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Platform

Xbox

 

Developer

Blitz Games

 

Publisher

Infogrames

 

Genre

Puzzle/Action

 

MSRP

$30US

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Release Date

Q4 2002

 

 

- Good title for young gamers

- Graphics are surprisingly solid

- Simple control scheme

 

 

- Anyone over the age of 10 probably won’t play it for long

- Mini-games are really lame

- Ill-suited title for typical Xbox gamer

 

 

Review: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

 

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Zapper

Score: 6.2 / 10

It’s apparent that Zapper is targeted to the younger gamer in the 8-12 age range. What’s not apparent is why would Infogrames deem this Frogger-esque puzzle-platformer a suitable title to release on the Xbox, which has a considerably older user base. Zapper seems more suited to the GameCube or PlayStation 2 (Zapper is also available for both systems), which have a bigger total of younger gamers amongst their owner’s ranks. If you just happen to be looking for a kid-friendly Xbox title, however, Zapper isn’t a bad selection.  Although be warned that there’s not too many gameplay hours packed in, even for the young and less motor-skill enhanced gameplayer.

 

Zapper places you in control of the supposedly “wicked” cricket Zapper, who must rescue his recently-kidnapped little brother Zipper from the magpie queen Maggie, who’s looking for a meal with a little kick. Despite the fact that Zapper doesn’t really seem to like his kid brother too much (talk about sibling rivalry), the trouble he’ll get into from his parents for allowing his brother to become a magpie’s meal have him setting off with his lightning-shooting antennae to rescue Zipper.

 

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- Xbox Game Reviews

If you bought this game for your kids, then you might be old enough to remember the old-school arcade game Frogger. Even if you’re not that ancient, you may have seen the new Frogger games from the past few years. Whatever Frogger game you’re familiar with, Zapper plays basically the same way, but replaces a frog with a cricket jumping around.

 

Surprisingly, the controls used to manipulate a leaping cricket through the various levels are easy enough to learn 

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and handle efficiently. That definitely has something to do with the fact that most Zapper gameplayers will be in a young demographic, but it’s still nice to know that no matter what your age, controlling your character is child’s play. The only frustration with the controls was when trying to navigate Zapper through the water areas, which can leave you hopping mad.

 

zapper gamecube review          zapper gamecube review

 

Zapper also has a amazingly nice visual and sound package going for it. The cartoony and colorful look of the graphics fits Zapper perfectly. In fact, there were areas, like the Western-themed ghost town, that had some downright impressive visuals. Zapper’s musical tunes are the sometimes-catchy variety of the 16-bit era that stay stuck in your head throughout the whole next day before getting bothersome.

 

Despite good controls, graphics and sound, Zapper’s gameplay is too short, and that turns out to be one of its biggest drawbacks. I finished the game in about four hours of playing. I know kids don’t have the longest attention span, but that’s ridiculous. What’s ironic about the shortness of the Zapper story mode is that the levels are actually pretty long. But with the infantile challenge level presented by Zapper, even a younger child won’t have too much difficulty completing the game quickly.

 

There’s not too much value in Zapper as a multiplayer game. In fact, Zapper’s multiplayer mini-games are poorly designed, unimaginative, and even worse, boring. But if nothing else, at least you can square off against your kids in a multiplayer match-up that gives them a chance to finally beat you at an Xbox game. (Aren’t you getting a tad bored by now of beating your tykes over and over in multiplayer Halo mayhem?)

 

I would definitely without hesitation recommend staying away from buying Zapper if you are older than 12 or don’t have any gameplaying youngsters in your household. But if you own an Xbox and have young children, Zapper is a safe and friendly title that will entertain your little ones with its single-player mode, if only for a short time.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 26, 2003)

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