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Wildcard Stream Vol. 74 - In Like A Lion

Attempting to kill Barney, attempting to not kill centipedes, attempting to not be killed by a dragon. It's all here, as long as you register your shareware

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Mar 8, 2024
Part of Series: Wildcard Streams
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♦ Livestream of 4 ZZT worlds. ♦

♦ Stream Contents ♦
• (3:46) "Lion Heart: The Quest for Gothian" by Tommy Thompson (1997) [https://museumofzzt.com/file/view/lionheart/]
• (18:39) "Lion's Den Collection" by Schuyler Frey Schuster (1994) [https://museumofzzt.com/file/view/lionden/]
• (39:56) "Centipede" by Daniel Tiernan [https://museumofzzt.com/file/view/centipede2/]
• (49:10) "The Dragon's Den Demo" by NinjaC86 (1998) [https://museumofzzt.com/file/view/dragdemo/]

Some lions and other beasts to get us through this lousy Smarch weather. Early on there are some audio issues that cause ZZT to be silent. This gets fixed not long into the first game.

Starting with "Lion Heart", an adventure to find a kidnapped queen and become a prince of the kingdom. A very creature abundant adventure with a lot of weird interior designs in its towns. After tracking down the kidnappers and making it to their hideout, the game stops and demands a $2.00 registration fee for the full game. Rip to the queen I guess.

Then the "Lion's Den Collection" which consists of a number of games in one package, many of which had been featured before in standalone releases including Death Basketball 2000 and the Time Fighter series. For new material though, we've got a KILL BARNEY game that's surprisingly tame. You can't actually kill him, only injure, mock, and reveal to the children of the world that he is a man in a suit. Ironically, it is possible for the player to die if they're nice to him instead.

There's also an X-Men game based on the 1993 Genesis game which loses quite a bit in the conversion. It's mostly a lot of big empty rooms with a few objects that shoot in your direction. There are also "platforming" sections that just use ZZT's normal player movement, so you just fly around grabbing ammo. Unless you're me, and mistakenly think the little circles hurt you, and you avoid them and nearly run out of ammo instead.

The collection gets done dirty by not revisiting the already seen games. Death Basketball is a hilarious look at the ultra violent world of 2020, and I recall the 2nd Time Fighter game putting in some visible effort. Taken as a whole, there's some fun to be had if you enjoy the surprises found in ZZT games made by newer creators.

"Centipede" is of course another conversion, one that takes its share of liberties. Oh, you've got your giant centipede running around the top of each screen, but rather than corral players to the bottom third of the screen, they get free reign to run inside, shoot the breakable walls that make up the stage, grab the key, and return to the exit. Normally, this would have been a pretty dull game that ticks the box of the "I must make a big centipede" trope, but the structure got me to try to play the game without being hit once or doing any harm to any centipedes found within. Was I successful? You'll have to see.

Lastly, the most well-done game for the week, "Dragon's Den". After a hunting trip goes awry, resulting in your father's demise at the hands of a dragon, you vow revenge. Several years later you're finally old enough to take up the blade and fulfill your promise. A great title screen animation sets up the game's premise, getting the game off to a promising start.

Players study magic and adventuring, get to practice their swordfighting, and help folks out on their trek to the cave where their father was killed. You can tell there's much more intended for the game than fighting the dragon with plenty of people to help and fellow swordsmen to duel. An RPG engine is used for the end of the demo which does a pretty good job of keeping things moving, and seems to have a unique way of rolling randomness by having objects move back and forth against an object that checks which directions its blocked in. This looks like it would have been a pretty cool adventure had it been completed!

♦ Play these worlds directly in your browser ♦

♦ Originally streamed on March 3rd, 2024 ♦

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