Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Zapper

Go To
Available: Rugged individualist, outdoorsy type, cynical. Physically fit with springy reflexes. Into avoiding trouble and self-defense using electrified antennae. Yellow. Looking for adventure with the right person.

This is One Wicked Cricket!

When squabbling siblings Zapper and Zipper end up breaking their TV's antenna in their struggle, elder Zapper has the wise idea of using his unfortunate younger brother as a makeshift signal receiver... and unwittingly ends up getting him abducted by thieving magpie Maggie in the process. Now Zapper must save the little grub from the clutches of the feathered criminal, but the journey ahead won't be an easy one...

Released in November 2002, Zapper was developed by Blitz Games and published by Infogrames Interactive for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox and Microsoft Windows; a Game Boy Advance version developed by Atomic Planet Entertainment was also available.

Zapper contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Maggie the Magpie.
  • All There in the Script: None of the multiplayer characters (also seen giving you hints throughout the game's story mode, repeated multiple times) are given names in the game proper; however, internal text strings (viewable in the game's developer menu) reveal their names to be Keith, Lugg, Ping, Lustre and Gadget. The presence of these names in the game code suggests that they were supposed to be visible on the multiplayer mode's character select screen, but were cut from the final product.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: In an amusing inversion, the North American box art depicts Zapper with a DreamWorks Face, while on the European/Australian box art (also pictured above), he sports a Determined Expression. A third variation, used as a preliminary cover for the European version before being swapped out for the final release, has him sporting a more blank expression. Strangely enough, European releases of the game still use the American cover design on the spine.
  • Bee Afraid: Bees appear as enemies in the White Knuckle Water and Crazy Apiary levels.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Spook Ville starts as a graveyard full of Bedsheet Ghosts combined with a town from a Western. Voodoo Choo Choo contains the ghost enemies as well and is generally more Halloween-themed.
  • Big "YES!": Heard when you crush an egg, pick up an extra life or helmet, and when you end the level.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Zapper often gets torn apart when he dies.
  • Boss-Only Level: Hasta la Vista Magpie, a level which, judging by the surroundings, takes place on top of some kind of dingy power station.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The last bonus level, Atomspheric. You have to get Zapper through what basically amounts to a long tight corridor, with a mine constantly turning around him, and if said mine touches a wall, he dies, so the player has to constantly move by taking the mine into account, which is extremely tricky to do. To make this a further headache, you have to effectively play through the level twice in order to collect all 100 orbs and thus end the level.
  • Checkpoint: The magpie eggs act as level checkpoints.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: Occurs only once, with the log at the end of Half Acre Wood leading straight into White Knuckle Water; the rest of the game's levels are largely self-contained.
  • Dragon Hoard: Maggie's nest is one of these, built on top of a skyscraper in a city.
  • Dungeon Town: The first level, Overgrown Undergrowth, is one of these, taking place in a bug-sized town. It even starts right outside Zapper's house. The locals are mostly just there to explain how the game works.
  • Enfante Terrible: Maggie's offspring all steal for her.
  • Feathered Fiend: Maggie the Magpie steals anything shiny, including Zapper's brother Zipper.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: The engine in Voodoo Choo Choo has an eye at the front. Zapping it will net you a few extra lives.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of many ways that Zapper can die. It can be caused by anything from sword-wielding statues to saw blades to nail guns.
  • Hornet Hole: The first unlockable level, Crazy Apiary, is a beehive with stationary bees as traffic hazards and flying bees that try to attack you. The level is timed, but taking the flying bees out extends the timer.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: A few enemies such as the miners in Rockface Chase and the vacuum robots in Cutting Edge Inc. won't even die to a super-zap. The cacti in Spook Ville are stunned by the super-zap, but will only die to the retractable spike hazards in the level. Unfortunately, they stay in specific areas and not all have spikes in them...
  • Iris Out: Or a "reverse" iris-in, if you will, where a black rotating "Z" gradually fills the screen at the end of a level. A more traditional iris-out occurs in the ending cutscene.
