Monday, January 16, 2023

Free Shoot 'Em Up Review: Zeplis

Zeplis is a free shoot 'em-up created by Yasuyuki Suzuki for the Sharp MZ series. It was released in the February 1985 issue of the Japanese computer magazine PiO.

Like most games of its era, Zeplis didn't contain an in-game storyline. However, on Suzuki's website, he outlines the story as taking place in the-then future of 2013. As Earth was about to be invaded by aliens, the Federation Defense Forces, five experimental fighter jets were sent to fight off the force. However, with four of them destroyed, the last jet pilot is the last hope for the human race.

It is a fixed-screen shoot 'em up in the vain of Galaga. Like that game, the goal is to defeat all of the enemies flying in formation. A boss battle is at the end of each stage where the goal is to destroy the mothership before it destroys you. 

A challenging stage follows the regular stages. The goal is to shoot as many of the enemies as possible. If a perfect score is earned, a power-up will be earned. Earning the power-ups for the first two stages will award two extra shots for a total of three.  These extra shots will remain until the game is over.

The game works on the Sharp MZ-80K, MZ-80C, MZ-1200, MZ-700, and MZ-1500. It has the black and white, or black and green graphics of the early MZ models. The graphics are well done, considering its early arcade inspirations as well as the capabilities of the hardware. The keyboard keys used by the game will differ based on the hardware. Early models use the letter keys whereas the later models use the cursor keys.

Like the early arcade shoot 'em-ups Zeplis was based upon, the game is easy to pick up and play and highly replayable. As it's an early computer game, getting the game up and running isn't as easy as playing it due to the fact it is run from the command line. If you have the means to play it, whether on authentic hardware, an emulator, an FPGA system, or the PasocomMini MZ-80C, it could be worth playing.

Final Verdict:

3½ out of 5

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