After saving Phee-Phee, you get a little bit of text... But what's going on?

Shouldn't this be at the start of the game, like the intro?



You should know well
the story after this
because you would
make the story after
this by yourself....


In Taito's inimitable way, they're saying they put the intro at the end...

Because you, the player, made the rest of the story, and its ending, by your own determination and skill.

Just one of those weird video game endings that stuck with me, I suppose.



There's not many credits for this one, but we definitely know which division in Taito worked on it, thanks to an easter egg in the Attract Mode we've pictured above- tap the Fire button three times during gameplay demos and a picture of a bear and a river will appear, indicating this is the work of Taito Kumagaya Laboratory. This puts it in the same division as games like Halley's Comet, Kiki Kaikai and Liquid Kids! As for the names themselves, some of the more notable ones include Kazutomo Ishida (Programmer / Software on Kiki Kaikai, Don Doko Don and Liquid Kids), Makoto Fujita (staff on Raimais, Character Designer on Elevator Action Returns, Artist on Master of Weapon), and the triple threat of Hisayoshi Ogura, Yasuhisa Watanabe and Yasuko Yamada, all members of Taito's famous in-house band ZUNTATA working on the game's sound. No wonder that main theme's so infectious!

And now the adventure's over, it's time for HIGH SCORE TABLE TIME!!



This one-credit clear comes to you from the Taito HEY arcade in Akihabara, December 2015.

Don't worry, someone went into the arcade later that day and demolished the score, ohoho~





Tiki's long journey is over, and we've completed The NewZealand Story.

Hopefully the past few pages have shown I've kinda played this game a lot, and that's because I really enjoy it. Why, though? First and foremost, it's the challenge. The NewZealand Story has a reputation for being quite difficult, to the point where almost every time I mention it on Twitter, someone chimes in that they've never beaten it. That's understandable! I've had to raise the difficulty setting over the years, but the game manages to hit that sweet spot that only special arcade games, like Alien Syndrome, Metal Slug and Fantasy Zone have managed for me, where it always remains challenging to some degree even when you've learned the game off by heart. The round designs themselves do lose their challenge a bit as you learn where the traps are and some of the tricks, such as queueing up your jumps and that Round 4-4 glitch, but the enemies remain aggressive and ferocious, there's a huge variety of them, and can still catch you out if you're not focusing. Speaking of enemies, the vehicles you steal from them add a lot of complexity to the game. Not only do they have all of their own stats and quirks, they greatly expand Tiki's mobility, making him one of the most mobile platform heroes of the time. It's never broken, though- the way the rounds are designed, you can never just fly over everything, there's always threats lurking about, and careful navigation is key.

At the same time, part of the challenge comes from working with what you have- the looping nature of the power-up system means that unless you're incredibly careful, you may not have your preferred weapon to hand for certain sections, so Tiki has to make do with what he has. You can also lose vehicles you wanted for certain parts, so there's a vague sort of 'make do and mend' mentality to the game. No section of the game is impossible without the absolute basic skill set- Tiki himself controls absolutely fine, and while some players may be put off on the less nuanced sense of momentum compared to Super Mario Bros., it skews a bit closer to Bubble Bobble, and it works surprisingly well- so the challenge level can fluctuate depending on how things go. It never feels random or unfair, but more like things can go wrong but you can recover if you play carefully and keep on top of your enemies. I think perhaps the only part where it gets a bit too difficult is the final two rounds- having no checkpoints is rough, but at least you can still continue (looking at you, Rastan!)

