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Old 07-08-2004, 03:38 PM   #1
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Default Another Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders Review

I know it's been done, but I just wanted to show my oppinion.

Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders has been adored by many adventure gamers over the years. Whenever you ask a serious adventure gamer what they think of the game, they would probably say something along the lines of "ridiculously underratted". And who could blame them? Zak was the second adventure game by Lucasarts that really turrned heads, and went on to be an award winning game for it's awsome story.
Yes, there's no doubt that this game has been adored. So, you'd excpect me to give it an adoring review, right?

Here's my review of Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders.






Story: As mentioned before, Zak is an award winning adventure for it's unforgettable story, and rightfully so. At the time, this had the funniest, greatest, and most original story I had ever seen.
You play as Zak Mckracken (you might have guessed that), a reporter for a sleezy tabloid and who's only ambishion in life is to win a Politzer award. However he knows he can't do that working for a tabliod, so he wants to write a novel. His boss has agreed that he only has to do one more assignment tomorrow. So, later that night, he has the wierdest dream he's ever had. Something about Mars, a girl, a strange deivce, and odd looking people with nose glasses on. Later, he finds out that aliens in discises are planning to make the world stupid! And it's up to him and three other girls to globe trot around the world (and Mars) and stop them! As they travel the world, they will discover local myths, depending what location you're in.
I won't give away anything, but if you play the game, you'll realize why it won an award for it's hilarious and original characters, premice, and settings. You'll uncover a story of conspiracy, romance, intrigue, and above all comedy.
Story gets my first ever 10/10


Graphics: Zak's graphics weren't very different from Maniac Mansion's, but they were a bit more polished. Zak also had great colors, detail, and settings. If you were playing the game on it's realese date in '88, you'd be impressed as you traveled Zak's enviroments. San Fransisco, England, the jungles of South America, the Mars Face, and the Bermuda Triangle are all pretty eye pleasing.
Graphics get an 8/10



Sound/Music: Adventure Gaming in the 1980s wasn't driven on sound. Just some beeps and boops. Pretty much every computer game on the market was like this. Zak does have a bit of music and okay sound for the time. However, the sound will not affect the games overall score.
Sound gets a (for the time) 7/10


Gameplay: Here's where the game falls way short.
Zak, much like Maniac Mansion, ran on the still young SCUMM system. The early SCUMM was a bit more complex than the interface we love today. You had to double click on everything, and yet there were too many useless icons. They added more even though there were a lot to begin with.
Then there's the puzzles. Too many mazes, too confusing, too hard. And just like in Maniac Mansion, you can die. But you really only need 2 people in that game, so if one person dies, it's not a big deal. How ever in Zak, you get 4 people, but if just one of them dies, even if they weren't carrying anything, back to start. And the money system just sucks. You shouldn't have to keep a balanced credit card in an adventure game.
Gameplay gets a 4/10

Zak isn't a bad game by any means, but it doesn't deserve most of the praise it gets. However, the story just might keep you interested enough for you to finish the game.
I give Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders a
6.6/10
 
Old 07-08-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
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I still feel that Zak McKracken was one of the most innovative and challenging adventure games ever released. It had a totally unique story and excellent puzzles. We all have one or two games that really remind of us the good old days of adventuring and Zak was definetely IT for me. I can remember playingit nonstop. I can even remember dreaming about possible solutions to the puzzles when I wasn't playing. It was truly a masterpiece. I always wished LucasArts would release a sequel.
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Old 07-09-2004, 01:27 PM   #3
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Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy playing the game, but the ridiculous money system and the amount of memarization really threw the game off.
 
Old 07-10-2004, 06:30 AM   #4
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Memorisation? You had to write down a few things, like the Lotto numbers, the Martian codes and the door code on Mars, but I'd hardly say that was excessive. That's why paper is made, after all

I found the money system to be quite innovative. Most adventures make you steal everything, at least Zak made an effort to make you pay for some things
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Old 07-10-2004, 07:28 AM   #5
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Well money system failed because you were given total freedom of traveling, so you basiclly traveled blindly, and could find yourself running out of money in middle of the game, and Zak was the only one who could reach the spaceship, so you couldn't just give your cashcard to Annie, so she could fill it up.
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Old 07-10-2004, 10:04 AM   #6
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Sure, but I was worrying about keeping my cash card balanced too much to go anywhere expensive. I had to figure out which airport was selling the ticket to the destination the cheapest.
I don't like that in my adventure game.
 
Old 07-10-2004, 11:00 AM   #7
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If I remember correctly, Zak Mackracken was the first adventure game I played, it's still one of my favourite adventure games.

If I'd have to give it a score, I'd give 9.0/10

The intro theme is legendary, I can still sometimes find myself whistling the theme song in random situations.
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Old 07-10-2004, 12:27 PM   #8
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Personally, the codes and all the visa/traveling stuff was part of the magic of the game for me!

Remember the airplane scene? If you've played it, you know what a "stink" Zak made.

Oh yea Kolzig, the theme was so memorable... even on my Commodore 64 speakers! I can remember the song to this day.
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:33 PM   #9
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Listen to this - it's a remix of the Zak theme done by The Dead Guys, and it's awesome.
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Old 07-12-2004, 09:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamNMax
Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy playing the game, but the ridiculous money system and the amount of memarization really threw the game off.
I have to disagree about the 'money system'. It was just a puzzle! as far as I can remember, once you complete the yellow cristal, there is no need to spend money travelling...

Cheers
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amiguero
I have to disagree about the 'money system'. It was just a puzzle! as far as I can remember, once you complete the yellow cristal, there is no need to spend money travelling...

Cheers
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True there was a transporter pod in every key location, except london, nepal and zaire, but you don't get the crystal before you're way past half the game. You can run out of money much sooner, though.
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Old 07-16-2004, 11:26 AM   #12
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I would like everyone to please visit my RE-review of the game.
 
Old 07-22-2004, 05:38 AM   #13
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LEC made a major mistake with this game: they didn't port the FM Towns version of Zak back to the PC. What were they thinking?

Of course, if they had ported it, I'd hope they'd have used the English-version graphics, because the Japanese-version characters have those anime eyes.

Like the Loom soundtrack, Zak's FM Towns CD-quality music (which includes many more tracks than the PC version) can be downloaded at Soundfont Island, if anybody wants it.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:28 AM   #14
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I've owned Zak Mckracken for some time now but every time I try to play it I just can't seem to get into it. The horrible interface just puts me waay off. The walking animation also sucks.
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Old 08-07-2005, 12:29 AM   #15
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Doh. Was playing this for the first time today: Once you meet Annie and the game lets you switch characters, it just starts making no sense to me. It was great before that, though.
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