Livestream of the MegaZeux demos and project dump of "Sivion" by Monthigos. Originally streamed on December 16th, 2022
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After years of being told by Sivion for ZZT that it will be nothing comparing to the MegaZeux edition I finally decided to check it out. It was promised to be bigger, better looking, and featuring a richer story. Instead, it was a game so massive in scope and constantly trying to come up with more impressive engines for MZX that it went unfinished.
The first demo is a trailer for the game that begins promising so many things. Tactical battles in which you command soldiers, dozens of spells, mini-games, puzzles that require you to get in the characters' heads to figure things out, and so much more.
The second demo is playable, featuring a bit of Bespin recreated in MegaZeux, though many of the locations seen in ZZT are not yet available. The town theme appears to be the Meow Mix theme song?
The final release is a project dump, and it really is full of constant changes to how the gameplay works. One minute you're walking around the forest in the usual overhead view used by ZZT/MZX games, and then suddenly you're wandering around from a first person view. The game's menus imply a number of commands for Rook and his party (which doesn't exist). The writing is indulgent to a fault, with a very lengthy intro (admittedly one very impressive for a MZX game of this vintage) as well that makes everything a slow drawn out process to tell players that there's nothing of interest in a dresser drawer.
The game was setting itself up for failure at every turn, with so much work to be done to create an incredibly detailed world that offers little benefit to players trying to actually see the game's story and interact with its systems. It also contains a disclaimer about how you shouldn't actually drink alcohol when you visit the pub. It's a very weird game. The game over sequence is an amazingly haunting scene showing a silhouette of Rook being brought up to a guillotine before being executed! There really is some impressive work here. The problem is that the game constantly wants to add more and more cool ideas, without considering the burden being placed on actually programming the whole thing.
A pared down but finished release feels like it could have still been an excellent game. Monthingos takes advantage of what MZX can do that ZZT cannot and really wants to impress you, and he's able to do so! He just doesn't know what to call it quits.
And it's worth noting that Monthingos gets a lot more humble over time. The angry lock screen board in the ZZT version being replaced with the opposite, encouraging people to learn from his code and to use it as inspiration for your own creations. It's a good pivot.
The Sivion demos and project dump can be downloaded from DigitalMZX as well as played on your browser from: https://www.digitalmzx.com/search.php?field=author&search=Monthigos
Be sure to download the separate zip files containing music and sound effects for the project dump from the project dump's game page as well! It was common in dial-up days to bundle audio separately so players didn't have to commit to grabbing everything at once.