Laser Zone

aka: Laserzone, Lazer Zone
Moby ID: 24220
Commodore 64 Specs

Description official description

One of Jeff Minter's early eighties shoot'em'ups in his typical frantical style, Laser Zone has you controlling not one, but two "zone gunners" in a constrained playfield. Controlled with only one joystick, you move one zone gunner on a vertical wall and one at the bottom. Wave upon wave of nasties come into the zone, and must be shot down before they reach either wall, where neither gun can reach them and they advance toward you. You can try to escape perpetually, since your movements wrap around the screen borders, at least until another enemy has reached your wall, but it is better to use up one of your electro bolts that will erase everything on the screen.

Screenshots

Credits (Commodore 64 version)

An original concept by
Cover Design by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 6 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.7 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

An awesome game that keeps you on edge

The Good
Laser Zone is another great game from Jeff Minter. In my opinion, it is the most difficult game he made. Again, this is the type of game that should have hit the arcade game. Just like his previous titles, it is an original that is fast and frenetic.

As the player controlling two gunners on the X-Y platforms, you need to be paying attention to everything that’s happening on the screen. Two aliens that go in separate directions make their way toward the platforms, and it is your job to fire at them before they reach their destination. If they do, you need to zap them with your electros before they crawl toward a gunner and destroy it. If you manage to kill both aliens enough times, you proceed to the next wave. If one of the gunners are destroyed, you lose a life.

The game has two impressive features worth mentioning here. You have the ability to wrap around the screen (ie: go off the edge of a platform and land on the other side), and this is useful if you need to get that alien on the other side quickly. Also, for aliens that are already crawling toward one of your gunners, that is where diagonal fire comes in.

The game is quite colorful. The aliens are colored and shaped differently, and the grid that you move on is a nice shade of blue. The animations are also great. I like how the characters appear on the title screen letter by letter and this is accompanied by the appropriate sound effects. This is the first Llamasoft title I have seen to actually read “Llamasoft” in the copyright message, not “JCM”. The excellent animations also apply in the game as well.

Laser Zone also has a high score included within the game. It only includes one entry, and that was awarded to the author of the game, Jeff Minter, for 3000 points. If you manage to beat his score, you will be able to replace his name with yours, and this always remain on the title screen (as long as you don't switch off your VIC-20). There are about 30 waves, but I have enough trouble getting past the first wave. I was trying to “score attack” and enjoyed playing it, that’s the main thing.

The Bad
There is nothing bad about this game.

The Bottom Line
In my opinion, Laser Zone is the most difficult game that Jeff Minter has done, with you having to turn your attention to everything that's happening on the screen. The graphics and sound are good, and given the fast and frenetic gameplay, you will be wanting "just one more go". Definitely a title to add to your VIC-20 collection.

VIC-20 · by Katakis | カタキス (43093) · 2019

Trivia

C-16 port

The game was also ported to the Commodore C-16 and released in 1986 as part of the compilation Matrix & Laserzone by Ariolasoft. Advertisement of the game points out it was re-written for the C-16, with "even faster fire-rate" than the original while still keeping the "hallucinatory camels" in the game (Source: Advertisement as printed in Computer Gamer #16, 1986/7).

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Игги Друге.

Antstream added by firefang9212.

Additional contributors: Jo ST.

Game added September 27, 2006. Last modified December 29, 2023.