Another part of the appeal is the presentation- admittedly, the tilesets for the first two worlds are maybe a bit too similar to one another (it's very orang for Auckland and Rotorua) but for the most part, it's a vibrant, pretty game. There's all sorts of great background details and murals, to the point where even the signs telling you where to go are unique to each area and often include cute little mascots. The character designs are ultra-cute, even really nasty enemies like Frankie and Stone Hands have a certain charm to them, and the bosses are surprisingly memorable, especially the Frozen Whale and Amida Meiro. The main theme is also, much like Bubble Bobble, a very infectious and upbeat number, and it'll be sure to jam itself into your head like the best Taito music. On the subject of Taito, the game absolutely feels like a Taito game with its weird secrets like the Warps and the Heaven Rounds, but much like Bubble Symphony, it doesn't dip into Rainbow Islands territory- while the Warps are quite important, they have a tendency to be in fairly conspicuous places, and they're not nearly as obnoxious as those bloody little diamonds in Rainbow Islands. The Heaven rounds in particular are probably my favourite Taito secret in any of their arcade games, and serve as a fantastic 'last chance' mechanic- they've genuinely saved some of my one-credit runs!

So, in summary, The NewZealand Story is a constantly-challenging game that encourages you to adapt to situations as they arise, has round designs that don't just involve going left to right but ask you to go in all directions, and is packed with visual and audio charm. All these factors are why I've kept playing the game after all this time, racking up probably more one-credit clears than any other game, on at least two continents. The challenge may seem daunting, but hopefully these pages will give you a little boost, so give it a shot! Even if you were flummoxed by it back in the day, give it another try. We here at Gaming Hell believe in you, just like we believe in The NewZealand Story.



And now, it's that time, folks!
EXTENDED PLAY!



At the start, we said we were playing the 'Japan, old version' revision in MAME.

It's now time to talk about the other versions, in a rough chronological order.

World, prototype?
(tnzsop)



While the MAME listing is unsure if this is a prototype or not- and indeed, ancient builds of the emulator RAINe apparently listed this as The NewZealand Story 2 or The NewZealand Story Extra, so this has been causing confusion for a while- the overwhelming evidence points to that being the case, and if so, it actually offers some insight into the development process of the game. In particular, the game uses the old red Taito logo instead of the modern blue one, which indicates it had been in development for a while. Judging from unused graphics in Rainbow Islands (thanks, TCRF), Taito planned to introduce their new logo in 1987, and so it's possible The NewZealand Story had been in development for some time before its 1988 release. This is definitely an incomplete version of the game, with a lot of touch and polish missing (for instance, the collision on Tiki when using some vehicles is different so you can't move when pressing against a ceilig) but more intriguingly, a lot of things not seen in later revisions. The obvious place to start is the level design, with World 1 and the first half of World 2 using completely new maps, all of the Wellington and Strait Cook rounds being omitted entirely, and the game ending at 4-1 with the normal 5-4 map. The six rounds are interesting as they're much larger than their normal counterparts, so there's less of a gentle learning curve- you're put to flying around and fighting Frankies immediately. Furthermore, continuing sends you all the way back to the start of a round. It's a bit more intimidating, and perhaps that's why the rounds were ultimately swapped out for easier levels and other elements were toned down.



Most fascinatingly- as pointed out to us by Twitter friend Kak2X, so thanks for that- the game includes at least two elements completely removed from the final game- the Jetpack Insect enemy and the Key bonus item, pictured above. Both of these have graphics still in the final game's code (again, found by The Cutting Room Floor) but never appear in the game itself. In this version though, the Jetpack Insect first appears in Round 2-3, and the Key will eventually be dropped by defeated enemies as one of the possible power-ups. They're clearly not finished properly, though, as the Jetpack Insect is completely invincible despite having a death animation in the final game's code, and the Key makes the same chime as a power-up when picked up but seems to do nothing. There's also a different tileset for Round 1-4 that is technically used in the final, but only as part of the Warp Round and never any real rounds. As for things missing, the map between levels, the time bonus at the end of a round, most Warps (there are new ones but they don't take you far ahead), and the final title screen are all absent. All in all, this is a fascinating study for all fans of the game out there, as it's quite a different experience, and if you want a challenge beyond the original game, here you go!



While we're here, using the level select cheat listed on The Cutting Room Floor lets you visit a test level in no other version.

Oh, and as we'll see later, this was used as the basis for the Mega Drive port, for some reason.

