The sequel to Zool sees him take on the bad guys Mental Block and Krool across 15 levels.
Zool 2 is a platform game where you control the titular "Ninja of the Nth Dimension" (or his girlfriend, Zooz, who can complete each level in a slightly different way) as he rampages through a variety of levels, collecting countless tasty treats, shooting any enemies that he encounters and finding bonuses (there's a variety of special power-ups Zool can find - for example, a bomb that follows him and can be blown up at any time to remove on-screen enemies, or a temporary invulnerability). New to the sequel is Zool's ability to scale walls and his new spinning attacks. On each level you have to collect a certain amount of the featured fruit within an allocated time limit, and then find the exit across the multi-directionally-scrolling levels. There are lots of hidden areas to see, including a bonus Breakout game starring Zool's pet 2-headed dog.
To briefly describe Zool 2, one might say it is fast-paced, a sequel to the popular Zool, and a typical platform, side-scrolling, jump-n-run arcade game. All of this is true, but Zool 2 also has very sharp, colorful, uniquely themed graphics, it provides smooth game-play, has cleverly meshed elements within each dimension visited, and I think its cute! Please don't tell anyone that I said something was "cute". It will be our little secret, okay?
You begin the game facing the forces of non-imagination: Krool and his diabolical, shapeshifting helper, Mental Block. Their evil plan is to suppress creativity and imagination, thus spreading boredom and apathy throughout their current target in the galaxy: Earth. You have the choice of playing the intergalactic ninja Zool or his female colleague, Zooz. Although Zooz and Zool may be considered equals, their individual techniques and powers vary. this will directly influence your choice of routes taken through the course of the game. Zoon, your loyal two-headed pet super-dog, can also be called upon to aid you in your attempt to stop Block from achieving his ultimate goal. You will have to maneuver your ninja through multiple dimensions before your final showdown. You will encounter plenty of opponents which you must avoid or annihilate, while overcoming obstacles, and discovering well-hidden secret areas, in order to survive.
The word 'zoom' conveniently falls between the words 'Zool' and 'Zoon' in the Nth Dimension Dictionary, and rightly so. Gameplay is fast, somewhat unpredictable, and set in an atmosphere of immediacy. You only have a certain amount of time to complete each stage, a limited amount of life energy, and a set percentage of items to collect before you can advance to the next stage. If you progress through the three stages comprising each of the six dimensions, you still have to temporarily thwart Krool's henchman, Mental Block, before you can advance to the next level. To assist you, bonuses are scattered throughout each stage. The bonuses take the form of smart bombs, health restoration winged hearts, additional time rewards, invincibility shields, super shot charges, Zoon bonuses (to let the little guy know you might need his help) and a bonus that will split your character into two parts which allows you to double your efforts.
I really like this game. The controls are very simple, responsive, and intuitive. The animations and graphics have been deemed cartoon-like, but are still very well done, and the quick pace keeps things moving right along. There is an obvious amount of forethought in game design and content. You are also provided with an easily accessible, user-friendly 'Options' interface. The music and sound effects are quite good, but unfortunately, this is also one of the game's only major drawbacks.
You have the option of choosing to have the sound on or off, and additionally, a choice of music or sound effects. Again, for emphasis, you can choose music OR sound effects, not both at the same time. Although the tunes change per level and maintain the level's accompanying theme, this was not enough to keep me from always choosing sound effects over music. There is no way of changing what you have to listen to during gameplay. Once you have made the initial selection, you are stuck with your decision until the next new game. Unfortunately, this was the one factor that prevented me from giving this game the highest ranking available. Therefore, Zool 2 receives a 4 rating.
The first time you run the game, I would suggest pressing the ESC key to bring up the Options menu. This will allow you to view the default keyboard configuration and select whatever other settings you desire.
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