Yapok Sundria

Author
Yapok Jr.
Released
Oct. 22, 1995
Genre
Adventure
Company
Size
27.2 KB
Boards
44 / 46
Rating
3.00 / 5.00

Closer Look: Yapok-Sundria

By: Dr. Dos
Date: Feb. 25, 2017
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247

Yut-Yut, with its blinking linewalls.

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Unlike the other areas, Yut-Yut is much more open, with a large forest to be explored.

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The northern board contains a book explaining the goal of this area: get the idols to drink something and summon the yut-yut at the temple.

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The river is being blocked by a spade shaped tree. Given ZZT's graphical ambiguities, Louis can opt to cut down the tree or play poker with the spade. Playing poker gives the player 10 gems for winning automatically.

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But of course, chopping it down is necessary to make it to the rest of Yak-Yak.

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Here's the first idol, but without any sort of offering there's nothing Louis can do here just yet.

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South of the idol is the temple, where Louis can sacrifice himself at the shrine of rhubarb and get himself killed.

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Below the temple is a petting zoo full of less than friendly animals. Each of the scrolls tells the player to pet the animals. There is no purpose to this board. It's just a very dangerous petting zoo.

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In the southeast and northeast corners of Yak-Yak are more pig idols.

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The west forest consists of some trees doing ballet.

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A monkey requests you use the bomb to destroy them in exchange for some V-8. It's got eight different vegetable juices!

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The bomb can't be pushed over any forest, so the player needs to make themselves a path for the bomb before activating it. Once bombed, the trees are destroyed and the monkey gives you his V-8.

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And can eat his cottage cheese. This is some vintage random monkey cheese humor from 1995 we're dealing with.

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The southwest corner holds the final pig idol, and with some V-8 the player can finally begin giving the idols something to drink.

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Or well, they could, if the game didn't seem to forget about the V-8 after using it once.

We've got a bug here! ZZT only lets you keep 10 flags at a time, but Sundria doesn't bother clearing any flags. So we've got a flag for the towel, the key to the submarine, the shovel, the V-8, that we've appeased one idol, etc etc.

If you have 10 flags set, and try to set an 11th, #10 gets overwritten. In my case, flag #10 was V8 which got overwritten by the fact that I gave some to an idol. Fortunately ZZT's cheats let you set and clear flags so once I had identified the issue I was able to clear a bunch of unneeded flags and give myself the V-8 again.

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And with that, I could juice them pigs.

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Nothing appears different at the temple at first, until the altar is examined and Yut-Yut makes an appearance.

Yuy-yut
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
YUT-YUT: Hello Jack!

LOUIS: It's Louis.

Don't care. You're name is my property.

Enough chat.  Now that I have awakened you
with the V-8 juice....

Ha! You actually believed that lie about
the V-8 juice!? Oh man, I got you bad!

That book was a fake?

Of course! The whole deal about the pig
idols was a trick to get you to make a
complete fool of yourself!  Hey everbody,
laugh at Lenny!

ONLOOKERS: HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAH

Not funny.

Hey, Larry, I was just having some fun.
Didn't mean to hurt your feelings.
Take this key. Think of it as, uh,
payment for your time.

I want cash.

Oh shut up. You can't use money in this
game anyway.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Yut-Yut played us for a fool. They give us the key to return to the center of the earth, which also gives access to the fourth and final key to the castle. Louis's quest for knickerbockers is drawing to a close.

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The final passage is opened and the player gets another ride via pushers to a passage.

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The castle blinks in and out of existence due to the blinking colors, finally confirming for me that all this blinking was not supposed to be.

That's the end of Louis's quest, to be continued in the Megazeux game "Castle of the Aardvarks"! Castle of the Aardvarks was indeed released for Megazeux and is considered a classic early MZX game.

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The game closes with an ending screen littered with various scrolls to plug the sequel, give credits, and list the game's cast. There's no object that ends the game, so Louis is stuck here forever! The end.

Final Thoughts

Yapok-Sundria was a lot of fun to experience. I wonder if this articles seems a bit harsh on it? Yes, instant game overs are a poor design decision, the graphics are frequently blinking when they shouldn't be, and it's possible to run out of flags. Yet, like a lot of older ZZT worlds, Sundria gets by on its strange charms.

There's not a ton there, but even in its minimalism, you'll get a weird sense of what the world is. It makes me think of the comic strip "Pogo" in terms of setting. It's an adventure to see the world and its characters, all strange and unusual animals with strange and unusual personalities. A lot of the humor is what today would be considered generic randomness, but I feel like in 1995 this sort of thing hadn't been done to death. Playing Yapok-Sundria as a contemporary release won't do it any favors, but it does feel genuine. It's not random for the sake of being random as much as it's random for the sense of conveying something that you wouldn't see so much elsewhere in 1995.

Sometimes that line between what is random and what is important gets a bit too blurred, like with the meatloaf and the doilies. The mountain climb is also very dull (and Yapok admits as much in the guide in the game's text file). The game feels very safe to explore as long as you don't forget to save, and exploration is really what it's all about. The quest for knickerbockers is pure MacGuffin. Louis's journey is completely contrived, and it doesn't matter at all. And in the mid 90s, ZZT would allow something like that to thrive. Yapok-Sundria isn't an obscure ZZT world lost to the ages, it was a success.

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