Village

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Company
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63.6 KB
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No rating
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33 / 41

Closer Look: Village

Stop and admire the scenery on your quest for vigilante justice

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Nov 15, 2019
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The second act of the game begins in a more urban area. The rain has picked up again and looks as good as ever.

Although it looks like there are a lot of places to explore in this new portion of the village, most of them are blocked off. The green building requires the player to enter a password (and kills them if they guess incorrectly). The gray building in the lower left has a locked door, and the player refuses to go through the window since it's blocked by a gross trash can and doesn't look like there's anything inside.

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The gray building in the top left is a bazaar, but at this time of night there's nobody there. That's for the best since all our money was spend on cider jack.

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And finally, there's an old man in the corner alongside a joke that actually landed for me. Fortunately, he has seen Mondo and confirms he's at the park which is just a board away.

And whoa what a board it is! This is without a doubt the best looking screen in the game, and the rain once again makes it even better. I don't think any other ZZT game has so many shots of a single location (the bridge) from so many angles like this. Even the buildings are recognizable from earlier on the other side of the river.

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The telltale signs of Mondo are here.

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Heading downhill into the park Mondo is just standing around doing nothing.

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After talking to Mondo, he'll run around for a bit before stopping in place and then just shooting endlessly. This isn't a very good fight at first glance, since there are too many bullets to get your own to hit without using a lot of your very limited ammo.

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Hitting him once is all it takes to make him run away, making the fight a lot easier once you're not worried that you're going to run out of ammo almost immediately, but unfortunately it's very easy to run into a bug that breaks the game here.

When Mondo is shot and flees, he drops a letter on the ground. This is done by just changing his character to that of the letter, and zapping the touch label so that instead of saying his earlier dialog, the object displays the contents of the letter. The thing is that if the player shoots him twice, the same fleeing code runs twice, which zaps the touch label an extra time and prevents the letter from being marked as read.

The bad news is that while I did have to reload a save and fight him again, the good news is that there's nothing that stops the player from just shooting that single shot into Mondo without even talking to him. Doing this instantly wins the fight without Mondo even getting a chance to attack.

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The weird rivalry between Mondo and the player is official, and Mondo's constant leaving notes and e-mails around is keeping the player hot on his trail.

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With the password the player can enter what is revealed to be the fear factory.

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The factory has this nice shading on the walls using half-solid blocks. It's a cool look, and while the white can be made from text, the gray has to be objects and counts against the stat limit, which restricts just how much this sort of thing can be done. There's enough here to give things a really clean metallic look that I'm definitely a fan of.

The interior is broken up into a few different rooms, most of which are opened already, and a few that are blocked off. I decided to head southwest to the room with the boulders and blue object.

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Said object is a killer robot that also happens to be bulletproof. Luckily, it's not "just rip and tear the wires out"-proof.

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Honestly, having to touch an object in between it firing bullets is a pretty refreshing change. After a few grabs the robot explodes letting the player explore the room safely.

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The two prizes are a "green card" for opening one of the locked rooms and some food which restores a rather unusual 57 health.

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Opening up the green door immediately alerts an evil doctor who also decides to kill the player.

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Like the robot, the doctor is also immune to bullets. This one caught me so off guard I had to laugh at the reasoning.

Thankfully the player won't need to tear the doctor to pieces with their bare hands.

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There are a few bombs in the room for that instead.

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It all makes sense.

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Computer
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Maybe I could use this for something.

...Um?

EERRR!!!

What could I use this for?

*Beep! BEEP!*

<<ZZZAAAPPP!!!>>

Uh, OH!

*BOOOMMM!!!*

(The computer made the spot lights in the
other room shoot out lasers! It killed the
two men!)
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

I did a good job picking which way to go. You're actually blocked off from the right side of the factory until you activate the lasers.

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After taking a moment to shoot the lions and enter the last area with its nice seating arrangement, the door to Mondo is unlocked.

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Not that Village is particularly meant to be taken seriously, but these two have some weird rules of engagement rather than both trying to kill the player together right here.

Whoops I completely forgot to take a screenshot of the fight itself. Don't worry, Londo runs towards the player with the occasional sidestepping and then shoots at the player a bunch. You're not missing a lot.

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The player actually manages to kill Londo in his very first appearance.

Next up, it's time to chase Mondo to the train station before he can get away.

