Zeux 4: Forest of Ruin
Release Date
Requires MegaZeux 2.02 to 2.51 or newer.
Zeux 4: Forest of Ruin
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Kuddy  said:
Last modified 2012-05-17 00:05:12
Forest of Ruin is the fourth installment in the Zeux series. Back in the day, you had to pay for this game, along with Chronos Stasis and Catacombs of Zeux, as they were only distributed with the registered version of MegaZeux. However, in 1998, yenrab made these games available to the public with Greg Janson's permission, and they've been downloadable ever since. Forest of Ruin is widely considered to be the best game in the Zeux series, and once you play it, it's easy to see why.

The first thing you'll notice is the graphics. The character graphics are a departure from the previous two games - Forest has a special font, and all the smileys now have eyebrows, including Vince, whose facial expression now changes very often during the course of the game. The environmental graphics may pale in comparison to later MZX titles, but you have to keep in mind that this game was created in MegaZeux 1, and support for character sets and char editing didn't even exist back then. That aside, they're pretty much on par with Caverns, and better looking than most of Chronos Stasis was, which is a surprise considering Vince travels through three different types of environment in this game.

The gameplay is where Forest really shines. Over the course of the game, you have to solve several puzzles, some of which you actually feel smart for completing on your own. Often, you'll be rewarded with new spells, staves, or PentarOrbs, all of which you're going to need to complete the game. When you're not solving a puzzle, chances are you'll be fighting one of the game's many challenging bosses. Their attacks may be limited to the game's built-in projectiles, but they're no pushovers. These guys are quick, and good at evading your attacks. Some are immune to certain staves, while others may require a spell to be cast on them before they can be hurt. In fact, one boss was so good that it was recycled into Zeux 5, but that's a story for another day.

One area of the game can be irritating - the Maze of Eternity. Though it's a simple puzzle, the swarms of dragons that were thrown in can take forever to get past, since they throw spitfire, can't be run through, and take more than one hit to kill. This is my only real complaint with the gameplay, though, and there IS a way to make it easier, though it can still take a little while.

As with the rest of the Zeux games, the music consists entirely of original compositions. The boss theme is similar to that of Caverns, with the use of BONG.ECO for the main melody, as well as the quiet, percussionless segment of the song before the loop. This similarity continues into Catacombs, so Greg kinda had a theme going here. Like Caverns, some MODS also have special patterns set aside for fanfares and the like, which work very well in their purpose of letting you know you've retrieved critical items. The sound is a mix of PC Speaker and SAM effects, which, thanks to PC Speaker emulation, sounds a lot better since 2.80, though all those dragons spitting fire in the Maze of Eternity can get very annoying after a while.

Despite its flaws, Forest of Ruin is a solid game, and a vital part of MZX history. This is something you absolutely MUST play if you haven't done so already. Play the rest of the Zeux series while you're at it, too.
Kewlio  said:
Last modified 2012-05-17 00:05:19
The Zeux series continues with another excellent game. This one is probably the most colourful of the series, including an overworld map to get around the many areas of the game, and carrying over the magic system from Caverns. Not only that, but this is probably the first MZX game to incorporate a weapon arsenal system, wherein the three staves you will find in this game all have different effects, and may open your path, or prove completely ineffective.

Only thing I really don't like about this game is a couple of the puzzles, *especially* the one in the screenshot up there. It just requires a great deal of precision; miss a single step and either you miss the bullet, get shot, or fall into the lava. Either way, you have to start over. In the case of the last one, hope you saved.

However, in general, this is an excellent game, and I enjoyed playing it. 4 of 5 for you.