Review by Jack Spencer Jr



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Female characters in video games during the pre-crash era had been few and far between. Even when they did, their roles were usually regulated to being the object of the game. The prize the player sought to win, usually in some form of rescue scenario, such as Donkey Kong. Occasional a good female character would sneak in, like Ms. Pac-Man or the motherly Kangaroo.

This review isn’t about any of those. Instead, this is about Lola. She wasn’t a showgirl, but she was the object of a little green man’s affection in Zzyzzyxx (AKA Brix) which was produced by Cinematronics in 1982.

The screen is divided into 12 rows of bright orange bricks. These bricks scroll alternately left to right and right to left. There are gaps in these bricks that allow Zzyzzyxx and his enemies to move up and down. These gaps are always one brick wide, so moving left or right is not an option. This game features the first, and to my knowledge, the only "Make-A-Brick" button. This button fills the space you are in with another brick. You are safe until you are forced out after a few seconds into the next space, whether it contains an enemy or not!

Perched at the top of the playfield, Lola is in no immediate danger at all, although her suitor tries to gather gifts for Lola to "make Lola happy."

The evil Rattifers vaguely resemble a Space Invader with a triangular head and two bowed legs and eyes. Visually uninteresting, the only thing that differentiates them is their colors.

When Zzyzzyxx has enough gifts, then he can move to Lola’s place, where he does a little victory dance. Lola suddenly reappears at the bottom of the screen and the bricks turn purple for a short time. During this time, you can imprison the Rattifer within a brick by touching them. You must then get more gifts until Lola whistles for you, and the you again move onto her space. This constitutes a "lap." When you complete a lap, you are treated with an animated intermission, such as Lola perched atop a tall tower of bricks and Zzyzzyxx kicking them out from under her. Just to get her down so he can be with her, I’m sure. Each level has a certain number of laps that must be completed, which is displayed in the upper left corner along with the score and number of men remaining.

In later level, more hazards appear such as bombs that fall on you, missiles that shoot up at you, cracked bricks that threaten to fall on you. Those who hated Game Plan’s Kaos will be especially frustrated with Zzyzzyxx.

The most disturbing thing in, my humble opinion, is how blatant a gold-digger Lola is. Does this teach little boys that girls are creatures that wear too much lipstick and need things to be happy?

I guess if you get advice on relationships from a video game you have more serious problems. 


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:37 PM