Village 2: Return of Mondo by Mrs. ClausTitle Screen
July unexpectedly goes down as probably the worst month for ZZT so far this year. Only a few full games were uploaded, and the only truly notable demo was Mr. Smith's excellent-looking Mini RPG. In fact, the only full game really worth its salt at all in this comparatively dismal month was the recently returned Mrs. Claus' offering, Village 2: Return of Mondo, a strange, disorienting ramble of an action game.Weird Cinema The Village
The game opens with a cinematic synopsis of the intention of its villain, Mondo, which is simple enough; using a recently acquired atomic laser, he plans to destroy the sun. Naturally, your unnamed character, apparently having come short in ass-beating when he first defeated Mondo, sets out to stop him; beginning, as any self-respecting ZZT player does, in his house. After exploring the area with such helpful comments as "The refridgerator [sic] is assnice and sour plastic. You see no food and lots of sex taste," you set out on your quest, only to find a note at your door from Mondo himself - since, of course, every caring supervillain makes sure to contact his archnemesis to let him know his plans.
Thus you being your journey to the village, and eventually to Mondo's tower, in order to do battle and thereby preserve the sun. Presented with such challenges as sleeping werewolves, acquiring some fried chicken for a north/south slider named Al, the annoyingly invincible nightmares, and an LSD trip, will your character succeed in defeating Mondo?Approaching In the Village
The Village 2 is a strange, strange game. The plot is strange, the language is strange, the jokes are strange, the art is strange, and the programming is strange. Graphically, the game is actually quite reasonable, with appropriate attention to detail and, in places, rather effective use of colour; particularly on a scene involving the main character undergoing an LSD trip ... shades of Viovisian techniques are obviously used here.
Gameplay is rather simple; hunting for keys and items as you shoot what you can kill, and dodge (or bomb) what you can't. There isn't anything strikingly original to comment on here. Engines are not used; the game is solely explore-and-shoot. I did not come across any bugs, and there was even some music. Strange jokes are abundant; some of them were rather funny, while others just made me pause briefly in confusion. A lot of the text looked like it had been run through Babelfish at least three times, lending a curiously surreal (and admittedly rather interesting) atmosphere to the game.Trippiness
However, Village 2 also has a few significant flaws on the design and gameplay front. While it conforms well to the typical shoot-anything-that-moves genre of action games and has rather good graphics, opponents such as the nightmares, speedy and virtually invulnerable monsters (except when bombed, mercifully), seem unimaginative and a little dull. The effort Claus has put into his graphics and his indulgence of his bizarre sense of humour would probably have been better applied to some original or interesting enemy design. There is also little to no plot or character development, and the writing is really more or less devoid of coherence ... the whore-house for rednecks being a prime example.
If it was a little more grounded and developed its plot more stably (or at all), Village 2 may quite easily have been a 8 to 9 kind of game, given its reasonable graphics and interesting premise. Claus deserves credit for partially counteracting July's slump, along with Mr. Smith ... but it's no Rup Pig, which is Claus' deservedly most famous game.
6 / 10