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Old 08 June 2015, 17:53   #1
Shatterhand
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Ziriax - Great amiga shmup

Last week I was playing some random Amiga games, and I tried this one.

I had never heard about it... with the silly name, I was expecting another crappy, badly designed euroshmup like so many on the system.

Boy, I was wrong.

It's no Apidya beater, but damn, how the hell isn't this a huge classic on the system? How the hell is this so unknown?

It's a very solid horizontal shmup, with some really maniac sections with lots of bullets. It draws heavy inspiration from Gradius for sure (and not so much from R-Type like most euroshmups), its pretty well programmed, it has Music + SFX (the music is pretty good), the boss designs are very nice...

I'd say this is a *LOT* better than Project X in the gameplay department. It also looks good enough, and the music is very good.

Here is a video of the game:

[ Show youtube player ]

My only complain about the game is the lack of 2 button support, not even the WHDLoad slave of it supports (and I saw this being requested on WHDLoad mantis, but no one made this so far, unfortunately ) . This game would really make good use of a 2nd button, instead of having to press the spacebar.

Go now and play it if you don't know it.

EDIT: Shocked, but not surprised, with the relatively bad reviews the game got:
http://hol.abime.net/1627/review

It was not an AAA releasse, not from a big team, not from a big publisher. We were so naive in trusting those magazines back at time
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Old 08 June 2015, 18:05   #2
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Nah, it's a mediocre shmup at best. Nice, but surely no classic.
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Old 08 June 2015, 18:57   #3
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In a system where Project X, Blood Money and Xenon 2 are "classics", I'd guess this deserved better.
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Old 08 June 2015, 19:16   #4
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It was really good technically but not better than project x. I had that game and was extremely hard.
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Old 08 June 2015, 20:00   #5
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Project X and Xenon 2 were always extremly overrated, for unknown sane reasons. Blood Money is indeed a classic despite the difficulty level.
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Old 08 June 2015, 20:54   #6
jeff b00toNic
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I would prefer Project X and Xenon 2 over Blood Money anytime!
Never understood why it's considered a classic.
Ziriax is nice gameplay-wise but ingame music is crap (sorry).
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Old 08 June 2015, 20:59   #7
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Wow I don't get how one would say this is mediocre at all, it has all the proper components of a nice j-shmup.

Xenon 2 was absolute garbage (going backwards? what??), same for blood Money (there's not a single good shmup where you change the direction of your ship) and Project X was badly designed difficulty-wise.
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Old 08 June 2015, 21:38   #8
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Programming of Ziriax is top class. Just graphics and difficult level are no that good. Is extremely hard, ruins the game.

At first, Blood Money for sure is very hard.. when you get used is very nice game.
I find its main problem is how fast energy bar gets drained when you collide with background. I think it would work better if your ship got bounced a bit.

Amiga version can result very hard ( I complete three stages from all four =) )

C64 conversion is really good and not so hard.
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Old 08 June 2015, 21:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
there's not a single good shmup where you change the direction of your ship
I like Starush [ Show youtube player ] and Cybernetix [ Show youtube player ]
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Old 08 June 2015, 22:28   #10
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Or Uridium (1 and 2)? Even Defender?
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Old 08 June 2015, 22:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudasEZT View Post
Programming of Ziriax is top class. Just graphics and difficult level are no that good. Is extremely hard, ruins the game.
Wonder if they stumbled in the "Developer is also game tester" syndrome that affected Powder too... they got so used to the game dynamics that they put things harder and harder...

For me seems a good nemesis clone, but cannot make myself like the graphics style and the palette choice
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Old 08 June 2015, 22:38   #12
Stefan Lindberg
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What a coincidence... 3 days ago i tested one of the disks that came the Amiga 1200 i bought some years ago and it contained a cracked copy of Ziriax and yesterday i read an interview with the Ziriax authors at Amiga Lore website and today there is a thread about Ziriax

