New Zealand Story, The

by Choice Software Ltd: Gerald Weatherup, Jonathan Dunn
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 68, September 1989   (1989-08-24)   page(s) 46,47

Ocean/Choice Software

Some people will do anything to get a decent meal, and walruses from down under are certainly among them. Take Wally the Blue Walrus: he's out for lunch and looking for afters as well. Passing by the zoo he spies 21 kuddly, kute kiwis. Realising they're on the menu, the sickeningly cute Kiwis decide on a plan of action - leg it!!! But alas, Wally scoops them up and takes them back to his frozen apartment far away. Aw!

Now this would be the end of story if one kiwi, Tiki, hadn't escaped from Wally's clutches. A kiwi isn't too hot when it comes to unarmed combat, but as everyone knows, they're pretty good archers, and so with beak, bow and arrow, Tiki vows revenge and sets off to rescue his mates.

Wally's many followers are a wild and crazy bunch with wild and crazy habits: stars which multiply by showing their tonsils (ugh!), bears floating around on hover pods, snails with missiles under their shells, penguins on geese, bats on balloons. Strange things are happening here, but to even the odds Tiki can arm up with bombs, lasers, fireballs, even steal a spaceship and wreak havoc aplenty.

Wally's minions aren't the only trouble around though. Spikes can do more than ruffle Tiki's feathers, running out of oxygen when scuba diving isn't nice, and neither is getting a prod from a horned devil for time wasting. Even the level itself can be a maze, but if he follows the arrows Tiki should reach one of 20 mates. Alternatively, there are warps to find and jump into - who knows where Tiki will go?

Even with all that firepower, Tiki's really in it deep when he meets up with the Guardians of each region at the end of every fourth level. Frozen whales and a mega-octopus are just two of the delightful souls wanting to meet Tiki, along with Wally himself, waiting in his balloon on the final ice cool level. Make sure you pack your winter woollies, Tiki!!

Sure enough, Ocean have come up with another surefire hit. The conversion of New Zealand Story is top-notch, with accurate character graphics, plenty of sound and masses of addictive playability. There's only one snag, and that's the multi-load wich is a tad awkward on the cassette version - so if you have a plus 3, you're recommended to buy the disk version. But, whatever you do, don't be put off by the muiti-load. Once you're into the game, you'll forget all about it as you're swamped in the cutest, addictive game around!


This cute game has the appealing characters and catchy jingles of Bubble Bobble, with the platform and general looks of something like Super Mario Bros. A recipe for total addictiveness, I think. All the sprites are excellent with great animation, and the different ways Tiki Kiwi can get about (balloon, under water snorkie, etc) add even more playability. There are a variety of mean creatures to be avoided, like malicious rabbits and blood sucking bats, plus different weapons to collect. The New Zealand Story is an arcade conversion masterpiece, get out there and give Wally Walrus one from me!
NICK [91%]

Presentation: 85%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 90%
Playability: 92%
Addictivity: 91%
Overall: 91%

Summary: General rating: Super conversion of a very appealing, playable and addictive coin-op .

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 93, October 1991   (1991-09-15)   page(s) 59

The Hit Squad

Who hasn't heard of this one, eh? It's that game starring you as fluffy Tiki the kiwi. All your kiwi chums are captives, and you have to find 'em. It's packed with platform-jumping, baddy-shooting, evil walrus-bashing action and, generally, it's quits manic.

Waddling round the scrolling maze-style landscape and impaling nasties with your trusty bow and arrow is dead addictive. The game is full of neat touches - there's several flying devices with many ways to fly them, loadsa different nasties, extra weapons and a swimming bit where you don your snorkel and goggles. Then there's the levels: there are so many! Even with cheat mode on it's worth playing the game just to see the later ones. They're not easy either, so you won't be completing this game in a hurry.

The graphics are really cute, with well drawn sprites. Sound is every bit as sickeningly cute as the graphics, with a jolly tune, funny little jingles and good spot FX.

And that's about it really. Except to mention (again) that the gameplay's a bit hard. But, if you missed this fist time round, be sure to snap it up now or your Spectrum just might not forgive you (it's a bit of a classic, y'see).

Presentation: 87%
Graphics: 92%
Sound: 91%
Playability: 91%
Addictivity: 90%
Overall: 90%

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 45, September 1989   page(s) 30,31

I can't believe it. I'm sitting here in this stuffy old office, it's lovely and sunny outside, there are bikini-clad lovelies bronzing themselves in the park down the road (© Mike Gerrard 1989) and I'm reviewing a computer game and not complaining! Why? Because The New Zealand Story is the most fun I've had with my Speccy in ages, that's why.

