The whole thing is completely manic from beginning to end. When you boot up the game there are various sequences going on in the background and a soundtrack that is similar to, well nothing apart from Mr Bungle or Frank Zappa. There is everything flying round the screen leaving you completely baffled as what is going on, and it is wonderful. The bit that really impressed me was the Options menu. You can change the difficulty level which makes it harder for the nasties on-screen to bump you off. Next there is the music selector. I am one of a dying breed – a person who likes funk music. What did I happen to find on the selector? A funk track. At first I was a bit dubious, but then I actually heard it and it was proper funk music which really made my day. Along with the funk music are rock and rave settings and something called Green Bizarre. Then you have an Inertia setting so old Zool does not go from standing still to 100mph instantly, and a Continue option. The various levels all have themes. The first level’s theme is sweets, with all the beasties look like dolly mixtures of fruit gums and all the backgrounds being jellies or lollies. The end-of-level baddie steals the show – a mishmash of all manner of sweets that spits liquid at our hero. The baddies do all sorts of things to try and stop you on your way, but Zool is armed and dangerous and a ninja from the Nth dimension. To get around the levels a lot of time you have to go up cliffs. You can’t actually climb them but you can sort of jump off and up and back on again – quite cunning really. Apart from the climbing there is not much to your movement on the screen but for jumping and running. The aim is to reach the end of each level by simply piling through all the nasties. Unlike Sonic you do not always progress in the same direction. In the bottom left-hand corner there is a pointer which tells you which direction to go in. At the end of each level there is the customary baddie, which does take a little doing. To bump off all the beasties you have bullets of a sort and a sword. But old Zool can only use his sword while flying through the air, spinning. It sounds like a bit of a handicap, but it is frightfully effective when wasting wine gums. To help you along the way there are a few power-ups which you can get get, like shields and so on. My favourite is the yin-yang which creates another Zool who follows you around. He fires at the same time you do and basically does the bizz. There are some really nice touches – for instance, on the second level (the music level) there are notes which come out of the saxophone and which you can ride on. There is also a big piano to walk along. It is this sort of detail that makes the game so special.

More news: Generation Amiga magazine