure! It will take cooperation.
Simple but I fear it may never be...


▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea... let's go get some air
I love ya buddy! It's nice to see you
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There's a touching reunion, and after all this time Sam finally realizes that he does have feelings for Anne as well. I guess nearly dying on a comet will make you realize the way you feel.


I am in fact skipping over another heavy dialog board in which you unload the supplies and the trio realizes that they've only been gone for an hour. It seems they've been sent back in time for sure.

Finally they make it home and everything can draw to an end.


Except eventually one of the kids' parents noticed their child was missing. Sam provides a pretty quick excuse without explaining how doggy and Andrew died on a UFO and they blew up a comet, but his mom doesn't really care either way.

The other kids leave Sam for their own homes, expecting to be grounded and/or killed for being out so late.


Still going.


Given the alternative of Andrew and doggie being dead, I guess it's no surprise the kids aren't too upset about getting grounded. What a rough reward for saving the world.


I genuinely don't get why this aspect is included. Just have the fisherman drop the kids off and be done with it. Instead we get a surprising amount of detail about the fisherman's daughter Sylvie and her sailor husband Steve. The two plan to build a small cottage so Sylvie's dad can be closer to them and ask the kids to keep it a secret.

It's sweet and all, but the game is over and this is just dragging it out to no benefit. This kind of world-building would have done better at the start of the game rather than this late.


Despite how incredibly drawn out this ending is, it's still beautiful to look at, and the characters' wistful and dreamy dialog fits the aesthetic perfectly.

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Um.. So what's up anyway?

▓░> Sam <▓░
What do you think the meaning of life

Well, Theologins have been trying...

▓░> Sam <▓░
No, not our purpose..
What do you think makes life worth

I'm not sure I follow...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Well.. I think it's happiness.
The reason people do things is because it
makes someone, usually themselves, happy.

I see..

▓░> Sam <▓░
I realized many things lately.
I learned about hope and happiness
most of all...

We are here because of happiness.
I am happy with you..

Oh.. *blush*
I am happy with you too...

▓░> Sam <▓░
I always wanted to change the world.
I guess I actually did it

Yea, but the world seems to look very
similar to me...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea, but I did change MY world..
Not much beats personal growth, happiness
and introspection.

We almost died out there Anne. It made
me realize that I need to grab for that
I cannot do without and leave what
needs I do not really need behind..

Life is short huh?

▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea.. It really is.

This is a beautiful night Sam...

▓░> Sam <▓░

▓░> Doggy <▓░

▓░> Sam <▓░
I'm trying!!

Trying to do what?

▓░> Sam <▓░
Um... well it's like this I guess...


▓░> Sam <▓░
As the moon follows the sun, follows the
moon. I will forever follow you...

I um....

I feel the same Sam...
I love you too...

I've cared about you for so long.
This really is an amazing night...
I feel so insane....

▓░> Sam <▓░
I love you.

About time you said that!

▓░> Sam <▓░
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Sam after all that he's been through is finally able to express that he does have feelings for Anne, in an incredibly dorky way, but it's better than continued awkward science.


Doggy runs off, sprinting towards the credits as if he wants to hurry up and get this over with. Maybe I'm projecting.

Actually, this is where the gems come into play. If you don't have all of them, doggy runs to the next board which contains the credits. If you do have all ten gems, a path to that tiny island in the corner will appear and doggy will run inside the cave instead.


Literally running onto the credits like this is really cool. It puts the board into this weird space since the game isn't quite over. Anne and Sam talk a little bit more about doggy and how playful he is and how much they love each other. They don't react to the board being credits or anything, and I think it makes for a striking way to actually end the game. You're half wandering in space, half reading the game's credits, and half just out on a walk with Anne and doggy. Three very different halves.

The player does have freedom of movement as well. Plenty of games would immediately hit the game over at this point, and a few (usually annoyingly) will just kind of let the player float in space until they choose to quit.


Alena instead asks the player to enter a passage for one last farewell.

It's all over now, well, aside from cheating my way into that bonus dungeon...

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