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At least, that's what you might think. The gross garbage can outside of that other building is thrown through the window creating an easy way inside.

This is kind of an odd one, since really the player's supposed to go to the train station and not have money for a ticket, and then scrounge around in here in search of one. It kind of just happens, and it would have been easy to have Mondo commit some vandalism or just knock the garbage can out of the way as he flees. Instead the player's going to just go right on in because the opportunity presents itself, instead of actually giving chase.

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In a moment of apology, Mrs. Clause is kind enough to suggest that the player searches for something on this board. Of course this means touching every object, which all display identical messages to all the other objects with the same appearance. Still, if it didn't, this would be another situation like finding the right box in the attic in The Cliff.

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The player's going to be too busy collecting all the gems and ammo to do much shooting at first, but the objects have things covered and will frequently end up shooting each other without the player getting involved.

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Their death message is incredible though.

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I lucked out and the very first garbage object I touched just so happened to be the one with the train ticket hidden inside. I'm not sure if "A lot of people throw their crap here" is supposed to explain why you'd find a train ticket here or if the player is wondering what something good is doing in this place where a lot of people throw their crap.

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An interesting (yet definitely for the better) decision here is for all the garbage you can examine to be shoved on the right side of the screen. The bottles don't even have a message when touched, so it's just the piles of trash and this lone computer. The entire left half of the board is basically superfluous.

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The train returns to these artistic shots, and don't get me wrong, this still looks nice, but it feels a lot weaker than the bridge crossing or the view from the park.

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There's one person the player can speak with, and learn how pricey a train ticket is. I suppose I could have gone here earlier, but didn't realize there was a board connected this way so I just wound up going where I needed to instead.

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The train is honestly more crowded than I expected. It begins moving immediately, or in ZZT's case, the little gray tiles in the background are objects that walk to the bottom of the screen, turn invisible, walk to the top, turn visible again, and repeat. It's a pretty common technique to create an illusion of movement.

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This could have been comically awkward. I'm surprised Clause didn't go for it.

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The staff and passengers are lot less friendly than everyone in the game so far.

Jill
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
YOU: Oh, hi Jill it's you again.

Hi would you like to bye some Cider Jack?

YOU: No thanx Jill.

(Clears throut) I said would you like to
bye some Cider Jack?

YOU: UM no.

Eheh. Err. (Clears throut again) I SAID
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BYE SOME CIDER JACK?!!

YOU: I said NO!

HEHEHEH! Let me try this again. WOULD YOU
LIKE TO BYE SOME FUCKEN CIDER JACK?!!!!!

(Everyone looks over at you two)

YOU: I'm outta here!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Jill is here, still offering cider jack, and not taking no for an answer.

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I wasn't expecting this mystery object to be health, but I needed it.

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Finally the train comes to a halt. Everybody rushes out of their seats and strolls out the door.

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Village has been fairly sparse with its changes to graphics, so no doubt it had characters to spare, but this fairy graphic exists entirely for this one joke of the object hitting the building and turning into blood.

Looking into who "Ryan Reed" is proved tough to find out. I was only getting results for NASCAR drivers and minor league baseball players who both started their careers years after this game's release, only to later notice that Ryan Reed is listed as a member of DirrCo in the game's credits.

This board has some good train cars, and a lack of rain. It's also a board suffering from ambiguous exits again. The building has a locked door, and a man walks off the right edge of the screen, but the actual exit is to the south.
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The player is right behind Mondo who quickly leaves the board after throwing a single star as an act of aggression.

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I'm not sure if Mrs. Clause was getting fatigue by this point or what, but the graphics really take a dip in quality towards the end of the game. The extremely textured roads look like such a mess to me.

This final portion of the city consists of a radio station and an unlabeled purple building. The purple one is actually blocked by an object, but it blends into the asphalt so well that I didn't even notice until I touched it and our protagonist complained about the "thing" blocking the door.

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The other building takes the player to a cinematic where Mondo's latest plan is put into action.

note
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
As you walk into the radio station you see
Mondo.

Mondo: Neglarharhar! You can never catch
me! I have shut the door on you, how rude!

YOU: Stop being such a wimp and let me
in! DAmn yOu!

MONDO: Nurglurhurhur! I will NOT!

YOU: What's with you stupid laughing?!

