Montha-Zeux - 90s MegaZeux Worlds

Exploring ZZT conversions, original RPGs, adventure games, and the last Alexis Janson MZX creation

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Apr 11, 2024
Part of Series: Montha-Zeux Streams
RSS icon

♦ Livestream of various MegaZeux worlds released in the 1990s ♦

Exploring the early years of MegaZeux by sampling a number of ZZT conversions and original releases which show off the early gap between ZZT and MZX's capabilities.

(2:00) Eggplant Adventure

An adventure game in which your eggplant farming parents visit an eggplant growers' convention and all killed in an attack by Dr. Eggle. Now orphaned, 12-year old Jeffrey Egston (this game has a theme) vows to bring the man behind this crime to justice. To do this, he will use electromagnets to fry police computers and steal their hovercars. Jeffrey says ACAB.

An inventory-based adventure that has a lot of fun with the animation possiblities offered by MegaZeux. The game is rather difficult, even on its easiest difficulty as players can really only do one thing at a time to make any progress, and exactly what to do can be difficult to determine. If you can get past the difficulty, this seems like it could be an enjoyable Wake Up And Save The World game. Plus it predicted our modern world's obsession with the eggplant emoji.

(42:10) FreakishTown

A port of the ZZT game by the same name. Very chaotic looking with the interiors of every building visible at all times. It too is difficult to figure out where you need to go, but lacks the charm seen in Eggplant Adventure necessary to hold my interest. The port seems to be a very direct conversion, whose original game also doesn't have a ton going for it.

(50:06) Gates: The Puzzles

Showing what can be done with good character set work and palettes, this collection of a few basic puzzles with large interactive elements is hampered by having come out prior to the addition of mouse support to MegaZeux, requiring the game's cursor to be steered with the arrow keys. For the time, the presentation value is rather high, and while the puzzles would be reasonable things to include as part of a larger game, here you'll see everything there is to see within just a few minutes.

Puzzles include a sliding tile puzzle to reassamble a blurry picture of a buffalo? One of those marble hopping games where you goal is to clear a board of all but one marble, a Lights Out puzzle themed around elevator buttons, and a somewhat similar puzzle where you flip rows/columns of panels all at once. That last one has a "random" button that requires you to be able to luck your way into a solvable puzzle in the first place. Each puzzle only has one level as well so even if any of these do appeal, things dry up pretty quickly.

(57:44) Rush

The final MegaZeux creation of Alexis Janson, made for a Day of Zeux competition in 1999. This one features some great stick-figure animation, opening with players having to escape from pursues by jumping/ducking their thrown spears, leaping over rocks, and crouching beneath branches before heading to a cave where a more standard overheard view is implemented. In the cave, there's a very unique lighting system where how far players can see is based on how many torches on the walls are within a certain distance that does a great job of creating a spooky atmosphere. Then I got ran over by a boulder and died.

This would have been one I'd play to the end of, except the game disallows saving and forces you to watch the intro cutscene every time as well so any deaths really slow you down.

(1:09:39) Planetary Defense Station SUPER

Another ZZT conversion, this time of a game that uses a simple shooter engine. Exactly the sort of thing where a MegaZeux upgrade could do wonders, and yet it too retains the format of the original, resulting in a MegaZeux game where the player element steers a spaceship by touching arrow-shaped robots. This too is an instance of a game whose original leaves a lot to be desired, only more dire when put into MZX. Later on though, some new ship upgrades and enemies take some advantage of what MegaZeux offers, but not so much that considerable effort would have been needed to get this game up and running.

(1:18:16) Honor Quest
(1:26:59) Honor Quest: Special Edition

Finally, two flavors of early RPG. The original Honor Quest looks very primitive, like a ZZT game with a font, but we checked it out to compare with the special edition that was released 18 months later. The difference is night and day, with the latter boasting a gorgeous grassy and tree-laden village that now makes use of the (newly added) overlay, letting players run behind things instead of around them.

The game is a standard "You're the chosen one" affair, with an ensorcelled king throwing you into the dungeons to prevent you from fulfilling your destiny. The plot won't win any awards these days, but the world here looks like one that would be exciting to explore. At least once the post-prison escape sewer maze is completed.

♦ Play these worlds on DigitalMZX ♦

♦ Originally streamed on April 7th, 2024 ♦

====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

The Worlds of ZZT project is committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.

This article was produced thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Support Worlds of ZZT on Patreon!
Top of Page
Article directory
Main page

More In This Series