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ARE YOU READY to enter the CAVERNS OF KHRON? Spikes, slugs, demons and more await you below the surface. What unknown evils will you encounter deep within? Arm yourself with sword and star and venture forth!
CAVERNS OF KHRON is an independent freeware game project by designer John D. Moore with music by WiL Whitlark (composer for Retro Affect’s Snapshot) and environment graphics by Michael Santiago. The game contains forty levels of puzzle and action platforming influenced by MS-DOS and NES games of the 1980s and 1990s. The caverns are divided into three sections with unique themes, each with its own set of environmental challenges, enemies, and bosses that reflect their environments.
In addition to the forty stages in the main game, there are two shorter campaigns (Sky Realm and Special Stages), a bonus stage, a boss rush mode, a costume select, and a level select that can be unlocked after clearing the game. The game has an extensive record-keeping system to track your best runs, optimized for speedrunning.
At the time of release, this was my largest and most polished game. Begun as a one-month “bakedown” jam game at the SelectButtonDotNet forums, the game expanded significantly, involved a musical collaboration with my longtime friend WiL Whitlark and a graphics artist, Michael Santaigo. The game is set in a fantasy world I originally created for some unfinished QBASIC games in the mid-nineties. While the basic platforming is not too gimmicky (at its core, it began as a fantasy re-working of the DOS classic Monuments of Mars with a sword), the game allowed me to work out some ideas about level design I’d been itching to try. The game file contains an NES-style manual.
While this game was in development, the engine was modified to provide the basis for The Adventures of Bulb Boy.
After retiring from ZZT officially in 2002 with Zem! X, my friend WiL (whose accomplishments and involvement in the ZZT community far outshone mine) convinced me to join him for the Spring 2003 24 Hours of ZZT competition. The theme was “adversity.” We won first place for our entry AdversiTurtle, an “interactive movie” about a turtle who introduces adversity into the lives of the relatively comfortable. The player takes control of AdversiTurtle as he faces off against other adversity-themed opponents, such as AdversiTofu in a series of minigames. WiL took care of most of the programming and all of the music, while we wrote the game together, and we both drew the art. I’m pretty sure AdversiTurtle was based on one of my character designs, but I can’t entirely remember.
Due to a hilarious mix-up with emails, the version we submitted was missing some of the art boards I was supposed to complete and send to WiL. This version is the correctly synthesized edition.
Zem! 2 was well-received, but it was frequently noted that its level design was excessively simple and presented no real challenge. Speaking to fellow ZZTers in the chat rooms of the day, the plan was hatched to collect levels from the community rather than have a traditional sequel. The game features twenty-five stages from ten contributors in addition to myself. Contributors include Gunner, Scribbit, Viovis, Glynth, tseng, and more. Levels tended toward greater challenge and some contributors programmed some interesting new elements.
Released about half a year after the original Zem! 2.
ZZT games require ZZT to run. Download it from Z2.
Originally begun as part of a cancelled Bob 3 adventure game, this action-adventure game delights in bad puns and giant dogs (with weak spots on their noses). Features some programming and design elements from Glynth and originally released to Glynth’s website right before New Year’s Eve 1997. The last game I released to use the “star system” of recurring characters playing different roles.