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Zoop - The Atari Times


Zoop is Poop
by Gregory D. George

January 5, 2003
The keys to a good puzzle game include two simple concepts: Addictiveness and ease of play. It's easy to talk about these concepts, it's more difficult to put them into practice in a real game. Tetris for example takes a player about 2 minutes to learn but will take years to master. The question about Zoop is: Will anyone have the patience to play it in order to become a master? Probably not.

The goal of Zoop is to prevent the wacky shapes from reaching the center zone where your player resides. You can zoom out of your box and destroy shapes if there are two or more in a line and your player is the same color. If your player is of a different color, it will be exchanged with the advancing shape.

That all sound easy enough on paper, but the actual practice (as I said) makes for one confusing game. Too many pieces come at the player far to fast. Not only will you have to worry about 4 different directions of pieces, but you also have to contend with 4 columns from each direction for a total of 16 columns! With all this activity to keep track of the player will never feel as if he or she is control of the situation.

Zipping around the screen swapping pieces gets boring fast and the player never feels as if anything is being accomplished. In similar puzzle games, lines are erased or bubbles are disintegrated. Sure, pieces in Zoop disappear, but they are quickly replaced by new ones and other columns are always advancing. Unlike Tetris where you feel moments of exhilaration Zoop's gameplay just feels flat and irritating.

The graphics are nothing to write home about. In fact, the select and in-game screens seem to revel in being dull looking. No wonder this was an easy port from all the other game systems.

About the only thing of merit in Zoop is the music. It is clear and crisp and has a few jaunty tunes that will remind you of a circus atmosphere. The sound effects are appropriate for such a quirky game and the "attack" sound effect your player makes is satisfying enough.

Zoop doesn't have the simple fun of a Tetris or the creative flair of a Ballistic. It tries too hard to be different and ultimately fails in it's job as a video game. It's no fun to play.

Across the Platforms

One thing I was excited about when Zoop was released was the marketing campaign. Magazine advertisements mentioned that the game was for several platforms such as the Genesis, SNES, Gameboy, PC, and... >Gasp!< Jaguar! I think this was the only game that wasn't afraid to admit there was a Jaguar version!

Ah, the art-deco of title screens.
Do the graphics seem a bit pixelly to you?
The advancing pieces never end and the fun just never seems to begin with Zoop.
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Puzzle
Graphics Score: 35%
Sound & Music Score: 80%
Gameplay Score: 50%
Control Score: 85%

Final Score: 55%

Reader Comments for Zoop

Yet another Genesis port by LS650 on 2006-10-18 14:14:17
This game is almost identical to the versions released on other systems such as the Genesis, the SNES, etc. It's just another bland, average puzzle game that's good for a few hours of play, but it cain't no Tetris.
zoop is adictive!!! by Pete on 2006-11-08 09:51:42
I remeber that one of the roomates at our place got a PS1 for christmas the year it came out he was proud that he would have the best system that would outshine my Jaguar and the other guys 3D0. But what 2 games did his mom buy him they were Zoop and Theme Park. Both games were already out on the Sega Genesis and looked the same and the worst thing the PS1 you could only save the game on an expensive card that he did not get. After we ragged the games and his system I finaly broke down and played Zoop. Zoop is not Tetris or Lemmings but I would rank it in the top 10 puzzle games. It is a must buy for the Jag if you do not own a PS2 because it has never been released for the newer systems. It is fun, repetitive and adictive. The only problem w/ the game is it is 100+ levels long and the levels 20+are down right impossible.
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