  • Law of 100: Almost every level has exactly 100 orbs to collect. Two of the unlockable levels, Zap Pest and Showdown, change this to 100 points obtained by taking out enemies.
  • Lethal Lava Land: There are three segments in Raptor Cavern where you have to jump across rivers of lava.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Laser Maze is, as its name suggests, a deadly version of this with lasers that slice Zapper in half if he tries to move through them. They need to be deflected by rotating the red mirrors in the area.
  • Lily-Pad Platform: Lily pads are the main type of stationary platform in White Knuckle Water.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": The magpie antagonist is named Maggie, predictably.
  • Locomotive Level: The eighth level is named Voodoo Choo Choo and takes place on a Halloween-themed train.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: Cutting Edge Inc. is set in a lumber mill with timber in various stages of being turned into boards serving as moving platforms. Hazards include saw blades and nail guns.
  • Minus World: Downplayed. Pausing the game while it is transitioning out of the level can move the camera outside the playable area, giving you some pretty strange views while paused.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Can be seen on the main menu screens, with Zapper's largely yellow/orange body contrasting nicely with the dark blue background.
  • Palette Swap: A few.
    • Blue orbs are worth one point, pink orbs are worth five, and yellow orbs must be collected in a certain order to unlock a secret area.
    • Once their shells are removed, snails just look like yellow-green slugs. Also, slugs usually contain blue orbs while snails contain pink orbs.
    • The red ant enemy that appears early in the game is joined by a yellow variant in the unlockable Zap Pest level.
  • Pickup Hierarchy:
    • Primary: Magpie Eggs
    • Secondary: Yellow Orbs, Extra Lives
    • Tertiary: Regular Orbs, Coins in bonus levels
    • Extra: New Shields
  • Rail Shooter: Crazy Apiary is one of these set in a beehive, where you use your super-zap to take out flying bees and extend the timer.
  • Reformulated Game: As was common for multi-platform releases at the time, the game had a version for GBA—developed by Atomic Planet Entertainmentnote —that, for technical reasons, played differently from the other versions. Notably, it includes an adaptation of the scrapped oil rig world seen in pre-release builds of the console/PC game.
  • Screen Tap: Zapper will do this on the title screen if you wait long enough.
  • Speaking Simlish: What little spoken dialogue there is consists of this.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Take a wild guess what Zapper's defining ability is.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The result of walking into a steam cloud from one of the whistles in Voodoo Choo Choo. Oddly, zapping slugs and de-shelled snails also causes this to happen, with ribcages simply appearing within them at the moment of death.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Zapper himself became this in the US TV ads, in a voice that sounds nothing like how he does in the game.
  • Taunt Button: Console versions of the game have a dedicated "chirp" button, which serves no apparent purpose other than to remind the player that Zapper is a cricket.
  • Technicolor Science: The Laser Maze level has lots of tubes of bubbling green liquid scattered around.
  • Temple of Doom: Canopy Heights is an outdoor version of this, featuring crumbling pillars as platforms and trapped tiles that cause darts to be fired at you.
  • Timed Mission: The first three unlockable levels have timers that can be increased by zapping enemies.
  • Title In: Every level displays its name for a few seconds upon entry, complete with a short animation.
  • Underground Level: Raptor Cavern is a cave containing dinosaur fossils and lava rivers.
  • Vague Age: While Zipper appears to be an infant, what with his lack of limbs and all, Zapper's age in relation to him is somewhat ambiguous; he's probably a kid if his voice and bickering with Zipper in the opening cutscene is anything to go by.
  • Variable Mix: Most levels have a main musical theme and a more subdued version that's used in secret areas. A few levels like Cutting Edge Inc. also have tracks for different parts of the level, all of which change seamlessly to the next one as you move.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can zap the helpful bugs who give you hints just to be a dick, however you cannot kill them (even by super-zapping them at close range) and they'll always zap you back no matter how far away from them you are.
  • White Gloves: Zapper sports what looks like these in-game, though curiously not on the cover artworks.
  • World of Funny Animals: Zapper and his brother Zipper are part of a civilization of bugs with arms and expressive, humanlike features. Several of these with varying designs appear throughout the levels to give you tips about various aspects of the game.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The pink globs in the Laser Maze level cause Zapper's head to explode upon contact.