Mazogs and Maziacs
Statistics
  • Publisher:
  • Developer:
  • Genre:
  • Release Date:
  • Players:
  • Save Feature:
  • Rarity:
  • Price:
  • Rating:
  • Homebrew:
  • Freeware
  • Peejay's Remakes
  • Adventure - Maze/Puzzle/Explore (example - Zelda,Tomb Raider)
  • 2002
  • 1
  • fastest time save
  • 2
  • ?
  • ?
  • Yes
7  |  Getting Lost In Maziacs...
Darryl B. , 5/24/2006 9:17:33 PM
Wow, this game has had a strange effect on me, as, with the first time I beat it, I thought "that's IT?", figuring I wouldn't play it again.

But then later I started playing it at the next difficult level.

Plus I tried out the updated version as well, which was more difficult (and at times infuriating), which I also thought I'd never play again once I beat it.

But then I still play an occasional game of that as well. Weird!

Here's a game that might have you coming back for more, as it has pretty much THE type of gameplay that is required for a classic: simple to learn, you get a random setup with each new game, the difficulty level can be raised to keep you challenged, and it can be hard to beat.

I originally became aware of creator Peejay's Remakes due to a friend of mine sending me a Retro Gamer magazine with their included cd crammed full of games and all. Unfortunately, the game of his I tried out was Mini Space Invaders, which I did not like very much. However, upon checking out his web site at http://www.peejays-remakes.co.uk/, I figured I would eventually give him another chance.

Well, Mazogs and Maziacs looked pretty cool, and it's kept me interested a good 100 times longer than Mini Space Invaders did (so far! Who knows how much longer I'll keep on playing this game!).

This update is based on a game for the Spectrum computers (one called Mazogs that was released for one of the Spectrum computers, the other one called Maziacs that was released for another one, which I'm being too lazy to look up which one went where). You start off at the entrance of a maze, which you must grab the treasure and make it out of the maze with it. If you're familiar with some of the "torture"-themed cartoons of The Far Side, where people are chained up to walls in dungeons, that's what you have here to help you out: prisoners who will tell you the way to the gold, which is highlighted by a yellow path that you can follow. After a certain number of moves by your character, the path will disappear, so you must talk to another prisoner to refresh the path then.

Bah ha ha ha HA! Isn't that GREAT? You get to talk to these poor saps hanging on the walls, who tell you where the gold is, which, if you can get out alive with the treasure, THEY'RE still stuck there! It'd be one thing if your character had hit points (I'll get to your health aspect later), but how about any conscience points? Hey, I made it out alive, thanks guys! (Too bad there isn't a cinematic ending saying that all the evil was defeated when you made it out, releasing the prisoners, causing all the dungeon denizens to keel over and die, and the castle [or whatever] to implode on itself. A totally guilt-free game!)

Ok, so, anyway, you have to make it to the treasure. However, there are Maziacs running about in the mazes; run into one of them, and you automatically fight. If you have a sword on you, you'll automatically defeat it. If not, I don't think it's even a 50/50 chance you'll win -- maybe like 40/60 -- so you'd better grab another sword that's also adorning the walls (just like the prisoners) the moment you get out of a fight, since you only have one life. You also have an energy level that you must watch and replenish yourself with food that's also conveniently all over the mazes as well (at least the prisoners eat well, though...I hope), or else you can starve to death pretty quickly (maybe your conscience IS bothering you after all, due to your constantly burning up energy).

The treasure is always at least 200 moves away (on the default level). Once you finally make it there, you have to bring it back with you to the beginning (which the prisoners will, once again, show you the way back). Unfortunately you can only hold onto the treasure or a sword at a time, so you'll have to stay on the lookout for any blasted Maziacs; if you spot one coming up (sometimes they seem to appear out of nowhere), you'd better find a sword and kill it, rather than risk trying to slip past it, as they can be pretty fast. This is when you need to start using the map more often (by pressing the spacebar), to stay on the alert for any of the Maziacs, which is why you should also look for short detours of food on the way to the treasure, since, if on your journey back with the gold, there's no food along the way, you could very well end up dead meat (pardon the food pun)...

Now, like I said earlier, this game had a weird effect on me, as, once you bring back the gold, you win the game. The first time this happened, I thought "that's IT?", since the games have five skill levels, which I originally misread that in the Readme file, thinking that you had another maze to go after that one, and then three more on top of that.

So then I tried the other included game, which is just like the other one, except that the prisoners are replaced by compasses that only point in the general direction of the treasure. These games take a LOT longer without a direct path to follow. There are also two weapons in this one, the other one being an axe, which is needed to chop down trees that are blocking the way in the maze; swords won't cut down a tree. So backtracking a lot after finding dead ends when you're trying to get to the damn treasure and/or trying to find an axe to cut a tree down can make for a very long game at times.

So I thought I wouldn't play that version ever again, once I beat it.

Then I moved up to the next level of the original game. The maze is even LARGER.

And occasionally I play the other version too, with the compasses.

Weird.

So give these games their fair shot, like I have, they could end up rewarding in the long run. I only shudder at the thought of how long a game would take just to make it to the treasure on the hardest level (called "Ridiculous"!); I'll have to give it a shot once I have a solid hour and a half to spare (I assume it'll take about that long!). The sound effects were also updated, with a few bars of the silly 70s song "Kung Fu Fighting" popping up when you get into a fight, which cracked me up the first time, and Bart Simpson is heard to yell "all RIGHT!" whenever you pick up something. There are also updated graphics that you can choose for a game as well, but I don't like them, since your character is now a cutesy white ninja bear (?), or something, although the fight scenes were made funnier though.

There are a few problems with these games, though, mainly the control is a pain when you're trying to slip around a corner real fast to grab a sword and a Maziac is also in the immediate vicinity. (However, maybe things handle better with a joystick, which I don't have.) You can get pretty screwed at times, leading to pretty frustrating games, especially with only one life (but hey, you're warned about that right here, ok?). A different ending for beating advanced skill levels would also be nice, rather than the same one over and over, along with a total of how many Maziacs you killed would be nice too, since, with some games, it'd be nice to know of the extra effort you had to go through (not to mention speeding up or skipping the fight sequences would speed things up too).

However, those were just the small problems, THE biggest one (and most unforgivable, in my opinion) is that there is no pause feature...at ALL. If the doorbell chimes, the phone rings, or you hear a crash, immediately followed by the dog barking and junior wailing "WAHHHHHHH! MY THUMB'S ON THE FLOOR!", tough luck, you're probably going to be dead by the time you get back to your game.

However, these games are less than a 1.3 meg download, which is pretty small, and not long even if you're still on dial-up. So they're definitely worth a shot.

Just don't blame ME if "Kung Fu Fighting" winds up going through your head for days, though. The music is very easily turned off at the main menu, chief. 7/10

Submit your own review!