Thursday, February 22, 2018

Supa Zazai Da!

Supa Zazai Da is another Gamopat conversion by Templeton, the same coding genius who graced us with the stupendous Crash Time Plumber so I couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on his latest work after reading the superb review by ST Graveyard on Atari Legend. Sadly, I admit to being more than a little disappointed with it because I failed to play more than a handful of - frustrating - games before rebooting my ST in disappointment.

Now, I'll never knock anything powered by Maria Whittaker (yeah!) but this game is rock solid. It felt far too difficult and having just the one life certainly didn't help, especially when the enemy can fill the entire screen with their bullets! Yep, this is certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing and almost seemed like a bad joke. I was genuinely gutted...

Trust me, the player is soooo overwhelmed on their first few games. It's insane!!

I later returned and anxiously grabbed my creaky old joystick wholly determined but expecting the battle of my [retro gaming] life. After many embarrassing failures, I eventually beat the first hoard of cute nasties and somehow even gained extra points thanks to the green particles. But how I managed to dodge the enemy's bullets felt like a personal achievement!! The clue is how you navigate through the cloud of bullets, it's easier than you might think...

However, the big scary boss instantly gave me a good drubbing and I was greeted with the Game Over screen once again. But I defeated him on my next nerve-racking attempt and was close to tears in my ecstatic joy!! Once the second level begins you realise there's a familiar and repetitive pattern so I hammered it home and battled my way onto the third and fourth levels, with relative ease. What a massive learning curve - but it can be conquered!!

Keep trying because it's doable and the insanity is manageable when you've sussed it out...

The modest visuals scroll along at an ultra-smooth 50fps but it's the outrageously cute sprites from a wide variety of games which everyone will adore. Your computer will require a Blitter coprocessor which is not a problem for the Atari STe and Falcon but the original ST models might be outta luck - unless you have a later revision or a Mega ST. Musically, Supa Zazai is fantastic but also very different depending on your hardware: unnerving chip rattles the ST player whereas the STe gets exhilarating streamed audio. As instructed, pump up the volume!

What a journey!! And one nothing like I first imagined yet it lived up to all my expectations. Supa Zazai Da is an exhilarating shoot 'em up with gorgeous aesthetics and I hope Templeton has many more games are planned!

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