World, old version
(tnzso)



By far the most mysterious of the revisions as there's no rerelease of this version anywhere, this version of the game is similar to the 'World, prototype?' version in that it completely replaces World 1 with four all-new levels... But these new rounds are not for the faint-hearted. I refer to this version as the Spike set because look at these screenshots! These are absolutely brutal spike mazes, far more difficult than anything else in the rest of the game, and they're at the start of the game! Furthermore, the enemy spawns are based on the ones from Hard difficulty and higher, and even then there's things like Mr. Needlemouse showing up in Round 1-1 and Flying Frankies in Round 1-2. That's rough. The strange thing is it has some of the changes made to the final revision you'll see below- adjustment of one level layout in particular and some enemy spawns- but judging from the name and PCB, came out first. Very odd. The only other notable difference we spotted is that Round 1-1 uses a tileset never used for a real round in the normal game- it only appears in Round 1-3's warp room. In any case, the changes to this version mean the game is essential complete when compared to the prototype, but if anything it's even harder than before. A proposition for true experts only.

Japan, new version / World, new version
(tnzsj / tnzs)



This is the final revision of the game, and yet oddly was not the basis for the majority of the home ports. At least the home computer ports can be explained- according to an interview with Richard Palmer (who ported the game to the Commodore 64) in Retro Gamer #115, Taito provided the printed design document to developers but those documents did not contain actual round layouts, so he used an arcade machine for reference, presumably running the 'Japan, old version' and not this revised one. Anyway, this is mostly similar to the original Japanese version, but again fiddles with the first world- Round 1-1 is now what was originally 1-2, Rounds 1-2 and 1-3 are adapted from the prototype (but adjusted- a warp added to 1-2 lets you warp to the box in 2-1 and then on to 1-4 (which now uses the Warp Round tileset). It also fixes the loop you can do between 1-4 and 2-1 by changing the design of the box where the warp is, and also alters some of the enemy spawns, such as a Pumpko now appearing in 2-1 and an Alien (!) appearing in 3-1 just before the open area. Considering these fixes and alterations, you may consider this what Taito wanted to be the 'definitive' version of the game, although it was ultimately not used for any home ports and never rereleased until its inclusion in Taito Legends: Power-Up. It is also the parent ROM in MAME so if you've ever just booted it up without checking which version you're playing, this is the one you'll have experienced.

To end this section, here's a chart detailing all the different level sets.

Japan, old version
'Standard'
(tnzsjo)
World, prototype?
'Proto'
(tnzsop)
World, old version
'Spikes'
(tnzso)
Japan / World, new version
'Alt'
(tnzsj / tnzs)
1-1
1-1
1-1 Proto
1-1 Spike
1-2 Standard
1-2
1-2
1-2 Proto
1-2 Spike
1-3 Proto
1-3
1-3
1-3 Proto
1-1 Spike
2-1 Proto
1-4
1-4
1-4 Proto
1-1 Spike
1-4 Standard
2-1
2-1
2-1 Proto
2-1 Standard
2-1 Standard
2-2
2-2
2-2 Proto
2-2 Standard
2-2 Standard
2-3
2-3
3-1 Standard
2-3 Standard
2-3 Standard
2-4
2-4
3-4 Standard
2-4 Standard
2-4 Standard
3-1
3-1
3-3 Standard
3-1 Standard
3-1 Standard
3-2
3-2
5-1 Standard
3-2 Standard
3-2 Standard
3-3
3-3
5-2 Standard
3-3 Standard
3-3 Standard
3-4
3-4
5-3 Standard
3-4 Standard
3-4 Standard
4-1
4-1
5-4 Standard
4-1 Standard
4-1 Standard
4-2
4-2
-
4-2 Standard
4-2 Standard
4-3
4-3
-
4-3 Standard
4-3 Standard
4-4
4-4
-
4-4 Standard
4-4 Standard
5-1
5-1
-
5-1 Standard
5-1 Standard
5-2
5-2
-
5-2 Standard
5-2 Standard
5-3
5-3
-
5-3 Standard
5-3 Standard
5-4
5-4
-
5-4 Standard
5-4 Standard




We also made a video on the subject some time ago! Fancy that.





