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.