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Z.O.E.

Developer: Kojima Productions | Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/26/01 | Genre: Action

Hideo Kojima's latest PS2 project (not the MGS2 demo, but the actual game that came with it, right?) has been getting a lot of attention, so how does the final project stack up? Well, keep reading to find out!

Zone of the Enders follows the adventures of a child named Leo. Leo lives in a space colony near Jupiter, and after a violent invasion, he witnesses the death of his own friends. Leo runs away and tries to escape from the enemy frames, and in doing so, he runs into a frame known as Jehuty. Jehuty's intended pilot is killed and now it is up to Leo to deliver Jehuty to Mars where the frame's top secret mission will be carried out.

The gameplay in Z.O.E. is pretty straight-forward. You must destroy enemy frames, and obtain passcodes to earn new programs for Jehuty. Some of these programs are new weapons, while others are essential to progressing through the game. The control scheme may be a little complex for some players, but the game has it's own training mode to help you master all the techniques. After a few minutes of play, the controls become second nature.

The visuals of Z.O.E. are nothing short of amazing. The in-game graphics are superb and the lighting effects are great. The enemy robots look cool, and some of the bosses are HUGE. Z.O.E. also offers a deep storyline which is followed through several wonderfully animated cut scenes. The story, while good, seems to have lost a bit in translation and some will find it more enjoyable than others.

Z.O.E. features a lot of character dialog, and most of it is nicely done. The only gripe I have here is that Jehuty's onboard computer, ADA, can get annoying after awhile. To be honest, I really did not take much notice of the musical score, so it couldn't have been too bad. The sound effects in the game are also a nice touch. Explosions sound great, whether you're blowing up a building or taking out a few enemy frames, the sound effects are right on. I especially enjoyed watching some of the boss robots go down.

I must admit that, as good as Z.O.E. is, it does have some problems. First of all, it can be a little tough to see where you're going at times due to some sloppy camera angles. Also, moving the camera is a fairly slow process. Unfortunately, fighting enemy frames can basically boil down to very simple hack-n-slash gameplay. The enemy frames pose little threat, and even the bosses can be beaten fairly easily. Another problem is that the control can feel a bit sluggish at times. You push a button, and it seems like you should have moved just a bit more than you actually did. The 3D worlds can make tough for the player to be sure of their exact position. One of the most irritating things about the game is length. I was tremendously disappointed to find that I had finished it in just under 6 hours. To make things worse, quite a bit of that time was spent watching cut scenes. Not that they're bad, but there could've been a lot more gameplay.

Overall Z.O.E. is a pretty good game that a lot of folks will enjoy. However, if the game didn't include the MGS2 demo, I wouldn't really recommend buying it too many people. Renting this one gives you more than enough time to complete it, but then of course... you don't get the demo.

By Ryan Schaefer - 08/01/01
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Screenshots for Z.O.E.

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