The City of ZZT

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6 / 6

Closer Looks: Six Games With Six Boards

All cop-outs are bastards as we explore Police Quest plus five other extremely short worlds of dubious quality

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Feb 15, 2020
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Moving on to game number three, it's The Maze. From the title screen, it's not looking like much of a maze. Between this and TIMMY, it's looking as if white breakables for a background were a very popular choice for new ZZTers.

I can't get over the little player in the corner shooting bullets with the wrong character. ZZT's character selection only displays a few characters at a time so if you don't have a rough idea of where to find the bullet character (over at 248) then I guess you can avoid the hassle and pick the first circle you come across.


At first glance, this seems to be on par with the others so far. There's an object that will tell us about the maze, a blocked path, and an open one. But this object is no mere introduction.


MAN is a TRIVIA MASTER. He immediately asks a very challenging multiple-choice question in order to grant the player access to the other side of the sea.


Both wrong answers get called out like this.


After verifying that neither this man nor the player are George Washington, the correct answer leads to the water being turned into forest.




Okay so it turns out The Maze was saved on its final board by mistake. Going into the editor and picking the proper board will let us explore this maze as intended.


Now it's on par with the other worlds. This counts as a 24 hours of ZZT game if this scroll is to be trusted. Have fun.


What at first looks to be a breakable wall is in fact a breakable object that is destroyed by touching rather than shooting, opening up a small room filled with gems.


There are dead ends, so this lives up to its title. There are very few branching paths though. It's mostly just shooting some tigers in the dark.


This is actually the next board, which continues the maze and brings up an important decision to be made with whether to take the upper or lower paths east here.


I chose incorrectly and was punished with a room full of ruffians. It's not apparent that this is a dead end until you go in deep enough and waste a bunch of ammo.

In fact, there are so many ruffians here that I ran out of ammo and died.


The correct path is free of conflict and leads down a single corridor to the next board.


...which is the presidential trivia bonanza room.


So yeah that one was the shortest yet.

Final Thoughts

This one might be the worst of them. It's got an error with the starting board, a trivia question that's extremely pointless, and poor use of what enemies are to be found.

Police Quest at least had a boss fight that while taken from somebody else (in a way the original author supported) gave the game some sense of challenge. I mean, it wasn't a good challenge, but this one is so barebones that I don't get why the author decided to publish it.

It was the funniest game so far though.

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