By: Agent Orange
Reviewed: 2 years, 8 months ago (March 27, 2020, midnight)
Castle of Zandia is a 1994 ZZT game without STK or too many pre-made enemies, but the game is well designed with real thought given to puzzles and board layout. There are no stars, spinning gun gauntlets, or shark-ridden water, which is always welcome. The puzzles are usually so designed that they avoid the player getting frustrated most of the time. Boss fights are a bit more of a mixed bag, with one involving centipede heads that mob that gets cheap fast. There were a few boards with slimes which can be dicey to shoot your way out of, especially since this makes ammo a bit scarce at points.
Apart from ammo, which you should save whenever possible, the game keeps you well stocked with health and torches more through bonuses than shops. The graphics are good or at worst serviceable, and use good shading or pseudo-3D effects. There are plenty of 'flavour' objects-okay, trees and flowers-to interact with to make the game feel more fleshed-out. Hints and advice are spread out well with scrolls so you never feel 'why did they tell me that ALLL the way back then?'.
It is quite long gameplay-wise but never a drag. This is helped by the game being intelligently broken up into 'areas' 4 to 5 boards long. This is clearly a sign of things to come from the author of Ned the Knight, and is a fun game that can be warmly recommended on its own merits.
Reviewed: 16 years, 7 months ago (April 13, 2006, midnight)
This was indeed a pretty good game. I didn't finish it like I should have, and the graphics were indeed fairly primitive, but it is still a very decent game. What I liked best was how LaMar utilized various complex traps and stuff by using relatively basic ZZT elements. Definitely worth the 15 or so minutes of gameplay; download this today to see for yourself.
Reviewed: 16 years, 7 months ago (April 12, 2006, midnight)
there's not much to say bad about this game, but as a game from 94, it certainly shows its age. it uses the pre-fab enemies along with some programed ones. The balance is good. if you're smart you really won't find yourself suffering for ammo or health. there are some puzzles here too, slider puzzles and key/door puzzles. The graphics are pretty eye-pleasing for a non-stk game, there are fake 3d walls, a pleasing mix of colours, and good detail with objects "this is a flower". there are some dark rooms used well as most of them are enemy-less mazes, and there is one really easy invisimaze.
if you enjoy classic zzting, this game certainly fits the bill, it's pretty lengthy too, so you get a lot for your buck even if you do play fast. as part 1 of an incomplete series, it stands very well on it's own.