Now, obviously, the arcade version of The New Zealand Story is my preferred way of playing the game...

But what about the home ports? All eleven of them including three different emulated versions?

What's interesting in this particular case is that, by a wide margin, Europe got the bulk of the home conversions, even if that's only due to the sheer amount of home computers that received a port. Hell, the Amiga had The NewZealand Story as a bloody pack-in game for several years as part of the Batman Pack! The perks of getting published by Ocean, eh? Anyway, Gaming Hell will not lie and claim to be an authority on the home computer market of the late '80s, but it's a generally-accepted fact that The NewZealand Story was a bigger hit in Europe than elsewhere, and the Ocean-published home ports almost certainly contributed to that. Conversely, the game's obscurity in the US can be tied in part to the home releases too- there was only one (the NES port) and it was renamed Kiwi Kraze over there, obfuscating its origins. Finally, Japan got a few more than the US but not as many as Europe, and they're a strange bunch, including two for Japanese home computers, and one based on a completely different level set than every other version. Phew!

Now because that's a lot of stuff to get through, we'll be doing things a touch differently. We'll devote one (1) paragraph and two (2) screenshots to each version. We won't be as thorough as usual, and there's no star ratings for these, but hopefully we'll get the job done. In the interests of fairness, a weird system is required. The stronger the hardware, the harsher I'm going to be. This is to even the playing field a little- obviously, systems like the Commodore 64 and CPC aren't going to able to compete with the big boys like the FM Towns. So, the standard for the lowest-end ports is simply 'does it recreate the experience of TNZS with a certain degree of accuracy?' whereas the 16-bit ports will have a little more scrutiny laid upon them when it comes to smaller details, and the Japanese home computer ports? They're getting raked over the coals! That said, I'm a fraud- I don't own close to all the ports here (or even the necessary hardware) so I'll do my best and hope wonky emulation doesn't get in the way, having looked up real-hardware footage where possible. Normally I don't point this out, but covering so much hardware on one page makes it seem more important. Anyway, here we go!

System Comments Shot

ZX Spectrum
1989,
Choice Software
Hello, Speccy, my old friend. I've come to play with you again. The ZX Spectrum port of The New Zealand Story was the very first version of the game I played when I was only slightly smaller than I am now. As such, you might expect me to pop on the ol' rose-tinted glasses and put this version above all the others. Don't be so naive, buster! The little computer actually puts up a decent fight here. Choice Software decided to go for the 'mono-colour' approach for this one (see also: Psycho Soldier, Final Fight) and while it looks a bit plain, it does the job. Game-wise, it's a bit choppy with the scrolling and the camera is a bit slow, but it actually controls pretty well. Vehicles especially control like a treat! A heavily-compromised port, and it's a bloody multi-loader too, so make sure you pop the kettle on in advance, but it really tries its best, bless it.



Commodore 64
1989,
Richard Palmer
A pretty respectable port, all things considered. Movement's a little slow, and you can only have two arrows on-screen at once, but surprisingly it keeps in the EXTEND letters (as random drops this time) and there's quite a lot of colours in-use. However, the Tiki sprite looks very awkward , like he's arching his back for some reason, and it loses a few cute points in that regard. The scrolling's OK, colours are nice, and it doesn't seem to control too bad, so this is a pretty acceptable 8-bit rendition of the game, all things considered. Not much else to say on it beyond that, really, so we'll leave it at that.



Amstrad CPC
1989,
Choice Software
Crikey blimey o' riley, this one's rough as old guts! It's similar to the ZX Spectrum version, in that the backgrounds are gone and the game takes its time moving the camera along, but unlike the Speccy port, this one runs awfully. The scrolling and movement was a bit choppy on the ZX, but this is way, way worse and much slower, making it an absolute chore to play. Even given the addition of proper colours, you'd be much better off trying the ZX Spectrum version, and even with the vintage of the hardware taken into consideration, this is bad.