I like this game, and i also like Xenon 2 and Blood Money

There is something wrong with the music in Ziriax... i read about it years ago... something with the game uses an older protracker/soundtracker replayer and the music is using features newer versions of protracker/soundtracker introduced (different portamento?) thus making the music sound detuned.
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Old 08 June 2015, 23:55   #13
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Or Uridium (1 and 2)? Even Defender?
You are right. Got me there.
Uridium 2 IS the only shmup I can think of where you change directions and it's still good. But even in Uridium 2, having enemies come from both directions makes the difficulty grow too much.
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Old 09 June 2015, 07:56   #14
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I loved datastorm, is a defender clone but a very good one
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Old 09 June 2015, 08:14   #15
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Project-X and Blood Money are "averagey mediocre" at best. The problem with Project X wasn't the difficulty level. Yeah, Ziriax also is hard as fuck, but it isn't boring, it doesn't have inertia, it has a fair decent weapon system and it has something that resembles LEVEL DESIGN and FLOW to the gameplay, something Project X completely lacks.

Also, I really liked Ziriax's parallax scroll with stuff coming from the back layer to the front layer, and I didn't find the music to be that bad really. Alas, I still prefer average music to NO MUSIC AT ALL like Project-X.

Blood Money has something that resembles level design, but it's kinda slow and jerky... and then it has that energy bar.. and then shops... damn it, I find hilarious how European developers always try so hard to break the genre. Why the hell do you want to break the flow of the gameplay with a freaking shop mid-level?

Xenon 2 is utterly awful. I know that Bitmap Brothers used to bribe magazines to get good reviews for their games,but what I find really amazing is how people buy the hype even today. Xenon 2 is pure garbage, the only good thing about that game is the music, everything else is extremely crap.

Ziriax seems to be done by people who had an idea of what makes a good shmup, instead of going the "I CAN'T DO LEVEL DESIGN SO LET'S ADD ALL THOSE USELESS FEATURES THAT ACTUALLY MAKE THE GAME WORSE" way that most european developers go for the shmup genre. It doesn't excel the genre, and yeah, it seems to suffer from the "Developer tester" disease, but at least they actually cared about level design.


EDIT: Uridium 2 is gold that's probably the only european shmup I can think of where the developers tried to do something different from the genre that actually worked. But I really have the feeling that Andrew Braybrook had a pretty good idea of what made a good game *and* was also a great programmer... unlike the guys at Bitmap Brothers or Team 17.

Last edited by Shatterhand; 09 June 2015 at 08:20.
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Old 09 June 2015, 10:43   #16
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It can't really compete with Disposable Hero and the likes, but I think it looks and plays pretty good. My only complaint would be that the panels at the top and bottom are distracting and stand out too much, with the bottom one being completely superfluous.
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Old 09 June 2015, 12:15   #17
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I like Disposable Hero even if some drones just shoot forward and escape, there's only few enemies that shoot at Your ship, but audio/visual and game-play are on top level. I like playing it on arcade difficulty level so there's more ships and traps.

Mega Typhoon while have not much colors is probably the best clone of Raiden, game is close to bullet-hell shmup.

There is also Banshee, at first it look like 1941 clone, but with lot of small gore details

Las good shmup for amiga I have played was T-Zero, You can feel it's euro-shmup, but there are also moments with lot of action on screen and different enemies at one moment.

I wonder what do You think about Poweder, I will have to play it one day.
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Old 09 June 2015, 12:42   #18
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Never played Ziriax until now, just given it a go. Tricky (I didn't get past the first boss on one attempt using all the continues) but technically neat and quite stylish, with some interesting organic enemies.
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Old 09 June 2015, 14:08   #19
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Ziriax looks an plays like a homebrew or low budget game. Graphics aren't that good for a 1990 game. Same for the music. Lame weapons, too hard/dull enemy waves. In no way it's comparable with real horizontal classics like Apydia, Z-out, Disposable Hero, R-Type etc. Even the old Menace was better in pure playability. Though the scrolling and controls are good, but that's not the problem here. Yes, it's a J-shmup style game but it lacks the polishing in level design and difficulty level. It's pure chaos in later stages.

Last edited by Retro-Nerd; 09 June 2015 at 14:32.
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Old 09 June 2015, 14:56   #20
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My comment on Ziriax on LemonAmiga DB in April:

Echoing what others have said. It gets too hard after the first level. Especially losing all your power ups (which you really need!) after a death is a major downer.

Great graphics, music, presentation and gameplay make this a good Amiga shooter. But just too too hard for most of us.

6/10.
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