ZP2K9 Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, May 05, 2009 12:34

I have no idea what ZP2K9 means, but I can tell you what it is: A fantastic example of how Xbox Live’s Community Games system can offer fun, creative ideas at a great price. It takes the platforming action of games like Metal Slug, mixes it with some of the controls and concepts of The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, and adds online deathmatch to create a really enjoyable package. ZP2K9’s basic idea is to put several players on a map consisting of 2D platforms, much like you’d find in old NES games. Then turn them loose on one another until someone hits the necessary amount of kills to win, just like any other deathmatch game. Interestingly, there are no health meters; your screen gets increasingly blood-red until you either back off and gradually heal, or die.

Each player starts with a pistol and is able to do a stunning kick, acrobatic rolls, and run along walls and ceilings. This gives you the tools to survive, and with some persistence you might even score a few kills this way. But the real fun comes from the items lying around the map, consisting of several hand-held weapons, grenades, and suits that give you new abilities. The guns are a fairly typical lot, but each has their own use; the flamethrower and flare pistol let you engage in hit-and-run attacks, swords and shotguns offer crushing close-range power, and machine guns give you generally good performance. Rocket and grenade launchers satisfy the requirement for big guns, while more unusual choices like a shrinking ray and freeze gun let you cripple your foe before destroying them. You can also pick up grenades, which include standard explosive ones, poison grenades (whose effects must be shaken off by hanging upside down from a ceiling), fire grenades, and so on.

But the special suits are what really make things special. Some of them are mundane, such as the turtle suit which makes nearby explosions do less damage to you or the cat suit that lets you run faster. Others are much more exciting however, including a bee suit that allows for clumsy (but still very useful) flight, a skunk suit that emits poison around you, a phoenix suit that will revive you, and even a chameleon suit that turns you invisible if you’re standing still; it’s great for ambushes. These really add a lot of depth to ZP2K9, especially when you use your weapons creatively in tandem with the suits.

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Our Rating for ZP2K9 Review (XBLA)
7.0 Replay
Online play is fun, and there is enough variety in the weapons that you can make your own distinct style of play.
4.5 Graphics
Simple animations, primitive graphics in general. Thankfully, ZP2K9 believes in gameplay over graphics.
5.0 Sound
Fairly basic sounds do their job, but that’s about it.
8.5 Gameplay
Typical deathmatch play is given a new lease on life by adding 2D platforming elements and lots of special items.
8.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
It’s all about online deathmatch. Very low lag, reasonable amount of players and services, and there are even some decent bots. All around an excellent multiplayer game.
8.5 Overall
Flat-out better than some more costly Xbox Live Arcade titles, and well worth buying.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 2

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