NES
1991,
Software Creations
Of the console-based ports of the game, the NES port is my personal favourite. Admittedly, on paper it doesn't sound that great- the enemy, item and vehicle rosters have been cut (probably the least amount of all the console ports, the Master System version in particular has a lot more), the graphics have been scaled back considerably (the colours in particular are pretty bad) and the levels are mostly the same but they're truncated a little in parts. That said the gameplay itself is definitely in-tact, it runs at a decent clip, it has the warps and, graphics and cut stuff aside, the game mechanics are solidly reproduced and there's no choppy gameplay like the nicer-looking Master System port. It also has the benefit of the full theme as remade by Tim Follin and it's by far the most stompin' version of the song. A lot of compromises in this port, then, but I think it stands up pretty well, all things considered. Weirdly, no Famicom release for this, so you'll have to find the EU or US version.

(Note: This version was released in the US as Kiwi Kraze. Yes, it's an awful name.)



Master System
1992,
TekMagic
Oh boy, this version. Visually, this is a lot closer to the arcade game than most of the home computer versions, and even the NES and PC Engine ports. On a technical level, it's quite impressive! The controls and physics are a little off- Tiki moves and falls a lot faster, but swims a lot slower, and overall it feels a little choppy when it comes to scrolling- but the vehicle control is fine, and in terms of content, it loses the EXTEND letters but keeps (most of) the warps. As impressive as it is, though, I really don't like this version due to the viciousness of the enemies. Any enemies who use weapons no longer stop to use them- Bobs, for instance, can move freely while preparing their arrow shot, which means you can get killed very easily because the telegraphing of their attacks is much, much shorter. Also, 12-second music loop like most of the home computer versions. So, this one looks very nice, but it's way harder than the arcade game in a bad way, and ahh, I'm just not keen. Sorry!

(Perhaps you would prefer a different point of view on this one? Go to Tinpotgamer for that.)



Amiga
1989,
Choice Software
Of all the home computer ports, the Amiga was the one I'd heard the highest praise for- shockingly I've never owned an Amiga, so playing this one for the first time was interesting! It's pretty OK, for what it is. Similar to a couple other ports, Tiki runs a bit too fast, and you have to use Up to jump and operate vehicles, but that's not a huge deal. It keeps a lot of elements in, such as EXTEND bubbles and Mr. Wakelin who was cut from a lot of other versions, but not every enemy is in, and many areas have been compacted to save space presumably. Two things in particular are kinda annoying- like the C64 version while there are still mid-air checkpoints, you don't get given a free hot air balloon, so Tiki will just plummet to the ground, and also enemies can often just shoot through walls. Also, while less an annoyance, the enemy spawns are set by triggers that don't have a cool-down time like the arcade, so you can get swarmed very easily. But yeah, considering the specs, this is about what I expected. A very respectable conversion for the time and system, and I'd put it ahead of some of the console ports!



Atari ST
1989,
Choice Software
We don't have much to say about this, as it's very similar to the Amiga port- it was done by the same developers, and the title screen even says both Atari ST and Amiga on the title! The Amiga version is the better of the two though- this adds a border to the side where the game's logo and basic information resides so you have slightly less screen real estate to work with, and it's a little choppier than its Amiga counterpart. This isn't a case of the ZX and CPC versions though, as the Atari ST does the job well enough, if a little less elegantly than the Amiga one.



Mega Drive
1990,
Dragnet?
It's unclear if Dragnet was solely responsible for this one, as not even GDRI is certain. At least they have a name- before then it was just a question mark! Adding to the mystery, the level set is based on the 'World, prototype' revision, and since there's no warps, this means the difficulty curve's really skewed at the start, so perhaps you could consider this a 'For Super Players' version. The opening rounds will test you far more than the rest of the game, especially Round 1-4! It doesn't help that the physics are a wee bit wonky- Tiki will 'shift' a few pixels to the side when jumping and moving through platforms, and the collision detection is very iffy in places, killing you when you could've sworn you were safe (the spike jump in Round 5-1 is a real killer in particular). It's a shame because otherwise this is a pretty unique port of the game, and visually it's very close to the arcade game. It also keeps the EXTEND bubbles, and has a unique mechanic- Tiki can change the throwing arc of his bombs by throwing as he jumps. Had it stuck to the original level set and tightened things up, it could've been one of the best home ports! Certainly one of the most interesting, at least.



