Gingermuffins is responsible for many of the best games in the past year, and his first major (released) undertaking is no exception. I certainly didn't expect to see two files when I opened the zip and was well pleased to have a solid game in front of me.
Sugartits is (for fear of sounding like a parrot) very creative in terms of plot and execution. The game is presented very well, the dialogue is exaggerated just enough in the right areas and is subtle when required (as in the ending sequence). There are parts of the game that look really great and have great effects, but this is not as consistent as I would have liked.
The game starts very adventure-esque and has some good engines. A cautious reminder to save before you go drunk driving is well heeded. The graphics are stylised greyscale until you travel back in time to the jungle where it becomes colourised. Now we get to the RPG parts of the game where I can no longer drunkenly run about but instead must actually think and demonstrate some rudimentary reflexes. The engine used here, and for the rest of the file, is good but quickly degrades. There is no respite (which ironically the engine reminds me of) throughout the length of a prolonged dungeon-crawly section. Backgrounds here (and less often elsewhere boarder on being good in an abstact sort of way, to being bad, with long lines of solid clashing colours and little in the way of representing a jungle with the exception of the initial jungle board. The leveling up is good, comes on at an acceptable rate and the health, torch and ammo supply rarely dwindles. The enemies are well designed for the most part, and demonstrated separate behaviour which was well done. In the caves ginger uses his effect well, but here also the caves are rather plain. This is less noticeable, because man have I seen some plain caves playing zzt.
Enemy's generally beat you by shear force of numbers. Later the undead start to rise, and a little later (a little too late in fact) I am instructed I have a ?+i menu by which I can "pray". I think this should have come earlier or not at all. Eventually (in the second file) Ginger has ditched the RPG parts and the game becomes a shooter. The gameplay in the second file I think is more solid than the rest, since near the end of the RPG engine you had already resorted to shooting everything.
There are no puzzles, which is not a bad thing, and the action is laid on thick.
The ending sequence (with excellent animation) is very much worth the effort, and going to hell is pretty cool.
This game is really awesome, funny, and hell, fun. I expected nicer environments from the game especially in the dungeons and jungle, but was well satisfied by the whole.
(Spoilers ahead, but I reveal no more than the previous review did.)
When I am told that a game is "creative," I worry. Usually this means "awful." ZZT, in particular, has given us lots of stupid-creative games.
The premise of "Sugartits" - play as a drunken Mel Gibson! - looked stupid-creative, but gingermuffins' Weekend of ZZT entry was good, so I gave it a shot. I'm glad I did. This game is funny and exciting and sometimes even smart-creative.
The game wades deep into stupid-creative territory, with bizarre time travel and vomit, but is rarely stupid. Stupid-creative humor assumes that time machines and vomit are so inherently funny that actual comedy is unnecessary. gingermuffins knows that you have to WORK to tell a good vomit joke, and he does. Like everything else in the game, the vomit joke is neatly executed and, as far as I could tell, bug-free.
The Hell sequences are, likewise, clever. Stupid-creative treatments of Hell are common, but gingermuffins takes the "LOL WE HAZ GUD TIEM IN HELL" jokes in an unusual direction. Like many good comedies, this game has an undercurrent of compassion. Hell is not inherently funny - it's a horrific invention - but the fear of Hell can be very funny.
I think that the game works partly because the engines are fun and replete with small details, like the whizzing background of the driving scene. It doesn't hurt that the final scene is kind of exciting. But the real coup here is the performance of gingermuffins' version of Mel Gibson. By the end of the game, Mel becomes a weirdly sympathetic character. Yes, he's drunk, anti-Semitic, presumptuous, loud, fanatical, and insanely quixotic. But he's got his reasons, even if they are incredibly stupid. He really tries, y'know? And that makes him fun to play as, in a way that would be impossible for a more self-conscious PC. It's also responsible for the game's funniest line.
If there's any life left in ZZT, this game ought to spawn imitators. It's smarter than it has to be and consistently fun, and this shows real craft on the part of its designer. There are weaknesses - the RPG segment seemed a little unbalanced, and could have used a few more bosses, and it would have been cool if the control scheme for the driving sequence had been a little wobbly and the cars on the other side of the freeway were visible - but they're minor. This is a very good game.
Sugartits. The first time i heard the title, i thought it was gonna be a mindless trippy plotless zzt game like for instance "omg lol" from maladroit. But after gin talked about the game on the Z2 boards, I got a little interested and decided to download the demo. The demo was pretty solid. Wished there was more, but it was only a demo. Then finally today it came out in all of its glory. Sure it was late, but who cares, its ZZT not Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo. I can't really tell much of the story but I'll tell you 3 things its about. Mel Gibson, Jews, and Danny Glover. The things I liked about the game is that it is pretty unique. From vomiting in parking lots to trying to escape a glitchy time machine, ginger really put alot of work into making this game fun and unique. One uniqueness is the vomiting, which was shown early in the demo. He puts your character into a surrounding controller that controls a drunk mel gibson who tends to stumble everywhere and vomit constantly using slime terrain and talent. And now that im done kissing gin's ass, here are some things that i didnt like, but were minor and didnt affect my overall likingness of the game. The fact that every time you die and go to hell was pretty cool, but got pretty annoying after a while. There are some parts of the game where you constantly die and require you to save alot (the driving scene and the dogs scene good examples). But overall, this game is solid and worth playing. In my opinion, it should be a featured game if possible. 5 out of 5. Gingermuffins, great job and great game!