Okay, the cynics in the office will scoff a bit and tell me it's not all that good really, but I'm not listening. I'm simply a hopeless sucker for anything platform-and-laddery. (My one man campaign to make Rick Dangerous a Megagame rank's as one of the most annoying things the office has seen this year, rivalled only by the day Farty came to 'visit'.) So, bearing in mind that I'm not a 100% reliable witness, here's why I think The NZ Sloq is pretty spiffy.

For a start there are the characters. This topsy-turvy view of a couple of very beautiful but very empty islands at the other and of the world just really appeals to me (don't ask me why). Our hero, Joey the Kiwi, is a little ball of fluff with big feet, more canary than kiwi in fact) - dead easy to animate, but dead fetching all the same. When he rescues his mates they jump up and down in glee flapping their stumpy wings and, awww, ain't they cute?

The baddies are pretty neat too, ranging from sheep to pigs to penguins to tortoises - hardly the scariest collection of animals to start with and the idea of them all floating around on balloons shooting at each other is just too screwy for words. But I love it! Despite the monochrome, they are all immediately distinguishable from each other, and have their own bizarre characteristics to wtach out for. Even the big boss characters at the end of each level are absolutely ludicrous, ranging from a ship to a seal to a giant whale who flops around in front of Joey like, um, a big floppy thing. He's perhaps a little easy to beat, but then this is only the first level, and you've had to get past numerous tricky traps and trappettes to get this far.

The next neat thing is the structure. Each level is divided up into sub-levels, numbered, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 and so on, just like in Super Mario Brothers. At the end of each, you rescue one of your feathered chums, have a little breather and get ready for the next bit. There are a generous number of lives and you get trillions of goes at each bit. The computer only wacks you right back to the beginning of a level if you've made no progress at all. How nice of it.

What else is great? Well, for a start, there's the sheer complexity of the platform and ladders mazes Joey must cross. Even more so than Mario, which was more or less only played on two levels, The NZ Story takes you up, down, around and across all sorts of things, with arrows indicating the direction you want to go in when it isn't clear. There are spiked floors and ceilings to avoid, numerous holes to leap and, just before things get repetitive, you are obliged to change your mode of transport, whether it be to don a diver's mask and swim underwater (if you can hold your breath long enough) or to leap aboard a passing balloon, space ship or other temporary aerial ride.

Each has its own control mechanism. For instance the balloons will constantly fall if you don't counteract their movement with the up key, while the space ships will hover around quite happily. The usual fruit for points and extra weapons can be picked up from dead nasties too, though the standard bow and arrow is sufficient for most needs and lots more useful, for instance, than the rather crap bombs which only throw about six kiwi-lengths. Musically it great too, with a cute little music box tune and an endearing canary-cheep each time ol' Joey kicks the bucket.

"But! But! But!' you say. "How can you possibly tell us it's so great when it's all in horrible yellow monotone (as so much Ocean stuff seems to be these days) and aren't kiwis and all that stuff just a bit, well, girlie anyway?"" Hmm. Well, ahem... (Yikes, looks like you've got me there.)

Well, okay. The screens we've printed here and elsewhere might not look as exciting as some and I would be the first to admit to some initial disappointment with the look of the thing. All I can say to counter that is that if it makes the game clearer and smoother to play then it's an easy sacrifice to make. As for it being girlie, well, if you really hate cute games so much what have you been doing reading this far anyway? Why don't you bum off to another page and read about Gemini Wing instead? Right, that's got rid of that lot. For those who are left, erm, well, yes, it is a bit girlie. Maybe the man in the shop will give you a plain brown bag to carry it home in.

So, to sum up. The New Zealand Story has got a character all its own. It's as funny, addictive, pleasingly put together and playable as you can get. It's the nearest thing I've played at home to the arcade classic Mario, and I'm giving it a Megagame whether you like it or not. Here, have a Megagame. (Tweet) You're welcome.

Whew. (I think I'll go down the park now.)

Life Expectancy: 85%
Instant Appeal: 90%
Graphics: 78%
Addictiveness: 95%
Overall: 93%

Summary: Totally screwy. Totally wacky. Sickenly cute and rather marvellous. Can I have another go please?

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 70, October 1991   page(s) 60,61

Once upon a time (as all the best stories begin) there was a happy gang of jolly kiwis. But then, one day, along came a horrible walrus and his equally unpleasant chums, the whale and the octopus and... Oh, dear, let's forget the plot, eh? In an eggshell (kiwi? Eggshell? Cough) NZS is a cute blast-'n'-rescue platform game featuring power-ups, baddies a a-plenty, flying machines and lots of water. It's a doozy! (Eh? Ed) You'd have to try pretty hard to bodge such a strong arcade original (twice voted Best Platform Game Set in New Zealand And Starring A Kiwi) and the programmer s have done the Speccy proud - it's the most impressive arcade conversion since R-Type. Beautifully detailed, with razor-sharp graphics flitting speedily about the screen accompanied by some outstanding (128K) music and effects.