PC Engine
1990,
Aisystem Tokyo
The PC Engine port is a farce. Dreadful stuff. For a start, visually it's very off, as half the colours are wrong! I'm not talking 'Tiki's shoes are a slightly different shade of blue', I'm talking 'I had to check a video of this on real hardware to make sure it wasn't emulation trouble' (this one). Colours of a lot of individual sprites are wrong, but it really gets wild from Round 3-1 onwards where the background colours look inverted and eye-straining. It's a sight to behold. However, the real bugbear of this port is in the controls- Tiki's jumps feel off, and the vehicles now control like total butt. Tap the direction button on a vehicle and Tiki will move almost a whole block in that direction. It's like they can only move in blocks! Needless to say, this makes controlling vehicles a lot worse- even home computer ports were better than this, and it makes some areas impossible to navigate with them. Oh, and the game abruptly ends after the first half of Round 4-4, sending you straight to Azarashi, omitting the rest of World 5. In its favour, this version does keep many Warps, but of the home console versions of the game, this one's the worst by a wide margin, which is a shame- much like the Mega Drive port, the PC Engine could've been up to the task if this was given the proper love and care it needed.



Sharp X68000
1989,
Sharp / SPS
Oof. This one really should've been a home run. Contemporary home computer hardware? Check. SPS, who did the great port of The Fairyland Story? Check. EXTEND balloons, Heaven and Warps? That's a triple-check. Something has gone a bit amiss with this version though- it looks the part, sounds it too (although it's not 100%, it's closer than most) but it feels... Off. The main issue here is that, similar to the Mega Drive port, the collision detection with blocks is wonky and Tiki will often 'shift' when he's jumping through them, which can throw you off. Vehicle physics are also not accurate, with some vehicles being a lot faster than they should be. Also, flapping is useless and, crucially, you cannot queue up your jumps before you hit the ground, common to other versions. Aesthetically it is very close, but controls-wise this is not the arcade game, so do not expect a one-to-one conversion! To its credit, this port does have a feature not seen in any other version, not even the arcade- upon completing a Heaven round, you end up in a new area where you choose from five warps, each leading to a short, brand new map you must clear before returning to the main game (including boss rematch rooms!). Just keep your expectations in check, OK?



FM Towns Marty
1989,
Ving
Now this port, on the other hand, is much closer. If you absolutely, positively need a high-end home port of The NewZealand Story on vintage Japanese hardware, the FM Towns version is the one to go for. This one has all the features- EXTEND bubbles, the Heaven rounds, warps- and unlike the X68K version, allows you to queue up your jumps before you hit the ground. Controls-wise, this is very, very close (with only some minor differences with vehicle physics), which should come as no surprise given this was ported by Ving, whose working relationship with Taito gave us a slew of excellent ports for the Marty and Sega Saturn. There's only a few elements that aren't perfect- you still can't flap to recover from botched jumps, the sound is not the same as the arcade version (much less so than the X68K port) and your only game options are the resolution and Normal and Easy difficulties. Unlike the X68K version though, this is much more faithful to the source material, and so is awarded the accolade of Best Contemporary Port. You have done well, FM Towns Marty!



Taito Memories
Gekan
PS2, 2005,
Taito
Alright, OK, you got us. We, uh, don't have this version to test. Not our fault, we swear. Unfortunately, the PS2 Taito Memories collections have skyrocketed in price, and we weren't able to grab this particular instalment in time. That said, we do know a little bit about this version and is probably the best of the emulations available. It uses the 'Japan, old version' ROM (as it should be) and has the bare minimum of dip switches (number of lives and difficulty) and customisable controls. Nothing fancy about this version (not even a viewable fluer) but it is the arcade original emulated.



