This Year: A “Definitive” Version Of Z

By Jim Rossignol on March 31st, 2011 at 6:39 pm.

This is is what it will actually look like.
Reliable human person Dartt pointed me toward this news story on the internet. It explains that the offbeat Bitmap Brothers RTS Z will be remade for release this summer. It will now be called Z: The Game, and is being published by Kavcom. Tony Kavanagh, speaking on behalf of Kavcom, said: “Fans of this classic strategy title are in for a real treat – everything is in there, from the terrific comedy cutscenes to the frantic multiplayer mode, and with a much friendlier, intuitive interface. This is going to be the definitive version of Z.”

Definitive.

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62 Comments »

  1. Bilbo says:

    Dead exciting if true. Fingers crossed this isn’t just an early, crap april fools’ joke.

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    I never played the original, but Bitmap Bros was always good for me…

    What was good about Z?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      A fast-paced, squad-based, non-base-building, territory control RTS. Also pretty difficult, and humorous.

    • coldvvvave says:

      It was like Battlefield game mod Conquest only with robots and RTS.

      Very hard.

    • dartt says:

      It was the ‘Reversi’ to Command & Conquer’s ‘Crossbows & Catapults’. Simpler on the surface but really it was just structured and refined. What I remember best is the character of it: beautiful SVGA graphics and lots of light humour hidden away in the unit animations. Classic Bitmap Brothers.

      The ‘The Game’ subtitle worries me a bit. Perhaps I’m being irrational but it seems like an unnecessary touch that is out of character with what I’d expect from a Bitmap Brothers game. We’ll see.

    • shoptroll says:

      I seem to recall having an impossible time trying to get the demo that came on a PC Gamer CD to load. I never got a chance to play it :(

  3. Hentzau says:

    Wasn’t Z the definitive version of Z? I mean it was pretty good in a sort of if-C&C-had-been-programmed-by-an-Amiga-developer way, and I certainly thought Steel Soldiers missed the point by a fairly wide margin.

    • Baboonanza says:

      C&C WAS written by an Amiga developer. It was a natural development from Dune 2, released on the Amiga.

  4. Dominic White says:

    Really hoping this works out well. I loved both Z and Z2, although the first game definitely had more charm. Classic Bitmap Brothers sprite-art.

    Still, can’t deny the humor value in robots getting smashed on Cyborg Special Brew.

  5. Schaulustiger says:

    I loved the first Z to death when it was released, but I was so bad at it that I could never get past the third or fourth mission. That game was HARD.

    And weren’t there talks about an iPad version of the original Z? That would be awesome indeed. Touchscreens were made for RTS games.

  6. Mr_Hands says:

    Next year: The Definitive edition of ZPC.

  7. Colthor says:

    I dunno, I really liked Z: The Cookery Book.

  8. patricij says:

    THAT IS Z2, you hack…or maybe 2Z…I don’t know, I’ll take your weapons…

  9. Antsy says:

    How strange, I honestly had Z in my hands a couple of weeks ago while digging around in my spare room for an RTS to play.

    Last time I played it was probably on a Pentium II 450 with a TNT graphics card. Whatever it was it didn’t let me play Z with the sliders all the way to the right. Wonderful game with the General Zod being one of my all time favourite game characters. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

  10. makute says:

    I predict a social-network oriented Z: “Z-Ville, bring your friends, control territories, upgrade turrets!!”

    I hope not, sniping tank drivers and stealing their rides was great.

  11. wiper says:

    I am saddened by the decision to use an ugly screenshot of the disappointing Steel Soldiers, rather than a nice screenshot of the original sprite-a-thon of wonderment that was Z.

    That’s Zed, incidentally, not Zee. Just so any non-British commenters know.

    • Zakski says:

      If it was pronounced “Zed”, there would an “ed” after the Z, just to let all the descendants of the people we put onto a boat and told not to come back know
      /snarky

    • wiper says:

      Complaint retracted – the replacement screenshot warms the cockles of my heart :)

      And now I really want to play Z again :(

      I never quite finished the game, only getting to the fourth world, but it was great fun. And while it was tough,* I never found it as frustrating as, say, Command & Conquer or Warcraft – probably because the levels were incredibly short and fast-paced. It was almost a puzzle game, rather than a straight RTS, and I loved it for it. Also, the plot was pleasingly daft, as were the beer-slugging robot protagonists. I’d snap it up if it ever appeared on GoG.com. Of course, with luck, the remake will remove that necessity…

      *though, famously, not as hard as the reportedly obscenely difficult review copies that were sent out

  12. Alphabet says:

    Love those bridges.

  13. The Army of None says:

    I played this game as a wee tyke with my dad quite a bit, I think. It was an awfully long time ago.

  14. Eclipse says:

    Z was great, I mean the original 2d game, I still have to try Z: Steel Soldiers ( Z2 )

  15. Butler says:

    Z was fantastic.

    It certainly had plenty of depth when you got into it, you’d be a fool to judge it on sight.

  16. jonfitt says:

    Wooow, that’s a blast from the past.

    Can we have Megalomania updated next?

  17. Nesetalis says:

    now wait.. is this the same thing as http://zod.sourceforge.net/
    or did some one else decide to try to cache on after nighsoft already made it?

    actually, double checking on the zod forum… it seems to be something separate.
    http://zod.sourceforge.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=166
    this strikes me as rather jerky.. the moment he makes a clone and it gets somewhat popular, some one revives the original?