It's big, addictive and, on the whole, slinkier than a slink spring wearing a slinky dress. Complaints? Well, the blocky scrolling takes a bit of getting used to, and the inevitable multiload is a pain. On the other hand, you've got something elegantly simple and simply delightful, so it's a small price to pay. (Which coincidentally, is how you get hold of the game) Go buy! Alternatively you could pay a few pounds extra and buy it ina bigger box with a couple of other games thrown in and the name Rainbow Collection plastered over the front (take a look over there on the )

Overall: 93%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair - Article Re-review Issue 78, June 1992   page(s) 54

A close-run thing, but I reckon NZS finishes just ahead. The graphics are brilliantly simple - yellow backgrounds, with line- drawn sprites - and the depth of the game is amazing, Fabulously playable. and you'll be plugging away for ages.

Overall: Not Rated
Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 90, September 1989   page(s) 10

Wow. There's cutesy and there's cutesy and there's New Zealand Story.

Just get a load of this for a thoroughly spewey situation. Poor ickie wikkie birdies have been captured by the nasty old Walrus in New Zealand. He's going to stick his nasty walrus fangs into them and kill if they don't get away soon. Oh no!

Brave Tikki Bird escapes from the dutches of the evil blubbermoaster and vows to free his friends too. But where can they be? There are so many screens in New Zealand, and they're all populated by horrible pointy monsters, it's all a bit of a to-do. Hurumph!

Tut. This doesn't look like my kind of game at all. Big fluffy wuffy birds bouncing round a foreign country being all cutes. Spit pew!

Now, if I can be won over by a game like this, anyone can. And I have.

New Zealand Story is like a platform game taken to its ultimate extremes. You can run and jump and fly. The screen scrolls in four directions and there are objects to collect, bonus points to have and even special flying things to transport you around the levels more swiftly.

You begin at the bottom left hand corner of level 1 faced by mysterious hostile creatures. There are a few platforms in sight but initially things look a little sparse. Not so for long!! The bad guys are really bad; mean little critters who scoot along the floor and drain your energy on contact.

The only way to progress is upwards. By half bouncing and half flying, Tikki can scale tall platforms in a single bound, springing himself over the bad guys. Once you opt for this mode of transport, though, you'll need to be careful not to impale yourself on the dangerous spikes or fall down bloody great holes. Actually, you need to be extremely careful how you use your jumping ability. If you're happy jumping into the air and putting your face in the line of fire, that's fine. Otherwise, don't.

The aim of each level, of course, is to locate your little friends and get to them, thus freeing them from the clutches of the evil Walrus' followers. You're armed with a bow and arrow of pretty serious firepower, and there are extra tool-ups available (bombs and the like).

The trickiness of New Zealand Story comes in the sheer number of baddies you have to deal with at one go. Since you can jump into the air, fire in both directions and turn around and alter your path of descent, the programmers have decided that it's perfectly fair to inflict a merciless onslaught of bullets and arrows and fuzzy monsters upon you.

As you progress further into the game the screens become more and more cluttered and the actions you have to perform become more and mad. Can you really imagine saying to a mate "Yeh, I was in a little basket flying over New Zealand, and I'd rescued a couple of little birds but the Walrus has so many henchmen I didn't know where to go next. And the spikey wails kept killing me?"

They'd lock you up. Which doesn't really affect the fact that NZS is absolutely fabbo.

Label: Ocean
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Graphics: 80%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 84%
Lastability: 85%
Overall: 82%

Summary: Brillo cute romp.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 25, October 1989   page(s) 80

Ocean, Spectrum £8.95cs
Amiga version reviewed issue 24 Ace Rating 875

Although pipped at the post by Rainbow Islands on the 16-bit versions, the eight-bit conversions of New Zealand Story have been surprisingly good (check out the C64 version elsewhere on this page). The Spectrum conversion is particularly impressive. As usual the Spectrum version is monochromatic with black on yellow as the colour choice. Despite this it still plays very well and holds its own in comparison. A game worthy of a place in the collection.

Ace Rating: 860/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 23, October 1989   page(s) 93

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Atari ST £19.99

Graphically identical to the Amiga version, The New Zealand Story on the ST differs only in the quality of sound effects, though the slightly tinny tune detracts very little from the sheer playability of this arcade-perfect conversion.

The Spectrum's sprites are monochromatic, and the beautiful backdrops that graced the 16-bit versions are understandably missing. On the other hand Ocean have excelled themselves with the sprites, and they compare very well with those displayed in 16-bit.

It's the Commodore 64 version which suffers most in comparison. The game is colourful enough, but the sprites are often indistinct and look very little like the characters they're supposed to represent. Gameplay, however, remains high and C64 players shouldn't feel let down overall.

Overall: 85%

Award: The Games Machine Star Update

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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