Reply To: First impressions
Finally got around to playing the first episode last night and was surprised that it took under an hour to complete!
I have a decent amount of experience with the shareware episode of Jill, beating it numerous times over the years. I remember it being a fun game and was curious how well it would hold up since it’s likely been a decade or more since I played it.
I got into these sort of games well past their prime, learning of Epic and Apogee from a shareware CD bought at a yard sale in 1997 so they all sort of blend together and it’s difficult for me to say how Jill would’ve fared against other games released in 1992, but I think it holds up nicely.
The grid based movement is certainly rigid, but the platforming required in episode 1 is forgiving enough that it doesn’t really bother me. I love the game’s visuals and the soundtrack is impressive.
As a huge ZZT fan, knowing this game came after ZZT/Super ZZT I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similar design. The HUD is very similar to Super ZZT and the mix of messages along the bottom of the play area and larger popup windows match up with ZZT’s messages/scrolls as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s plenty of code shared between the two since things are still grid based.
One touch I was impressed by was how the maps connect. I know plenty of games will have multiple levels on a map to save memory, but Jill seems willing to actually let you see this connected layout when most games try to prevent it. Flapping up in bird form here and realizing I was at the first level was really cool, and flipping through the other maps on VGMaps there are a few other connections as well.
As a child I was always fascinated with the weird purple mushrooms and space theme in the background during the ending, so I’m looking forward to finally trying the other episodes as well, though it sounds like they suffer the usual shareware curse of not being as good as the original.