Guy 1: Next time on Dragon Ball Z!
Guy 2: No no, it’s not Dragon Ball
Guy 1: Mugen Souls Z?
Guy 2: No, just Z
Z is an old game from 1996 and was developed by The Bitman Brothers and has been bumped up to newer standards with its re-release on PC and mobile devices by TickTock Games. This game holds its roots in the Real Time Strategy days of old with the Command and Conquer series and boasted action packed gameplay with top of the line enjoyment. Can this game still hold its promise?
The game starts off showing you two lazy “Surfer-Dude” robots as they wake up in their ship in space, finding out they are late for their delivery they speed off to a nearby planet to meet the general on the ground to deliver supplies to the war. From here you take control of a Commander to order the robot troops to secure the enemy bases and the final HQ to win each battle on the planet.
The game continues to show you the two pilots of the supply vessel and the general on the ground and shows the pilots as the comic relief and calm down of the game whereas the general is the ferocity of the game as it shows him blasting down enemies and walls. The cutscenes that are shown are repeated on every planet, albeit with a different paint job depending on the planet climate.
Each mission can take between 5-20 minutes and there are 4 missions per planet so one planet can take up to an hour of work.
Similar to other Real Time Strategy games, Z puts you in the shoes of a Commander, whose job is to manoeuvre troops and organises basses to produce more units for you to command into battle. Z condenses all the fluff and wide areas of other games in this genre by have a smaller map, time based construction and simple construction options. No Tiberian or dollars needed here, just the basses.
You can move the map by holding down the right mouse button and select troops with the left mouse button and order them. Troops can go over bridges and through hard terrain unlike their wheeled counterparts of light and heavy tanks who have to stick to roads and some terrain. The buildings on the battlefield automatically create new units when you capture them, however you can change what they make by selecting them, cancelling the order then placing a new one.
Z continues to cut out all the time taking tasks like placing new unit orders or repeatedly sending orders to your troops. The basses continue the same construction when they are made and troops will take basses, pick up items, destroy walls, get into nearby vehicles and even defend by killing approaching units all on their own if they are close enough to the certain objects.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The music in Z is amazing for its time, with the appropriate changing of pace and track for battle and intense moments from the calm before the storm of building up your forces. The music can be noticed at almost all points of the game as it isn’t hidden in the background as you do your Commanding.
The atmosphere of Z is great, with its explosive battlegrounds and gradually degrading battlefields to the comedy moments of inside the ship with the pilots and the exchanges they have with the General. The comedy can fall quite flat sometimes however as it seems to be aimed at younger audiences even though there are plenty of adult themes in the game like Alcohol and bad language thrown around.
Graphical quality has taken a hit and has seen better days as back in 1996 this game might of looked beautiful with its animated cutscenes and explosions but stacking up with today’s games it doesn’t come close. Graphics aren’t the important aspect of this game so they can be overlooked but you will definitely notice the pixilation as elements move about.
There seems to be a lack of multiplayer or match creation mechanic, so the only way to play another level is to replay the past levels you have completed. The older releases had multiplayer in them so it is sad to see that feature has been taken out of this release.
Overall I would give Z and 3/5, it’s a great game to play a mission and a time but wouldn’t last you an entire day. If you find this genre hard, Z is a great choice as it dumbs down a lot of the mechanics while keeping intact the core aspect of Real Time Strategy games. There isn’t much change from the 1996 release and just feels like a simple port so if you have the original version I do not recommend getting this one.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.