Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Odds Are Even

Had the Z-Lock Linux port dropped last week, bandwidth issues would not have not been able to stop the admittedly-very-stoppable force that is Avert Your Eyes. Created by Jumpei Isshiki, who you can also thank for Area 2028, Z-Lock is another amazing little shooter that manages to fit in a paltry 6mb archive.

Z-Lock's major gimmick is that the power of your ship's weapons are directly proportional to the number of enemies locked on to your ship at any given time. This serves two major gameplay purposes, the first being that odds that would otherwise be overwhelming are swayed a bit in your favor. The second is more interesting: the level of strategy it adds to the game. While smaller fighter-type ships are numerous, there are also larger, slower ships that take a lot of firepower to bring down. Do you take out the smaller enemies first, for safety's sake, or do you leave them hanging around to boost your firepower?

As I've come to expect from pretty much anything evilmrhenry ports to my operating system of choice, Z-Lock is a visually stunning game. No single element is responsible for this as, taken individually, the components are nothing more than simple geometric shapes. As a whole, however, the graphical elements are far more than the sum of their parts. While not as colorful as Area 2028's, the graphics are still a treat.

While it hasn't supplanted Gunroar as my favorite shoot-em-up, Z-Lock is a strong contender in the field. The sheer fun that occurs when you stop paying attention to other things and let yourself really get in to the game is not something to be missed.

I'll try to be back later on today with another update, but other things need to be taken care of first. If I don't return, there is always next week.

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