Taito Legends PS2/Xbox/PC, 2005,
Empire Oxford
The Taito Legends packs were essentially Empire Oxford's own attempt at Taito Memories, apparently developed in-house, with the exception of Taito Legends 2 on the PS2 which was based on the Taito Memories sets, and Taito Legends: Power-Up which was just a localisation of Taito Memories Pocket. Sadly these sets have some strange oversights, such as having no customisable controls on console, having weird 'presets' for game options and not saving scores if you customise them, and reversing the traditional NES style 'left button to shoot, right button to jump' standard. In The NewZealand Story in particular, they used the 'Japan, old version' set as expected, but in the Xbox version at least (need to confirm this on PS2 and PC), they accidentally left the debug dipswitch on, meaning Tiki cannot drown. That's a bit of an oversight, to be sure. The easiest of the three emulated versions to find, but with problems. On the plus side, the game came with one of six random postcards, one being The NewZealand Story's flyer art!



Taito Legends:
Power-Up

PSP, 2006,
Taito
Another straight emulation of the game, this one's a little odd. Whether intentionally or not, this collection actually uses the 'Japan, new version' revision of the arcade game, which means it has a slightly remixed set of opening levels. At least they didn't use the prototype by mistake, eh? Other than that, this has the same options as the Taito Memories version, so basic difficulty and lives options and remappable controls are your lot, no extras of any kind. Sorry! But they didn't leave the debug dipswitch on, at least.



Typically, only after we wrote all of this, we found a Spanish site,
Wikijueogs, that goes into a lot of version and revision differences.

Give it a look for bullet-point comparisons of the home versions and even the arcade revisions!





... Oh, do we have to talk about the DS remake?

I suppose we'll have to, but we're gonna be brief.

Back in the latter half of the 2000s, when the DS goldrush was on in earnest, Taito put out quite a few reimaginings of their old arcade games for the DS with the subtitle Revolution. Specifically, Bubble Bobble Revolution in 2005, Rainbow Islands Revolution in 2005, Space Invaders Revolution also in 2005, and New Zealand Story Revolution (yes, for this one they typed the name differently) in 2007. Sadly, none of these were as good as their best reimagining, Space Invaders Extreme in 2008, and New Zealand Story Revolution isn't an exception to the rule. On the surface, it sounds like an ideal remake- better graphics, better music, levels mostly based on the original but heavily remixed, new items, new abilities, the whole package! It even changes up the basic game flow by having keys required to open the cages. You can still warp around and even make it to Heaven if you want, though.

It sort of works, but does its best to ruin things. On the one hand, Tiki has a whole ruck of new abilities- taking more than one hit, dashing, double-jumping, arrow-aiming and charge shots, actual flying this time- and they make the game feel very different, very snappy and sped-up. On the other, while the original level layouts have been heavily redesigned, they don't feel like they adapt these new mechanics very well. Furthermore, the game insists on some completely pointless touchscreen gimmicks, including doors that need to be unlocked (which is OK in exactly one instance- an underwater door which is surprisingly tense as you have to watch your oxygen), long and boring tightrope sections, and several bizarre spot-the-difference segments where you have to click the out-of-place tile while enemies are attacking you. These are really distracting and add nothing significant to the game. Furthermore, the power-up system has been ruined- the power-ups you get are a lot more randomised, and the Laser, Bomb and Fire Staff weapons have been replaced with far less useful weapons, especially the Ice Arrows which slow things down (you have to destroy frozen enemies again). It at least looks pretty nice, with some even more vibrant colours, although the backgrounds can make things even harder to see. Finally, enemy movement is a lot more rigid and telegraph their attacks less, which spoils the combat. We did clear it, but we're OK never playing it again, unlike the original. That should sum it up, right?



And that's about your lot for The NewZealand Story.

Once again, thank you, Victor Epitropou, for writing essential guide all those years ago.

I figure there's only one image we can end this on, something close to my heart.



Part of the reason The NewZealand Story cemented itself in my mind was the amazing Bob Wakelin artwork for the home ports.

Bob sadly passed away in 2018, but I was lucky enough to meet him and get a signed print of that art.

Thank you for playing. See you again.