Wow. There's cutesy and there's cutesy and there's New Zealand Story.
Just get a load of this for a thoroughly spewey situation. Poor ickie wikkie birdies have been captured by the nasty old Walrus in New Zealand. He's going to stick his nasty walrus fangs into them and kill if they don't get away soon. Oh no!
Brave Tikki Bird escapes from the dutches of the evil blubbermoaster and vows to free his friends too. But where can they be? There are so many screens in New Zealand, and they're all populated by horrible pointy monsters, it's all a bit of a to-do. Hurumph!
Tut. This doesn't look like my kind of game at all. Big fluffy wuffy birds bouncing round a foreign country being all cutes. Spit pew!
Now, if I can be won over by a game like this, anyone can. And I have.
New Zealand Story is like a platform game taken to its ultimate extremes. You can run and jump and fly. The screen scrolls in four directions and there are objects to collect, bonus points to have and even special flying things to transport you around the levels more swiftly.
You begin at the bottom left hand corner of level 1 faced by mysterious hostile creatures. There are a few platforms in sight but initially things look a little sparse. Not so for long!! The bad guys are really bad; mean little critters who scoot along the floor and drain your energy on contact.
The only way to progress is upwards. By half bouncing and half flying, Tikki can scale tall platforms in a single bound, springing himself over the bad guys. Once you opt for this mode of transport, though, you'll need to be careful not to impale yourself on the dangerous spikes or fall down bloody great holes. Actually, you need to be extremely careful how you use your jumping ability. If you're happy jumping into the air and putting your face in the line of fire, that's fine. Otherwise, don't.
The aim of each level, of course, is to locate your little friends and get to them, thus freeing them from the clutches of the evil Walrus' followers. You're armed with a bow and arrow of pretty serious firepower, and there are extra tool-ups available (bombs and the like).
The trickiness of New Zealand Story comes in the sheer number of baddies you have to deal with at one go. Since you can jump into the air, fire in both directions and turn around and alter your path of descent, the programmers have decided that it's perfectly fair to inflict a merciless onslaught of bullets and arrows and fuzzy monsters upon you.
As you progress further into the game the screens become more and more cluttered and the actions you have to perform become more and mad. Can you really imagine saying to a mate "Yeh, I was in a little basket flying over New Zealand, and I'd rescued a couple of little birds but the Walrus has so many henchmen I didn't know where to go next. And the spikey wails kept killing me?"
They'd lock you up. Which doesn't really affect the fact that NZS is absolutely fabbo.
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
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