Oldschool Gaming - reviewing new games on classic computers
Main review :: written by Shaun B. 

Remix, thanks to the urban mega-star music sensation Craig David, has come to mean that somehow the new (remixed) version is better, cooler and hipper than the original. I can almost hear DJ David's song in my head when he declares the 'remix' in the lyrical arrangement. Pure genius if you ask me. And so I come to pass my humble judgement on a remix of the homebrew computer type: Grid Zone Remix, pondering if the inclusion of 'remix' will have the same effect on this Richard Bayliss creation.

Well, what we have on loading is a static screen affair. The object of the game is, well let's just say you've got to collect diamonds to progress through the levels, and the number needed can be changed on the title screen (in steps of ten). This simple task is complicated by the fact that two laser cannons are either side of each level and move vertically up and down, firing a deadly shot at regular intervals. There is some kind of spherical object that bounces around the screen, which is deadly, and parts of each screen scrolls on a horizontal plane which moves a sort of trapdoor that will see the main character Ned the Dog plummet to its death.

GETTING INTO THE ZONE
Right, that's the basics out of the way. What has Bayliss come up with? To be honest, nothing remotely amazing or even close to average. Why, for instance, is Ned constantly animating even when he is still? Surely, it wouldn't take much to animate the sprite when it is moved? And I've also noticed that you can, at times, walk across small parts of the trapdoors without losing a life. To me, the game has very little depth, and one level is pretty much like the next whilst the increase in the skill setting only seems to make the laser cannons fire quicker, which seems to make it easier to judge and therefore progress.

Grid Zone Remix is pretty much something that would have been okay back in 1984. But it is twenty one years on (at the time of writing), and this is probably the best game from Bayliss to date. I'm only comparing this as a game to those of 1984, and not as a piece of assembly language. If someone would like to disassemble the whole of the program to explain why it wouldn't have been technically possible in 1984, then please do... if that is the case. (No, there's nothing technically complex going on that wasn't used in games from 1984 and indeed earlier - J =-)

The sad fact is though that the C64 has seen twenty one years of innovation - for the most part, this game doesn't stand up well against many homebrew titles of the last five years. So while this 'remix' may have some improvements over the original, it's hardly ground-breaking and there's little originality or depth to be seen. A shame, but I'm sure Bayliss will prove us all wrong and come up with something good someday.

Second opinion :: written by Frank 

Richard is probably one of the most active developers on the C64 at the moment - though the rate of his releases are not sadly delivering the quality all the time. Grid Zone Remix is certainly one of Richard's better games, though sadly the big thing missing is variety. There a lot of ideas across Richard's games which work okay as mini-games, but standing as a full release just does not quite work like it might have back in the early 80's.

Grid Zone Remix contains a good idea with it's crossbreeding of Frogger elements and the general feeling of early Mastertronic releases. But after playing a few levels, it becomes apparent that you are not really going to get much more than what you are being given. Simply increasing the speed, modifying some of the level map and number of jewels to collect on each level isn't quite enough to keep people interested for a long period of time i'm afraid. If the enemies were a bit more intelligent and maps had a bit more variety, this game would work much better.

Graphically this is some of Richard's best work and almost everything is functional, although kept very simple. The music is solid (one of Richard's strongest areas) with some very "Whittaker-styled" sound effects. If Richard was to slow down his release rate and concentrate on bringing some of these ideas and combining them together into one whole game instead of several smaller games, he would produce something which would grab people's attention for much longer.

Overall, Grid Zone Remix demonstrates Richard evolving over the years with his graphics and music - however the game ideas are not quite moving along at the same pace and he needs to slow things down a tad and spend a bit more time on developing his titles more and packing as much in as possible.

Information

GRID ZONE REMIX

Format Commodore 64
Developer The New Dimension
Publisher Cronosoft
Released 2005
Price £2.99
Review Shaun B. and Frank
Download Available
Screenshots
Titles Screen
Titles Screen
In-game Screen
In-game Screen
Scores
Graphics
Sound
Playability
Lastability
5
5
5
3
   Overall 4
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