New Zealand Story, The (World)
Overview and game play
One of the most popular and fun games
of the late 1980’s was The New Zealand Story, (“TNZS”), an
eight-way scrolling platform adventure by Taito. The star of the game is
Tiki Kiwi, a small, cute yellow bird who is controlled by the player.
Upon depositing a coin, or 2 coins for a two-player game, an animation
begins with Tiki Kiwi and his friends playing by a zoo. Wally Walrus,
the villain in the game, slides along and grabs Tiki Kiwi and his
friends and puts them in a large sack and slides away again. However,
Tiki Kiwi jumped out of the sack just before it was closed and escaped.
His mission now is to make his way through increasingly difficult levels
filled with Wally Walruses minions to rescue his friends.
Unlike most other birds, Tiki Kiwi can’t fly. He has a lot of walking to do and is therefore equipped with a nice pair of shoes. At the start of the game, pressing button 1 makes him fire an arrow in the direction he is facing. Pressing button 2 makes him jump, a skill that is necessary to reach platforms above him. Additional weapons such as bombs and lazer guns can be found throughout the game to help Tiki Kiwi in his quest. A small transparent box is displayed in the bottom left of the screen to act as a map indicating where the exit of the level is and where Tiki Kiwi is by a small dot within the box. While navigating the levels, the game designers have thoughtfully including several signposts that show the player which way s/he needs to go next. The exit to each level is hidden, but near-by there will be one of Tiki Kiwi’s friends locked in a cage. Make Tiki Kiwi touch the cage and his friend will be freed and the exit to the level will automatically appear. Wally Walrus has imprisoned Tiki Kiwi’s friends in various parts of New Zealand and a map of the country will appear after each level to show the player where he will be next.
of the levels in TNZS are huge and it can be quite tempting for a player
to wander around them to explore each area fully. If a certain amount of
time has elapsed on a level, a “hurry up” sign appears urging the
player to go to the exit. While exploring levels, it is possible to find
secret warp exits that can transport Tiki Kiwi to higher levels in the
game or bonuses such as extra lives. Players will also be rewarded for
high scores in the form of extra lives at 70,000 points and at 200,000
points to add to the 3 lives the player starts the game with.
As well as walking and jumping, Tiki Kiwi can also make use of the various forms of transport used by his adversaries. Some objects such as one that looks like a bears head and another that looks like a large screw, allow Tiki Kiwi to fly in any direction. If an enemy shoots an object Tiki Kiwi is flying on, Tiki Kiwi will fall to the ground. Similarly, if an object an enemy is flying on is shot, the enemy will fall. By using a small hot air balloon it is also possible to fly, but the player must continually push up while steering it or it will gradually descend. Enemies can only be disposed of by shooting them and Tiki Kiwi can touch some enemies, while others will kill him upon contact. When Tiki Kiwi dies he jumps up shaking his little feet in a cute way.
The graphics in TNZS are of a cartoon style and are very cute, (as were several other Taito games at the time). The introductory animation of Tiki Kiwi and his friends being abducted is rather humourous as each bird is doing something different e.g. one is smoking a cigarette, another is juggling and another is skipping. The is an adequate range of animations for Tiki Kiwi ranging from walking, jumping, snorkeling underwater and shooting to flying on or in an object or dangling from a balloon with his little feet swinging in the air! Each enemy in TNZS is cute and pleasing to see with its own set of animations. The backgrounds are well designed but not too detailed to take the players attention away from Tiki Kiwi and his mission.
The tune of TNZS is catchy and quite upbeat. It plays throughout the game and complements the atmosphere of TNZS very well. When the “hurry up” sign appears, the tune changes to indicate the player should make haste to the level exit. The sound effects are good and clearly represent the events in the game.