I have written quite a lot of retro Amiga articles the last few months and this is mostly down to the amount of positive feedback but also because of the upcoming 30th Amiga Anniversary, in other words, i am really Amiga focused at the moment.
I have planned to write about TNZS for quite a while but it has always ended up on the back burner for some reason, today was the time to change that!.
Ocean and Arcade/Coin-op games was a good match in many gamers eyes, this was, of course, thanks to the Imagine label and all the other good ports around the same time like Gryzor, Robocop, Combat School, Chase HQ, Cabal and so on.
Taito games were extremely popular both in the arcades and on home systems and i guess it was a given that Ocean wanted to get this license and do a port.
The New Zealand Story is one of those games that you will never get out of your head, that theme song is one of the reasons and the other one is down to the fact that the game is pretty good too, it is so good that you might remember where all the secrets still are after all these years.
TNZS is a simple game and at first it looks a wee bit too simple but if you play it for more than a few minutes then you will find it pretty enjoyable, the music and the graphics in the Amiga version is quite good and while i am sure it could have been better i still think it is good enough. The reason for this is because of how the game plays, there ain’t any bad controls here, there ain’t any slowdowns either and the game seems like a complete port too.
I must admit that i have not played any other version of the game since in the mid 2ks, the versions i played then was the PSP and PS2 versions (in the Taito legends compilations) so i might be wrong about the Amiga version in terms of missing stuff/levels etc.
I tried the WHDload version on my SX1 CD32 setup and the first thing i did was find the first shortcut, exactly where i remembered it would be, last time i played the Amiga version was in the late 80s. Secrets and cheats is not a thing i am good at but in this game, i remember both the keyboard/text cheats and where all the warp zones/secrets are, or if not all i still remember so many of them that i got the feeling i had recently played the game.
If this means it is a good game or a bad game in terms of design is debatable but i personally think that if i can remember where a secret is after 20+ years then it is a well-designed game.
Haha!, this was in my box! it is the cheat code for infinite lives!. Looking through my game boxes can be fun, lots of old history in them heh. That said, i am not sure who wrote this note as it certainly wasn’t me, might be a friend or family member.
It took me about 2 hours to complete the game now, oddly enough it took me weeks to complete back in the day. I am getting old and sucky at games but for some reason, i managed to beat this game in less than an evening? no, i did not use the cheat code either.
The game has a few great ideas like when you fight a boss you get eaten by it and has to take it down from the inside, ingenious!. The gameplay stays the same throughout the game but the graphics style changes frequently so you always want to get to the next level to see what kind of design/scheme is used there.
Yes, i got 3 versions of the game, 2 different box editions but floppies from 3 different versions as a friend of mine handed me him “The Hitsquad” edition floppy when he decided to leave the Amiga scene back in the late 90s.
So what was my opinion after an evening of this chicken game named after a huge island on the other side of the world? , well, for starters
- i could still hear that god damn theme song when i closed my eyes! (The day after!).
- Gameplay works well.
- It looks good even today.
- Boss fights feel rewarding.
- 1 floppy disk of pure fun!.
- I wish we had games like this today too!.
- WHY????? GOD WHY???? IS THERE ONLY 1 SONG IN THE GAME? no wonder i remembered it so good from the 80s up to 2015.
The funny thing about this game is that it is so loaded with secrets that you can most likely warp yourself to the end bosses within minutes, i have to wonder if these things were left in here for the beta testers etc back in the day so they could warp to later levels in order to test all levels without too much game time.
The New Zealand Story is a classic, a game you should try if you’re into old school stuff and or cute platformers.
Thanks to Hall Of Light for the screenshots.