Best of ZZT Part II: Royal Treasures

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Livestream - Best of ZZT Part II

Collecting royal macguffins to rescue a kingdom in this classic adventure built from user-submitted boards!

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Apr 16, 2023
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Livestream of the ZZT world "Best of ZZT Part II: Royal Treasures" by Scott Hudson, Various (1996). Originally streamed on April 14th, 2023

A "Five Purple Key Game", and the last official ZZT world for me to complete. Best of ZZT Part 2 follows a similar format to Part 1 where authors submit boards that compiler Scott Hudson arranged into a coherent game. Unlike Part 1, this one is significantly more playable, and was overall an enjoyable experience, though not without flaws.

A demon has taken hold of the kingdom and the only way to defeat him is to find a weapon that has been locked away in a cave within the kingdom. Getting inside requires the requisite five purple keys, though the game does some nicer themeing to make it a little more detailed than that. Instead, players uncover five stolen royal treasures, receiving a key for each one returned. Additionally, like Part 1's bonus keys, players can also recover the royal wizard's stolen orb and wand for bonus points.

Those who have played Alexis Janson's The Three Trials will quickly realize that game takes after Best Part 2. As with Part 1 and Cannible Isle, I think the Janson take on the formula is overall a more polished experience (of course, it's all by one author), but for Part 2 it's hard to pick a favorite.

The game is mostly structured around a courtyard hub with passages to various one off boards, with a locked gate leading outside of the castle grounds for the remaining items. There's good variety here, and the boards generally play well. A lot of the puzzles look very intimidating, but once you start thinking them through are a lot more manageable, making them very satisfying to play.

For negatives, a few puzzles allow players to acquire extra keys which can break the flow of other portions of the game. There's also a few gotchas, such as one that destroys a bunch of torches which will be required to stand a chance of getting through the final cave safely. While you do collect a good number of gems, the gatekeeper is the only use for them with no opportunities to purchase health and ammo which can be quite limited depending on what you do when.

Still, it's a solid 1992 ZZT adventure, and for fans of the original worlds as well as Janson's earlier output this one is worth your time.

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