Dragon User


Zotoka
By Preston
Dragon 32

 
Published in Dragon User #059

Living On An Island

Civil war, hurricane and invading armies, all part of daily life on the newly-found island of Zotoka. Having accidentally discovered the isle you get the job of running it. and you might guess that it's not one of the most secure jobs in the world.

Zotoka is almost two programs - on side A of the cassette are instructions with what seems like several dozen pages of text. These instructions delve to great depths to help you understand just what is going to happen - but after so many games where instructions have consisted of something like Type CLOADM and the game will start automatically. Use right joystick, these attempts have to be welcomed.

The instructions even go to the extent of giving you a little test to see how much you've understood. If you answer correctly you move to further instructions. If you are nearly right you are told of the error of your ways and then move on. However, if you type 27 when the answer is 3 you're told not to be silly and answer again.

The length of time I've spent describing the instructions shows their size but the game is not as complicated as it may momentarily seem. You are given a term of office ranging from 5 to 20 years starting in 1987: then a skill level 1 is easy. 3 is hard and 2, well it hasn't a title, middling I suppose. You're also asked if your trusty Dragon will permit the 65495 poke to help speed up things slightly.

Zotoka

The little Southsea paradise consists of 16 blocks of sea and 38 of land making up a 9 by 6 grid. Given a starting population of 500 and food for that number, the task with a limited supply of money is to meet the growing population of an island.

Each year you can buy items like crops or housing; one unit of each being sufficient for 500: don't buy enough and the natives will get restless. Also on the shopping list are various priced items like factories which provide work and earn extra money (watch out for Made in Zotoka labels!), schools, hospitals and others also help keep the masses quiet for a while.

A small island is easily attacked though and so a defence is needed. For 75 units of money 50 soldiers are added to the starling number of 150. These men are certainly needed when foreign armies start attacking because if you allow 3 of their bases to be set up permanent redundancy boms and the guillotine will be wheeled out for you.

Zotoka

Civil wars are perhaps even worse because due to the unrest, the masses rampage through the streets and fields destroying most of the hard work and effort.

Hurricanes have a similar effect, there's one at least every seven years (sounds like the bus service) which starts and trave is randomly destroying all in its path (perhaps it is the bus service!)

And that's about it. The games displayed on what has become almost the norm - that is the black/buff screen, the island displayed graphically with redefined text messeages underneath. If you survive your term you win; if you don't you lose. There is a score feature but this is almost irrelevant in a live or die game.

Not a brilliant ganne, or for that matter original but it is excellent value and is well programmed and displayed. Definitely one for the trainee meglomaniacs.

Philip Stott

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