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Score Scale:
10 - Awesome
9 - Excellent
8 - Very Good
7 - Good
6 - Above Average
5 - Average
4 - Below Average
3 - Unsatisfactory
2 - Poor
1 - Very Poor
0 - Disaster





Official Zanzarah Website
Developer: Funatics Software
Publisher:
XICAT Interactive
Reviewed by Insatia on 3/15/03

Article Discussion Forum

First Impressions:

At last! A gaming company has managed to create a successful game that I, as an avid female gamer, am sincerely proud to say I play and enjoy. And that game is the brilliant and gratifying Zanzarah.

You come into the world as the leading lady, Amy, an 18-year-old girl from London devoid of any guns, tight clothing, or grossly proportioned body parts. With this heroine you venture into the mystical world of Zanzarah, a dwelling to goblins, elves, dwarves, pixies and fairies where you are inclined to assist in restoring peace to the lands.

Zanzarah is an RPG (Role Playing Game) and an FPS (First Person Shooter) all rolled into one, including some puzzle solving here and there. When thrown into action, you engage the enemy through first person Pokémon-style combat with your fairies in the astral place. Throughout the rest of the game, you are more involved with the story-driven role-playing elements.

Graphics:

Graphically, the world of Zanzarah is absolutely breathtaking. I've never played a game with such detail and realism. The water splashes as you run through, the plants sway as you walk past them and the fog keeps you from viewing what could be a few more steps in front of you. Footsteps remain imbedded in the crunchy snow as you walk through or leave behind small clouds of dust when on a dirt trail. NPC's (Non-Playing Characters) are completely aware of your movements as they observe you walking by and are very lively. Some of the more animated creatures I've encountered include a swamp goblin fishing and a dwarf playing the flute at an inn.

Sound/Music:

Both music and sound effects are phenomenal. You can hear birds chirping in the distance, rushing and bubbling of waterfalls, footsteps changing dependent upon the terrain you are exploring and plants rustling when you step on or near them. The ambient acoustic sound is soothing and creates a mood for each scene you enter.

Gameplay:

You fight to accomplish peace by becoming versed in commanding fairies to battle against other fairies that you encounter all over the land. You are given the option to add a weakened fairy to your collection by lowering them a few HP (hit points) away from death then capturing them with what is know in the world of Zanzarah as a Sphere.

There are 3 types of spheres Silver, Gold, and Crystal, which allow you to catch different levels of fairies each with their own special attributes. After you've caught and trained your fairy you can add it into your deck and organize it amongst your most powerful fairies to use to vanquish your enemies and become victorious in duels.

Despite the large amount of fairies that can be collected you are only capable of utilizing 5 at a time in your deck. However, they can be switched with others that you have collected along the way.

During the growth of your fairies you will be able to upgrade their offensive and passive spells. These spells cost mana points to cast and can be bought off of magic merchants. There are also evolutionary levels for fairies where they will morph into an even stronger fairy.

Runes can be acquired to transport you within seconds from town to town or other locations in Zanzarah.

The world of Zanzarah contains loading zones. These zones become your save points. You are able to save the game at any time during out of combat game play but when you either die or re-load a saved game you will appear at the last loading zone you entered.

If confusion were ever to arise as to where you should be headed or what you should be doing you can count on an owl to help you out. Owls are stationed in certain areas and can give you tips and advice. You may also consult your map for directions to your next key point by locating an exclamation point upon it or go speak with Rafi. He's the first creature you meet before in Zanzarah and can be quite helpful if you find yourself stumped on what to do next. I've never found the story line difficult to follow however, nor were the control keys hard to learn.

Enjoyment:

(See Overall Impression)

Multiplayer:

2 - 10 players are allowed in two different types of multiplayer games.

Death Match
This type allows you to use a saved game from single player mode to employ 5 selected fairies from your collection into you deck.

Random
You fairies and an arena are assigned to you in a randomly generated game.

Overall Impression:

This is truly a great game. It really does speak for itself. Download the demo and give it a try.

Marketing Efforts Towards Women:

The leading female role model is designed in a commendable fashion. Zanzarah takes any misconstrued attention off of an overbearing and unrealistic character's appearance by making the avatar a normal looking 18-year-old girl which puts the attention on the actual game play.

It's apparent that this game is targeting the female gaming population. Although, I do believe a male gamer would get as much fun and entertainment out of it given the chance. In the past, younger women have been targeted with stereotypical games focusing on makeup and fashion. It's refreshing to see a game like this on the shelves today that allows for an alternative choice of entertainment that is not focused on improving your image with liquid and powder or obsessing over shoes.



PROS: Amazing Graphics, Deep Story Line, Over 80 hours of game play

CONS: Save games only at loading zones

Total Rating - 9.5
Gameplay - 9.5
Enjoyment - 9.5
Graphics - 10
Sound/Music - 10
Multiplayer - 8

Minimum Hardware
-Windows 98/Me/2000/XP OS
- 500 MHz Athlon or Pentium 2
- 64 MB RAM
- 8 MB AGP 3D accelerated graphics card
- Direct X 8.1 compatible sound card
- 900 MB free hard disk space

Recommended Hardware
-Athlon or Pentium III 1 GHz or equivalent
-128 MD RAM
- 16 MD AGP 3D accelerated graphics card

ESRB: Teen (Ages 13+) for Mild Violence

















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