[CATCAT.zip] - CAT, CAT, THAT DAMN CAT

Author
Commodore
Released
Oct. 13, 2009
Genre
Adventure
Company
Mirror Image Games
Size
38.2 KB
Boards
36 / 39
Rating
4.75 / 5.00

Closer Look: CAT, CAT, THAT DAMN CAT

By: Dr. Dos
Date: Oct. 29, 2016
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It is important to make sure the lights are both green.

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Correctly positioning the fuses instead warps you through space onboard some sort of ship. You can see in the green player area that the room gets accessed from two different locations. The spaceship allows for a bit more exploration than the Earth based segment did.

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The next screen has an elevator, as well as a navigational sign written in a language the cat as well as the player cannot read.

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Heading east takes the cat to the captain's seat. There's a button under glass that you're unable to smash with just your paws, as well as some displays indicating the ship is running on backup power at the moment.

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Heading southwest from the elevator takes you to a room where there's a hammer and a reference to Draco's game Edible Vomit where the "you snatch the hammer" line is taken directly from.

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Armed with a hammer, it's possible to press the button on the captain's chair which appears to have activated the ship's self-destruct sequence.

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Going back to the hammer room and climbing up the vent lets you restart the ship's engines, but this ultimately isn't a good thing.

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Cool. Great.

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After backtracking to shut the engines back of, it's time to get off this ship.

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The escape pod blasts the cat away from the ship and onto a nearby volcanic planet.

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With no real place to go, the cat ventures towards a nearby building. Given the constant lava flows, it seems like a wise decision.

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Inside the building there are two paths, one accessible by lift. I opted to stay on the ground floor to start.

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Bad call. A door blocks progress, and there appears to be a green cat with a gun on the other side anyway! The alien cat moves like you do, pacing back and forth on patrol.

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The lift continues to a 3rd floor. From there is still another lift!

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Continuing east is a room with more alien writing on the monitors. It also appears that these alien cats are running some flavor of DOS. Good for them.

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Dropping down to the floor below proves to be a poor decision as an alien cat instantly vaporizes the poor kitty. If you look below you can see a floating gun as the code hasn't gotten around to telling the other alien cat sprite to appear. It looks like the next puzzle is figuring out how to get past these two without being destroyed.

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Going back to the second level is a device that requires a password. Fortunately these cats don't have good security practices and left it in plain sight on one of the monitors.

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Entering the code opens the door on the lower level. It goes without saying that the cat will be killed if they go there now.

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The topmost floor contains an observation deck.

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And a hand grenade!

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My assumption was that you'd throw the grenade and then just climb on down. Turns out, you need to wait for the explosion to actually happen!

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And wouldn't you know it, now both of the alien cats are out of commission.

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Cat. With. A. Gun.

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And so the game gives us our first boss fight against Wizcat.

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The cat's laser pistol can be fired to attack Wizcat when he's lined up with that damn cat.

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At the same time, you have to dodge his own attacks, as he shoots magic at you. The purple bolts travel corresponding to the actual ZZT bullets seen in the green engine area.

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It takes awhile for your lasers to register and you're not locked in place during the animation so it's easy to get into situations where your laser is being fired from somewhere you're not currently standing.

If the game felt like an LCD game before, it really does now. The more damage Wizcat takes, the more often he'll shoot magic back at you. Unfortunately it's a bit of a tedious fight since there's very little to it.

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And just when you might think it's over, there's a second fight immediately after the first.

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The dragon fight plays out just like the fight against Wizcat. Except by now the player is probably sick of the combat system, unique as it might be. The graphical limitations imposed by having to draw out of invisibles looked passable for the cats, but the dragon comes off really crude looking. It's a bit of a low note for the game to end with this.

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And that's that for CAT, CAT, THAT DAMN CAT.

The game is really unique among other ZZT games thanks to its graphical presentation, which generally works really well. It looks and feels unlike any other ZZT game out there. Commodore did an excellent job working with the very restrictive requirements for essentially creating an LCD game in ZZT.

Had this game been a more traditional presentation with a player walking around rooms, I don't think the game would've held up nearly as well. Commodore managed to put a fresh coat of paint on ZZT in 2009, which is really quite the feat.

It's short and the puzzles are all very simple, but it works for the whimsical adventure Commodore wanted it to be. Had the game wound up being about a spy, I don't think the engine would've been able to support the more complex premise.

The only real complaint is the combat tacked on at the very end. Like the rest of the game, it's highly original, but while the engine works nicely for moving from room to room and interacting with items, it stretches its abilities a bit too far for combat, creating an action scene that starts to drag, followed by another fight which ends the game on a bit of a low note. The dragon fight also feels oddly out of place. Perhaps if the combat had been split up with one fight on Earth and another in space the pacing would've felt a bit better.

Despite its flaws in combat, overall CAT CAT, THAT DAMN CAT is a pleasure to play, and can be beaten in less than half an hour. It's short, and even the most simple cat graphics can be cute. Give it a shot!

If you do play it, and you also have a cat, you'll almost certainly want to pet them after playing this. It's what I'm going to do right now.

The Closer Looks series is a part of the Worlds of ZZT project, committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.
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