Zombo (Monsterbytes) Review | Crash Annual - Everygamegoing


By Malcolm Kirk
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash Annual 2018


There have been several 2000 AD-themed games over the years; some were good, some were right old stinkers while others never made it past development. Although Zombo is a fan homage and not officially recognised by Rebellion or 2000 AD, it's great to see the back catalogue of characters from the galaxy's greatest comic being explored once again.

Say hello to Zombo. Created by Al Ewing and Henry Flint for the 2000 AD comic and converted to the 8-bit world of the Spectrum by Malcolm Kirk. You play Zombo, a failed super-soldier experiment created by a shady organisation known simply as The Government. Youo have been tasked with saving the six survivors of Flight 303, which plummeted onto the proto-sentient world of Chronos, a deathworld inhabited with things that want to kill you in horrible ways. What's new?

The gameplay consists of 24 interconnected screens in which Zombo must find and rescue the six crash survivors. There are three keys to collect in order to gain access to locked areas. Once the survivors are rescued, you send Zombo off to locate and dispatch the end-of-game adversary, Zombo's arch nemesis and his palindromic evil opposite, Obmoz.

Zombo follows the familiar arcade-adventure path, where you search, find and eventually exit stage right. Other objects are strewn throughout, the most important of them being the Shootybang 2000, a weapon capable of eliminating most of the dangerous inhabitants. That said, it can only shoot left and right.


Zombo was created with Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Games Designer and while 24 screens may not be something to sink your teeth into long term, part of Zombo's charm is that you can dip in and out at will. Sometimes ten minutes will be enough to complete it, sometimes Obmoz will beat you. It's ideal for gaming on the move.

While the graphics are adequate and functional, they do work very well. The collision detection occasionally leaves a bit to be desired but you soon learn to give everything that moves a wide berth.

It should take several concerted efforts to complete Zombo. The learning curve is as mild as they come and getting started is a breeze. However, defeating Obmoz is no simple task.

Overall, this is a great pick-up-and-play game for that instant burst of Spectrum gaming gratification. What it lacks in longevity it makes up for in undiluted short-term playability.


A lot of fun to be had here, exploring the landscape as a government-employed zombie 'rescuing' surviving humans. Sprites are big and well animated, sound effects are clear and simple, and there's a great sense of humour in the messages that pop up.

However, it can be annoying having to press a key to clear the messages, particularly if you're playing with Kempston joystick and especially if you have to follow it with a life-saving move out of the way of a marauding nasty. And maybe if your character was a few pixels smaller than some of the gaps you have to wait in, your deaths might seem a bit fairer. But these annoyances aside, it's an enjoyable game you'll want to explore just to see what comes next.


Control Keys: Q up, A down, O left, P right, SPACE fire, H pause
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Keyboard Play: Fast and responsive
Use of colour: Monochrome sprites, functional backdrops
Graphics: Crisp sprites but some flicker. Great loading screen
Sound: The standard squelches and beeps. No music
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: 24
General rating: Small, simplistic but enjoyable

Jason Railton

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