Genre: Puzzle Developer: Viacom New Media Publisher: Viacom New Media Players: 1 Released: 1995
Zoop? What in the world is a Zoop? Well, Zoop is the name of a game released for the Genesis late in the system’s life, as well as on other systems. It’s a puzzle game, but one that tries to be something other than a Tetris clone. Is it one of the many Genesis gems that got overlooked?
The game plays like this. You are stationed in the center square of the playing field controlling a marker, and various shapes of different colors slowly advance toward you from all sides. You have to clear out all the shapes before they touch the center square. Sounds easy, but there’s a catch; you can only destroy shapes that are the same color as your shooter. If you hit a shape that’s a different color, you actually switch colors with that shape. In order to rid yourself of the advancing shapes, you have to constantly switch colors to the ones you need at the moment. You pointer has the ability to zap multiple shapes that are the same color in a line. You also get some power ups to help you out, including bombs that can wipe the grid clean. Once you eliminate a certain amount of shapes, you instantly get zapped to the next level. But if any shapes penetrate your square, it’s game over.
Granted, this cart won’t exactly set your Genesis on fire, but it’s not a total dud either. The graphics are okay. There are some decently-colored playing fields, with some cool combinations, but some of the stages can be a little hard on the eyes. The sounds are pretty good. There’s some nice jazzy tunes that have a relaxing feel to them, which is ironic considering you can be under pressure fast. The sound effects aren’t much to talk about, but what’s there is decent.
But everyone knows that puzzle games aren’t usually known for their audio/visual prowess; it’s the gameplay that counts, and Zoop doesn’t disappoint. The controls are easy to use and won’t give you any problems. The cart is a little lean on options, though. There’s no two player mode, and you get two gameplay modes: Level and Continual, though I didn’t notice any difference between the two. You do get to choose your starting level and difficulty setting, inviting all skill levesl to take up the fun. Be warned that even on the easiest setting, this game can get challenging fast, and even puzzle-masters will get a workout. Also remember there’s no passwords or continues; if you lose, you have to start all the way over.
So basically while Zoop won’t give other Genesis puzzles like Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine a run for their money, it’s still a decent puzzle cart. It’s fun and addictive, though some may find it a little repetitive. If you’re a puzzle fan who wants a real challenge or wants to try your hand at something different, then Zoop won’t let you down.
SCORE: 7 out of 10