ZOOM should bring a whiff of nostalgia to those gamesters of maturer years. Longer ago than I care to remember there was an arcade game which involved racing round a two-dimensional grid made up of blank squares - Amidar, I think it was called.
Assorted creatures infested the grid, determined to make life difficult for the player. The aim was to avoid the pursuers and try to pass over all four sides of a square, whereupon it would be painted in. The ultimate objective was to join up each and every square on the network.
At heart, Zoom is that game, dressed in new togs. The flat grid has gone three-dimensional, the game can be played alone or with another player - alternately or simultaneously - there are umpteen varieties of bizarre nasties chasing you and varioud other embellishments have been added, including sampled sound effects.
The hero of the game is Zoomer, a PacMan style character. As he dashes around, he paints in any lines that he passes over. He must join up all the squares on the 3D grid before he can attempt the next level. There are 50 screens to be conquered.
Doing their best to stop Zoomer are a wide variety of bizarre beasts, most notable of which are the deadly Jaggernauts (blond-red, flapping lips - no need to spell out the allusion here), the Wormlets (rubbery green creatures who rub out any painted lines belonging to an incomplete square) and the fast moving Angleheads.
Black holes pop up at random, swallowing Zoomer if he happens to blunder into one. The enemy does not have it all its own way - Zoomer can lay a trail of bombs as he goes.
Inanimate objects strewn around the grid can be helpful. Candy gives him a short burst of speed, apples earn four bonus squares, ice cubes freeze the enemy to the spot while a tube of glue slows them down. A mystery object in the shape of a question mark may reward or punish Zoomer. Best of all, a rocket enables him to leap to the next level.
Graphics are very good, with the three-dimensional effect working well. Animation is smooth and competent and quite humorous in places. This is an entertaining game, presented with much sparkle and polish. There is a large variety of grids and many fast and furious aliens to keep the adrenalin flowing.
Zoom's problem is that it is just too tough, even on the lower levels. If you have fast reflexes and a quick eye, this could be just the game for you. Others a touch slower with the joystick may find Zoom more frustrating than entertaining.