MONDO: I have no time for this! I will
kill these DJs and blame it on you! That's
revenge for KILLING my bro Londo!!!

YOU: Fuck YOU!

MONDO: ...

You see Mondo take out a gun...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
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Mondo is pretty open about his murders. There's not a lot that actually happens on this board, just a large scroll and then a few bullets being fired by Mondo. I do like the side view being used with some furniture in the otherwise weird looking room.

Once all the DJs are dead the player is free to leave and can now enter the purple building.

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Their goofy arguing kind of amuses me. None of this game's characters are all that captivating, so it's fun to see them exasperated at this point. The player did a solid job of turning this "Mondo's coming to kill me" thing around. Most of the game has Mondo on the run, so he doesn't actually come off as nearly as scary as the police tried to make him sound.

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This final battle is pretty random, and not in an entertaining way. Mondo only needs to be hit four times, but his code has a random chance of him throwing a star at a certain point in his code that's true if Mondo's blocked to the north or east when the check is made. The player won't have any idea of this quirk and will instead end up looking for some pattern to figure out when a star will be thrown.

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Four shots and the fight ends. Mrs. Clause did exactly what he said he would and gave us a game about murdering a murderer.

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Yes You win!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
You look at the sun rise and say to your
self, "What a long night it's been. Well
now I can get some rest."

Yes You win the game!

Credits

Graphics
Me Me and Me

Sound
Me Me and Me

Wierd things
Me Ryan Reed

People In the game.
Ryan Reed the pixie fairy. The one who
killed self.
Sephiroth the train ticket man.
Mondo the naked hunter.
Londo
Old ladies that appeared all over the
place.
You the main char.
George Rice the face on the right side of
this scroll.
Jill the farmer.
Lucca the all mighty and all powerful.
Sleeping men that appear twice.
Zondure the video game gawd.
The testers that work for Zondure.
Stupid man that hangs out in back of slums
that has nothing to say but stupid
sayings.
The mad plant man.
Old man that tells where Mondo is.
Weird guys at train stations.
Guards at the fear factory.
Mad scientist at the fear factory.
Robot at the fear fatory.
DJs that were killed by Mondo.
Secret agent that was killed by Mondo.
The detective that was asking you
questions.
Krazy Kreatures at the warehouse.
Men Inside the train.
Crazy person blocking the door in the
train.

I think that's all.

People of DirrCo (C) 1999

Dustin Davidson ME!
RYAN REED
Dayton White

That is all.

Go on to see some screen shots from my
latest game Chrono Trigger 2!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

The credits manage to list of the game's entire cast (and Londo's role is another bad attempt of a joke in the same vein as the one skipped at the game's start). It ends kind of abruptly, but that's what happens when you could be working on Chrono Trigger 2 instead!

Final Thoughts

I liked it. There's very little in the way of substance to Village. It's one of dozens of games where you just explore a location and advance a very basic story. In most cases, my verdict for such games comes down to whether or not the author knew when to end it before things got tedious. In this case Mrs. Clause did. That's not enough to make me call this a good game, or anything that you need to play yourself, but the good use of the game's font and unique perspectives on some of the boards give Village an edge that other worlds lack.

Flipping through the list of other Closer Looks, this one fits the design of "a game that feels like it was made for the hell of it" that I can see in Stupid RPG, The Search For The Magic Flamingo, and The Forests Will Echo With Laughter. All of these games and Village, offer a story that the player and author mutually don't seem to really care about. It's there as an excuse to go exploring and things don't really develop. Mrs. Clause is able to use some fresh feeling visuals in a way that it's one of the better games of this type. Don't let me overstate it though, this is not a brilliant adventure full of memorable moments. This is a game where sometimes you'll step on a new board and say "how pretty!" before moving on to the next board.

It also suffers from the two abrupt attempts at edgy humor. When a game tries for this sort of thing, it certainly comes off as tasteless, and easy to warn people that if they don't want to put up with poor "jokes", it's easily avoided. Here though, just as with Magic Flamingo, it not being a focus makes it so much harder to figure out how to handle. It adds nothing to the game other than these brief moments of sighing for a modern audience.

Village ends up being an incoherent journey worth taking a moment to appreciate the scenery of. It's not one I can see myself returning to anytime soon, but it was probably worth the trip maybe just this once.

Okay, yes, there's more. I had to cover Chrono Trigger 2...

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