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 ZHEROS from Rimlight Studios

This is for one or two players. It uses modern 3D animation to bring us a retro style arcade action scroller style platform game. As far as I can ascertain, note that I am playing this on STEAM having input a code and thus I have no paperwork or other information, there is a Villain - Dr Vendetta - who is intending to dominate the planet by using an almost never ending army of robots from space.

To prevent the planet from being destroyed or conquered there are two heroes, Mike and Dorian, one of whom you get to pick as your avatar, the other is for the second player. Mike is the typical square jawed, muscle-headed, muscle-bound, blonde-haired, hard hitting tough guy who can decimate robot henches with a single, solid, blow. Dorian is the typical computer/console game heroine. Lithe and supple, fast and active, with bright red hair and an attitude to match. She is a lot quicker than Mike but her attacks are less effective, not by a lot but by enough that she needs 2 or 3 hits where Mike needs just one.

This is a fun game where you run your character across the screen following a fairly linear route, though there are times when you have options of which way to go, though they generally end up at the same place. As you move so the robots pop up out of the floor, appear in front of you or drop from above, basically they arrive in droves, surround you, and thankfully hit like little old ladies with woolen handbags, at least at first and also if you are playing the EASY option. You also have NORMAL and HARD choices of difficulty, which, surprisingly, make the game harder and even harder.

There was nothing to tell me what keys to use and for once the WASD combination didn't make the hero move - Holmes like deduction by me soon found that the Arrow keys did the job and that Z and X were my best striking partners. Combination punching, kicking, high-kicking and roundhouse punching easily took out the swarms of robots and looked highly impressive at the same time. Okay so maybe I'm exaggerating a little about the swarms, in fact possibly a lot. The robots begin in ones and twos and then fews but rarely are you swamped or swarmed, even on the tougher levels, it's as if Dr Vendetta is only playing with you, but is he ?

Apart from the robots there are environment hazards, such as areas that can only be reached by jumping, electrified floors and pinpoint lasers, none of which are truly challenging and serve only to break up the monotony of beating up on robots for a few moments. I can't truly praise or denigrate the game as it really is a matter of taste and time - whether you like side scrolling action games and if you have the free time to spend. 

ZHEROS is a fun trip back to the days when side-scrolling all-action games were on top of the game tree and although I am not a particular fan of retro gaming this one at least uses graphics and animation of this century. It is more mind numbing press button action than I am currently used to playing, which in a way was a blessing, but only in short bursts. Five - ten minutes in and I was looking for something that wasn't there. A puzzle? a challenge? anything other than continual robot bopping at speed. I settled into playing it for 5 minutes, roughly, 3-4 times a day, during lulls in my creative thinking or playing or writing and it pulls me out of the mental mire into a carefree world of mindless non-gory violence. As an entertaining interval from more important things (virtually anything else really) it does its job well but there isn't any part of it where you can mop your brow and be satisfied at what you have achieved.

Probably best played with two players who are what used to be known as "lads". It is the type of game you would expect to see on a 25-30s TV comedy show where two blokes settle down on gaming chairs with a good pizza and a few cans of their favourite beverage and forget about having promised to take their girlfriends out for the night.



© Chris Baylis 2011-2015