  18. MrCoffee says:

    I still remember all the little shouts when you were losing.

    THEY ARE ALL OVER US.

  19. boldoran says:

    I had a lot of fun with the Z demo that I got on some demo-CD. But it was bloody hard for my 12 Year old self.

  20. theunshaven says:

    I’d love for the original Z to surface on GoG.com. It’d fit so very well there.

  21. Evoc says:

    Oh god, Z! I have so many fond memories of this game from my childhood. My parents didnt buy me much games, i had to live on demos and the very few games i managed to scrounge up enough money to buy. Z was one of them. Cant have been more then 12-13 at the time, i finnished the game like a trooper. Hard has heck, especially the final mission had lots of frustrations.

    Ah… Nostalgia.

  22. Navagon says:

    I just mentioned their Speedball 2 Brutal Deluxe in another post today and then suddenly there are more Bitmap Brothers games!

  23. Guyver says:

    ohhh my first game ever on pc!

  24. c-Row says:

    Great piece of video game history but brutally unforgiving AI. I hope there will be a pansy-ass difficulty setting as an option.

  25. elmuerte says:

    Z was the only RTS game I played that was actually challenging. With most games I found AI bugs after a while so that I could easily build up a huge army and roll over the enemy (ever with recent games like sc2). But Z,… damn… that thing was seriously difficult.
    With time as the only resource you don’t have time on your side.

  26. Chunga says:

    Well, if this is true and if works out to be something more than a… sorry… Z-ombie game I would be pleased and would buy it right away.

    Not to mention any good, definitive versions of Gods, Magic Pockets, Cadaver, Speedball 2…

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      There is a ‘definitive’ version of Speedball 2. You just need a Gameboy Advance (or Nintendo DS with GBA cart slot) to play it.

  27. int says:

    Nice one, TEN POINTS JERK!

  28. Easydog says:

    Now for ‘The Chaos Engine’ to get remade too :)

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Oh god yes.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Thirded… I was scrolling through here to see if anyone mentioned CE, and you got it in there before me :)

      I’m sure it would do well, as all da kidz round here are into Steampunk…

  29. Jake says:

    Hooray, I loved Z. If I remember correctly – and I probably don’t – it was the first RTS to use seizing victory locations as the win condition, which prevented you from turtling in bases like other RTS games at the time. Similar to how Company of Heroes does it. Plus it had an excellent stone > paper > scissors combat mechanic when other RTS games would have just simple damage bars.

    I remember it being impossibly hard though, and really stressful to play as you could never sit back and relax.

    • Soon says:

      Didn’t the computer start with the same units, though? And you could just send your equivalent unit straight at it and if you won more encounters you’re done. It was really cheap, but I can’t seem to resist cheap tactics, which is why Kyoto’s highly-trained samurai just fell to an army of peasant bow men.

      I ruin games for myself, I know.

  30. unentschieden says:

    It was the first game to market the AI as selling point, a rarity even today. It even had subparts like getting better when loosing, etc.
    That was the real charm for me but I doubt thats what the remake is going to be about.

  31. fuggles says:

    Strange, my memories or Z were that it was terrible with horrible snowball effects owing to factory timers and problems with robots randomly popping out of turrets and featuring levels you either completed in less than 20 seconds or just not at all, the only play incentive being the cutscenes. I seem to recall reviews at the time mirrored this. Has this been rumbling along as some sort of cult classic all these years?

    Incidentally thanks for calling it Z: The game as lord knows I would have though it was Z: the letter or Z: the commemorative royal lunchbox.

  32. Moraven says:

    Oh man i forgot about this. Another RTS was thinking about when RPS asked what RTS people playing lately. Classic.

  33. MadTinkerer says:

    Great, now if the “definitive” version can have a Normal mode added for those of us who aren’t masochists and prefer not to play on “nightmare” when learning a new game, that’d be great.

  34. MaxNormal says:

    Hmm I actually liked the sequel a lot. Pity it never got the balancing patch it needed for multiplayer.

    Steel Soldiers can come back too please ! I hate digging up CD’s so I might even buy it again.

  35. hocevar says:

    Damn, I remember playing this like crazy when I was a kid, I still have the box heh

  36. Grey says:

    Played in my youth. Never finished the second level. Dad bought it, thoght it was like Age of Empire or something. Hardcore as hell.

  37. amishmonster says:

    Am I odd for having never even heard of this game? I guess it came out a couple years before my family had a PC (i.e. non-Mac).

  38. Grey_Ghost says:

    Oh boy, I have this boxed torture device gathering dust on my shelf, Z *shudders*.

  39. Sunjammer says:

    I have a distant memory of this game being wall-to-wall swearing, and in a.. funny.. way? Also balls hard?

  40. razorblade79 says:

    I read somewhere else that it’s coming to android & ios as well. If true I hope they do crossplatform multiplayer.

    Anyway, that game was brilliant, good thing it’s coming back.

  41. SwiftRanger says:

    Good, now KKnD, Dark Reign, Incubation, Dungeon Keeper, Beasts & Bumpkins, Uprising, Seven Kingdoms, Total Annihilation, The Tone Rebellion, Theme Park, Lords of the Realm II, Birthright, Myth, Warlords should all come back as well. ’97/early ’98 was heaven for strategy games.