Matthew Hubbard/ Action Graphics
'Avoid desires and illusions', 'seek the source', says the instruction manual. Hmmm. OK, but can I play the game first?

Despite the new-age babblings in its documentation, and its rather odd title, Zenji (meaning, anyone?) is a good old-fashioned puzzle game. And, coming from those kings of the glory days, Activision, it should come as no surprise to find out that it's a pretty decent one at that.

The game is played as thus: At the centre of the screen sits an energy source from which flows green ... um ... energy. The aim is to arrange all the connecting channels on the screen so that the energy flows to each and every part. You are put in charge of a rotating face (no, I'm not making this up), which you can move along the channels and rotate individual pieces. When all the channels are connected, the level is complete, and you move onto the next.

Needless to say, all of this is done against the clock and becomes increasingly more difficult as you progress - the levels become larger so there are more pieces to worry about, and the enemies become more dangerous. Oh yes, I forgot about the enemies. These move along the channels just as your rotating face does, and inevitably, contact with one results in the loss of a life. In later levels, they also shoot projectiles. Yes, projectiles in a puzzle game. Exciting, huh?

Heh! The logo looks like bad ASCII art :O)

Do yourself a favour - ignore these pics and go play
the game

Until recently I didn't realise that there was a version of Zenji on the Colecovision. Having played it to death on several other systems, I thought I would soon get bored with this version. How wrong I was. Once I'd started playing, the old Zenji addiction kicked in once again. It would be stating the obvious to mention its outdated aesthetics, but in terms of gameplay, Zenji must surely rank alongside Tetris as one of the all-time great puzzle games. Challenging, addictive and original, Zenji is as fresh and playable now as it ever was.

Graphics: 52%

Sound: 61%

Gameplay: 93%

Overall: 90%
Basic and functional. The rotating face isn't too bad, but the enemies look like random bunches of pixels. Tinkling oriental tunes seem to suit the game rather nicely. No sound effects to speak of. Very addictive, challenging and original. Sick of Tetris? Play Zenji. Then try to stop playing Zenji. I dare you. A brilliant puzzle game and yet another classic from Activision.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Super Pipeline 2 (Commodore 64) • Confuzion (ZX Spectrum) • Pipe Mania (Gameboy)

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