Death Demo

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Wildcard Stream Vol. 22 - Another Spooky Sunday (Part 1)

The horrors of backtracking mostly. This is why you should go to college.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Oct 26, 2022
Part of Series: Wildcard Streams
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♦ Livestream of the following 4 ZZT worlds ♦
• "Torture Chamber" by Gigobyte (1995) []
• (32:15) "Madhouse" by Unknown (2000) []
• (1:06:00) [Ad Break Ends]
• (1:12:10) "Death Demo" by Unknown (2003) [ demo/]
• (1:23:38) "Vampire Immortal" by Ryan Kelly []
(Originally streamed October 23rd, 2022)

Four... surprsingly lengthy ZZT worlds that continue our look at unpreserved horror games. Most of which, are average at best.

"Torture Chamber" has a nice look title screen (yellow border aside), with the world itself being rather messy. A few bugs cause code intended for a failure state to execute leading to a game over regardless of whether you succeed or not. The game loves its ping pong paths, and prolonging the game with lots of "get 5 cyan keys and bring them back here" gameplay requiring so much backtracking. Oh, also a little after the 13 minute mark ZZT locks up in a rather bizarre way with a centipede having a mishap with a blink wall. This may have been the highlight of the entire stream.

"Madhouse" is a little better, with a proper story about stolen gems and a chase through a madhouse (as an amusement park attraction, not a sanitarium) after them. The story never really shows up again save for one board, but there's quite a lot here. It's board after board of elaborate "security system" style design with lots of spinning guns and blinkwalls more than anything else. It just goes on for too long with how repetitive it gets, and runs into problems with a lack of health and ammo. While it's not especially compelling today, had I downloaded it when I was younger, I could definitely see myself having been interested in seeing it through to the end, ...or at least trying to. We ended up calling it halfway through this one.

"Death" is a demo of a rather chaotically designed game full of transporter mazes and piles of monsters. Honestly the weakest of all of them as even though it plays about as well as "Torture Chamber", there's no real theme here, just rooms full of whatever. I guess they do often lead to your death.

Finally, "Vampire Immortal" ends up being the star, but due to how long the rest of the games ran on, we had to call it quits pretty early with plans to return to it next week. A small island nation seems to be having a vampire problem, and your father who has dealt with such a thing before is now too old, so it falls on you to identify these undead creatures and save your island. Many folks on the island think that vampires are just fairy tales and suggest you do something better with your time. Namely, go enroll in the local college. I guess that's fair.

What little is shown here did capture our imaginations at least! Nearly every board includes a scroll with some quite detailed descriptions on each room, really going above and beyond the norm for most ZZT worlds. Hopefully next week we'll see if the bulk of the game can hold up to the writing!

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