Publisher: Activision
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #26

Zenji | JR | GP | SJ | Verdict

Zzap Sizzler


Puzzle games are still few and far between on the C64 - fortunately, Firebird have gone some way towards rectifying this situation by re-releasing this old Activision favourite.

The screen depicts a series of blue and yellow hexagons, connected by grey, maze-like, sections of track. You control a 'face', starting from the green centre segment (source) and guiding it along the tracks.

A section of track on which the face rests can be rotated about its centre - 90 degrees at a time. Turning different sections in this way alters the layout of the maze, and any section of track that connects directly to the source is turned green. The ultimate aim is to rearrange the maze so that it becomes one unbroken track and therefore turns completely green.


Accomplishing this task within a set time limit rewards you with the next, more difficult level.

Later mazes are inhabited by flames, scurrying around emitting sparks - contact with either resulting in the loss of a face. The screen is then restarted from the centre, with the maze layout remaining as it was when left, saving the trouble of starting from scratch.

Segments containing numbers hold a bonus, collected by crossing the segment before the digits count down to zero. This is added to your scoreline, and at the end of the game sufficiently high scores are entered into the high score table.



Hello there, I've just been playing this fabulous offbeat treat for the senses called Zenji. It's simple in concept, incredibly addictive and hellishly difficult to put down.

It's pleasant to the ears and eyes and is brilliantly designed. What is it? Well, it's *the* best puzzle game ever. Think of it - in billions of years of history there has never been anything better... amazing! Even more amazing is that it costs only two pounds. Buy it and believe it.


While most puzzle games are maddeningly frustrating, Zenji has a relaxing, almost therapeutic effect. The concept is gloriously simple and the execution is simply glorious.


I particularly like the way that if you try too hard to see the solution to a screen, you only get confused and more often than not, everything goes drastically wrong. I'm not sure why it has oriental overtones, but it doesn't matter - Zenji is immensely playable, grossly addictive and temptingly cheap.


A decent puzzle game makes a nice break from blasting aliens, and Zenji is probably the best on the C64. The levels are nicely graded to become progressively more challenging, but still retain enough playability on the earlier levels to avoid that "Oh no, I've got to play through the first screens again" feeling.

The graphics are simple but totally effective, with the music also adding an enormous amount, getting faster as the time limit approaches. This includes a sensation of increasing panic, even if you're doing all right!


I'm totally hooked - I think you will be too.


Presentation 91%
Superbly presented, and very user-friendly with neat touches throughout.

Graphics 67%
Very simplistic, but totally functional.


Sound 63%
Average but atmospheric tune.

Hookability 92%
An unusual concept which captures the imagination and is remarkably easy and enjoyable to grasp.

Lastability 89%
Will still be around when others are discarded.

Value For Money 97%
An awful lot of enjoyment for the lowest possible price.

Overall 91%
Easily the cheapest and best puzzle game to date.

Zenji | JR | GP | SJ | Verdict