Closer Look: Forrester

By: Dr. Dos
Published: April 15, 2017
(Last updated: April 15, 2021, 11:53 p.m.)

A Super ZZT inspired MegaZeux world exploring memory and being forgotten.

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Right away the player picks up a coin. Coins are a default item in MegaZeux to help break down the role of gems in ZZT games. Gems give health, score, and often get used as currency in ZZT worlds resulting in objects needing to be used if any of those functions is undesirable. MegaZeux adds coins to decouple health and currency.

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The forests of Forrester's fourth force Forrester to mark his path with a trail with forest tiles that work like those in (Super) ZZT. Creatures can't make their way through the forests, but the player can, opening up routes of travel for any monsters in the woods.

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A cabin in the forest introduces a few new NPCs.

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On the couch is somebody who will sell a necessary key for 20 coins.

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On the bed is somebody who was sleeping, but disappears as soon as Forrester interacts with them. The wireframe looking furniture here looks quite different from how most furniture is depicted in ZZT games.

Down the path Forrester runs into the insomniac yet again.

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And he is not pleased that Forrester is here, changing the environment through his interactions within Wayward.

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Continuing down one of the paths is a cache of ammo and some spiders on a web. The spiders are confined to web tiles like in Super ZZT, but the webs are actually less complex, always using the same cross character regardless of what they're bordered by. Super ZZT draws the characters based on what tiles they're surrounded by that are also webs.

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All of this is across a static waterfall with a few coins on the other side.

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A lone centipede head is here. MegaZeux doesn't have centipedes, and I'm not at all surprised that this centipede has no segments attached. Centipedes are strangely intricate enemies in ZZT, eschewing the usual method of updating elements on a board by going stat by stat, and instead having special leader/follower internal properties to make the whole creature move around.

It's possible in ZZT to construct a fake centipede out of objects, but only if it never turns around due to the stat ordering causing a traffic jam as one object wanting to move can't until the after the next object that want to move does so, resulting in very broken up steps rather than the smooth movements of actual centipedes.

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There are yet more coins to collect up ahead.

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Another branch of the forest features bears, which act like ZZT's, only moving when the player is aligned with them to a certain degree based on their sensitivity. Perhaps they're meant to be cubs, since they use a lowercase o rather than a capital one.

Super ZZT's bears have an identity crisis where they've been replaced with dark green snakes, but are still called bears in the game's editor and when referencing them with ZZT-OOP. It's an even stranger decision to call them snakes when even Monster Zoo itself calls centipedes snakes. Super ZZT likes its reptiles.

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Speaking of reptiles, another path leads to an abandoned house with a single coin and a large sign warning about a dragon.

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The dragon takes on the appearance of dragon enemies in Town of ZZT where they're made out of objects. Super ZZT introduces the very peculiar "dragon pup" enemy, which... doesn't move or attack at all. Here however, the dragon attacks via spitting fire, a new method of attacking the player in MegaZeux compared to ZZT's bullets and stars. Fire lingers around on the board, damaging the player if they step into it. It will eventually burn out on its own, but it can also spread onto certain tiles.

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There are some big bears later on, so I suppose those were cubs before. By this point I've hit the 20 coins to buy the key and can head back. There are more than enough scattered around the forest.

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After going back and purchasing the key, the seller vanishes just like the person sleeping on the bed did. Just after opening the door, the insomniac shows up again and is quite upset with the player by this point.

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By remembering people in Wayward, they vanish from existence, no longer a forgotten memory. Forrester is unintentionally wrecking the joint in his quest for... something. He can't remember it anymore.

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Past the red door is another small building with a blue door. Peeking in the window lets the player know it's the exit from the level. There's only one path to the right to explore in search of this next key.

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There's one last small maze of spiderwebs to navigate to collect that key and continue moving on. Progress has to be made after all.

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Level five brings another change to the text on the HUD to "forever lost".

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The path leads to a flipped version of the UFO from earlier in the game.

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And then a few spinning guns whose bullets need to be dodged by ducking into small alcoves off the main path.

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After a short walk the player meets up again with the jester. This time he too is upset with Forrester's behavior in Wayward.

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Forrester has forgotten his purpose and just wants to get out of Wayward. Unfortunately for him, the only way he can do that himself is to be killed by the demon.

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This is followed up by a huge section loaded with ruffians to get past.

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There's an enlightening conversation with the old man. The insomniac was trying to hide memories so they couldn't be remembered until Forrester just ran through and wrecked the joint. It seems likely that as revenge the insomniac took away the memory of Forrester's search for his daughter, leaving him with no purpose in Wayward.

The demon meanwhile will destroy anything he eats, but will only eat those who have given up. Forrester still has hope though, and opts to try to get past the demon in hopes of finding an exit from Wayward.

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There's a block of classic Super ZZT rainbow bands in the next room. Here I assumed they'd be floors, but there were actually solid walls. Similarly, there's a yellow border along the southern edge of the room which can't be passed, forcing Forrester to turn back around.

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The power of remembering comes into play, causing the wall to disappear when Forrester recalls it.

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With the wall out of the way, Forrester proceeds into another room with the insomniac.

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The insomniac taunts Forrester about the stolen memory. Fortunately for him the jester arrives and calls out the insomniac on his cruel behavior. Frustrated, the insomniac gives up on everything and opts to offer himself up to the demon.

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The jester too is tired of everything and intends to find the demon as well. It's a very unhappy time for everyone.

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The jester actually follows Forrester at this point, always maintaining some personal space, which is nice compared to ZZT where you can make an object follow the player, but always blocking one of the spaces around them. Here there's no loss of mobility.

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The duo pass through this chamber, but nothing can be interacted with. I'm not exactly sure what the objects are supposed to be here.

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The jester and Forrester's search for the demon doesn't take long to be resolved.

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Enter the demon, who consumes the jester and leaves, searching for more beings in despair to destroy.

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After the jester's demise, the exit to the next level appears.

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