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ZOOM Zanzarah
The Hidden Portal
Sold Out (Win98/2000/Me/XP) (Retail Box) (ZANZARAHPR)
Discontinued

Publisher: Funatics / THQ

Ratings:

A- from Just Adventure

from Four Fat Chicks

A Tale of Two Worlds

This is the enthralling story of two worlds ... the world of fantasy and the world as we know it. Once upon a time, these two were one, but now they exist separately, unaware that there ever was a connection between them.

But there is one person capable of reuniting the two worlds: An 18-year-old girl who as yet knows nothing of her powers and her importance for both realms.

Lead this girl from the trials of everyday life into a world of fantasy, magic and battle.

Explore the realm of the fairies and learn to use your heroine's increasing powers to find the fairies and to conquer them. For these fairies shall enter the arena on your behalf, whenever goblins or other magical creatures block your path.


Requirements:

Windows 98/2000/Me/XP: Pentium III 500 MHz or faster, 16MB RAM, at least 64MB hard drive space, 2nd generation video card (e.g. TNT2), DirectX8.1 or higher, CD-ROM drive, sound card, mouse.


Reviews:

Just Adventure by Maggie Holt

"Ultimately, despite the fact that the fierce, fighting fairies of Zanzarah only superficially resemble the gossamer creatures of my childhood memory, I had to agree with the press release when it described the game as “enthralling” - but - and it's a BIG BUT! I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who is a purist adventure gamer. There are no puzzles as such and this game does require combat, in which - rather oddly - it’s the fairies who do all the fighting. I can remember my husband saying how gruesome it sounded when I once said during game-play: "just hang on a minute and I'll make a drink when I've killed this fairy!"

"Playing the game requires a steep learning curve at the beginning, which is not one of my favourite things, I prefer to dive straight in and start adventuring! However, the enchanting look of the game, the smooth game-play and fluid movement all convinced me to persevere and read the detailed booklet plus invest some time in practising. This practise involves getting to know and learning to handle your ‘fighting fairies’ – a strange concept to me, but it does work within the game story. These fairies are kind-of ‘pets’ that you collect during your travels and as long as you treat them well, they will fight all other fairy-beings that try to obstruct your progress, on your behalf. There are seventy-seven different kinds of fairies to collect! I think I managed about fifty-two and considered that I had done really well!"

"There are many praise-worthy features in the game. The graphics are superb, the game-play is seamless and easy, with instinctive 360 degree game control using both mouse and key-pad. The soundtrack is completely appropriate with gentle celtic-style music, convincing alien languages, and natural background noises; plus the fairies all have their own distinctive and amusing triumphant battle cries. Zanzarah’s inhabitants are diverse, imaginative and appealing: This is not a game where you could ever feel lonely – there are characters constantly wandering about that you can talk to, butterflies flutter by, birds twitter, rabbits and other creatures scamper across your path. Then of course an aggressive fairy can manifest itself at any time and their visual appearance is always unusual and interesting….. for instance I would never have imagined the possibility of a metal fairy."

"I think the clear message, reinforced by this episode, is that Zanzarah is not a game for a quick weekend fix. It’s a long-haul game, definitely not for the faint-hearted, it requires a commitment in terms of patience and time, but provided you are willing to put the effort in, you will be rewarded with great satisfaction and value for money in return. It was wonderful therapy at the end of a frustrating work-day to come home and lose myself in the ‘misty swamp’ or the ‘enchanted forest’ – this game is altogether a great vehicle for pure escapism."

Four Fat Chicks by the Old Rooster

"Britney wasn't available, so our developers have scoured Europe and found, in a London flat, Amy. Indeed, our Amy bears a striking resemblance to one April Ryan—remember her? But on with the game. Zanzarah is an intriguing amalgam of adventure, RPG, and first-person shooter. It creates an alternate universe of fairies, elves, dwarves, and other peculiar creatures. It seems this parallel world, which has really been there all through time, has been hidden from us for thousands of years due to some ancient misunderstandings. However, there is trouble in River City, or Zanzarah, and the ruling Druids need this naive but bright and good-hearted youngster to heal the breach, solve the problems, bring the factions together, make the universe whole again, etc. To accomplish this, Amy must not only wander the mythical world of Zanzarah, unlocking doors and making discoveries, but also must become a fairy collector and gain skills in fairy fighting!

"As one of those rare gamers who likes to read the manual before playing the game, I was ready to consign this one to some kind of banishment. C'mon—fairy fights, card collecting, elves! It seemed like a Pokemon-type children's game. Well, the banishment didn't occur, because I installed and started playing in one of the most gorgeous and superficially involving game worlds I've experienced."

"After my first hour with Zanzarah, I told our fearless leader that I didn't care what kind of game was incorporated in this world—it was so beautiful and involving that just being there made it all worthwhile. Well, it does make a difference, and the esoteric and rather peculiar gameplay (from my perspective) affected, I'm afraid, my overall viewing of the title. With its stellar graphics, fine level design and wonderful sound, Zanzarah could readily have earned one of our coveted gold stars if the gameplay had been more purely adventure, or even action/adventure, in the sense we typically experience it. Instead, in an apparent desire to be creative and different, the designers went with a strange collecting game coupled with a substandard shooter. In spite of the lovely world, the complexities of managing fairies, together with the difficult fights, brought this down to a thumb up rating. As a disclaimer, this is one Rooster's opinion, and it's very possible that others may find this gameplay right up their alley and not as mind-boggling as did this player. Indeed, I would recommend the game to many, given the reservations expressed above and, once the price becomes "budget," which I suspect will be soon, you may well choose to "step into the realm of magic and mist—into the unknown."

Evil Avatar by hoochie

"Zanzarah is gorgeous. The modeling on all the NPCs, as well as on Amy and her cadre of fairies, is detailed and lush, the grass and bushes rustle and sway as you pass them, and the water effects are classy and subtle..."

"While the story does lead you onward to new territory, the world is entirely non-linear. You can either barrel forward or take your time and thoroughly explore before moving on. The game in fact requires you to return to areas that you’ve been through before, allowing you to unlock doors or remove obstacles once you’ve gathered an impressive enough fairy collection."

"Gameplay consists of two modes; Amy’s travels across the landscape of Zanzarah, and the battles that her fairies fight for her in the astral plane – the realm of the fairies. Amy solves various puzzles and, often with the help of specific fairies, demolishes the obstacles in her way, but doesn’t engage in combat. Zanzarah is one of the least violent games I have ever played. When you defeat a fairy, it doesn’t die. Either it drops money or an item, or you’re given the opportunity to capture it. No blood, no wounds, no bodies. Even the threats to Zanzarah are relatively benign – rocks and thorny bushes have cut off access from town to town, pixies are infesting people’s basements, and a wise old dwarf has gone missing."

"Zanzarah is a sweet game, with lilting music and beautifully simple gameplay. It was lovely and delightful. Altogether charming. All of which sounds sarcastic but is in fact the utter truth. No big adrenaline moments, no splatter or screams or disgusting monsters – although the fairy Jumjum is kinda depressing looking – this was just a really nice game.

"I beat it in about 30 hours but I’m still playing it – completing my collection, exploring all the crannies, and there is a multiplayer component as well. You can take your favorite fairy combos online and play against other fairy masters, although due to the fact that this is a German-developed game and the English release was in the U.K. only, there is a dearth of English servers... It’s definitely different than the typical American game experience. It’s quite refreshing to find a game that is fun AND bloodless AND not geared toward the kiddies."





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