C64 Review of New Zealand Story, The from Issue 53

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


Some people will do anything to get a decent meal, and walruses down under certainly among them. Take Wally the Blue Walrus: he’s out for lunch and looking for afters as well. Passing by the zoo he spies 21 kuddly, kute kiwis. ‘Food!’ says Wally. ‘Leg it!’ squeal the sickeningly cute Kiwis — but alas Wally scoops them up and takes them back to his frozen apartment far away.

Now this would be the end of story if one Kiwi, Tiki by name, hadn’t escaped from Wally’s clutches. A kiwi isn’t too hot when it comes to unarmed combat but as everyone knows they’re pretty good archers and so with beak, bow and arrow Tiki vows revenge and sets off to rescue his mates.

Wally’s many followers are a wild and crazy bunch with wild and crazy (even zany!) habits: stars which multiply by showing their tonsils, bears floating around on hover pods, snails with missiles under their shells, penguins on geese, bats on balloons. Strange things are happening here but to even the odds Tiki can arm up with bombs, lasers, fireballs, even steal a spaceship and wreak havoc aplenty.

Wally’s minions aren’t the only trouble around though. Spikes can do more than ruffle Tiki’s feathers, running out of oxygen when scuba diving isn’t nice and neither is getting a prod from a horned devil for time wasting. Even the level itself can be a maze, but if he follows the arrows Tiki should reach one of 20 mates. Altematively there are warps to find and jump into — who knows where Tiki will go?

Even with all that firepower Tiki’s really in it deep when he meets up with the Guardians of each region at the end of every fourth level. Frozen whales and a mega-octopus are just two of the delightful souls wanting to meet Tiki along with Wally himself, waiting in his balloon on the final ice cool level. Make sure you pack your winter woollies, Tiki!!

This review was typed in/OCRed by Iain

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 76%

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MaffRignall - 7 Feb 2006
Graphics and sound down by 10%-15%... everything else down *much* further... Sorry, but I just couldn't get past the hideous collision detection, which is possibly the worst I've seen in any game. Being killed by bullets that miss you by a clear centimetre or more is not fun.

Stick to the Amiga conversion or play it in MAME.

Rating : 51%
Michel - 15 Sep 2005
SuperB Game

Rating : 99%
CraigGrannell - 27 Apr 2005
I agree with SLF: this is an entertaining, but flawed conversion. At least most of the original's levels and features are present, even if the graphics leave a lot to be desired. The collision detection was something that irritated me, too, but it's still a solid platformer, if not something that should have sizzled.

Graphics and sound should come down by 15 per cent each, as should lastability. Overall, still a good game - just not a great one.

Rating : 79%
SLF - 27 Apr 2005
I loved this back then, but in hindsight I must say it's a bit overrated.

The game plays quite well and offers a substantial challenge, and it manages to retain the main qualities of the great coin-op original, but some flaws let it a bit down.

Graphics are decent but a bit on the muddy side, with a bad use of shading on the sprites and merely adequate backdrops.

The soundtrack is oddly cut in the middle, and gets irritating quickly. Thanfully it can be switched off for a competent array of sound FX. Title music has a great melanconic nuance to it, though, I like it very much.

The main drawback is the collision detection, which is poor in all departments (sprite/sprite and especially sprite/bullet and sprite/platform).

That said, it still is a quite enjoyable game, with lots of exploring and fighting to do, some good end of stage guardians, a lot of weird characters and ways of transport...

Pr 65 Gr 68, So 68, Ho 78, La 76

Rating : 75%
Robin Hogg
Well, I thought the Amiga version was class but on the C64 this beauty knocks spots off every other platform and ladders game around. Tiki may look rather canary-like but at least he looks better than the real (ugly duckling) thing, and the enemies have some great shading on them. The backdrops can be a little sparse here and there but considering how much has been crammed into the 64 this is avery minor gripe. The first few levels hint at what’s to come but it’s only once you start progressing that you realise just how devious it all is. Seeing new creatures and exploring the ever larger levels is all great fun and there’s some thing about the playability of it all that has me coming back time and time again. Maddeningly addictive with the gameplay to keep you hooked, New Zealand Story overflows with fun, feathers and fantastic playability.
Stuart Wynne
A more impressive coin-op conversion you won’t see. New Zealand Story is simply one of the most playable games around with some excellent presentation to boot. The graphics really are incredibly cute — in fact some of the enemies are so attractive it’s a shame to shoot them! And what better to accompany the hilarious action than a rousing, cheerful tune which can be turned off if you prefer chirpy effects. The appearance may be charming but New Zealand Story holds plenty of challenge within its 20 fun-packed levels. If you ignore this you’ll be missing one of the cutest AND most playable 64 games this year.
Neat start-up screen. Multiload (after every Guardian) isn’t too much of a problem since once you’re on a load you stay there.

Small but perfectly formed nasties and detailed backdrops.

Either play with a bouncy soundtrack or some equally impressive effects.

Charming and instantly appealing gameplay.

20 very tough levels to explore.

Surreal leaping actaction combines with a strong shoot-‘em-up element to create gameplay of the best sort: the FUN sort.