Zool is a video game originally produced for the Amiga by Gremlin Graphics in 1992. It was intended as a rival to Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog. It was heavily hyped upon its initial release, including being bundled with the newly launched Amiga 1200. In 2000 the game was re-released as part of The Best of Gremlin compilation.
Zool is a Gremlin Ninja from the Nth dimension sent to Earth. To complete his ninja training, he has to pass seven worlds filled with enemies.
A sequel, Zool 2, was released in 1993, while a remake of the first game titled Zool: Redimensioned was released in 2021.
Zool displays the following tropes:
- Ambiguously Evil: It's never clarified in the game itself whether the various enemies of the Sweet World, Music World, Tool World, Toy World and Fairground World are villainous, working for a boss In-Universe, or just citizens of the domains going about their day who happen to try and stop Zool who crash-landed in their universe.
- Bee Afraid: Sweets World contains giant bees as enemies. The stage boss is a giant bee that shoots bouncy sweets and missiles.
- Distaff Counterpart: Zool 2, the sequel, lets you play either as Zool or his (girlfriend? sister? female clone?) Zooz. The two have slightly different abilities.
- The Ghost: The main villain of the series, Krool, was never actually seen in person, let alone fought. The latest Updated Re-release, Zool Redimensioned, has Krool attacking from afar you during the last boss fight with Cactus Jake, but you still only see his a projection of his glowing eyes.
- Griping About Gremlins: Zool is a gremlin ninja, but unlike some examples of this trope, he's a more benevolent gremlin than anything malevolent.
- Harmless Villain: The jellies in the Sweet World are lethal, but easy to defeat in the game and don't have skills of larger threats in later levels of the game.
- Helpful Mook: These are of the Accidentally Assisting type. In the Tool World, the Animate Inanimate Object drills can actually benefit Zool, but it takes some figuring out how, while the Fairground World levels feature hammers that can be useful in certain situations, but are equally as lethal.
- Incidental Villain: The walking drums and violins of the Music World levels are really just going about their day-to-day business and are only attacking Zool because he's an intruder in their world; they're technically, not evil, and come closer to seeing him as a hostile enemy. In the Fairground World, the sentient bags of popcorn are only trying to kill Zool because, again, he's seen as an intruder in their world.
- Instrument of Murder: The boss of Music World is an electric guitar that rains fireballs on Zool.
- Invincible Villain: The violins of the Music World ricochet Zool's bullets off them and are extremely hard to kill as a video game boss, but this is zig-zagged in that takes a lot of firepower to kill them off.
- Likable Villain: Some of the game's bosses, which may seem generic by a platformer game standards are pretty unusual; sentient drums and violins in the Music World, and the bags of popcorn in the Fairground World, if only due to their Non-Malicious Monster nature and comedy value.
- Mascot with Attitude: Zool is a parody/Pastiche of the concept, although he's not actually designed to look "cool", instead he's a gremlin ninja alien. However, he doesn't have the Funny Animal, Totally Radical or Hurricane of Puns traits, and he's the sole character, with no supporting cast.
- Minimalist Cast: Zool is the sole character, no supporting cast unlike other platformers. Even the supplementary material just shows him in the 1992 manual.
- Monster Clown: The boss of the carnival world. It's a clown head hanging from one disembodied eye (that shoots bouncy eyeballs) and has a spring-loaded boxing glove in its mouth.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zool is a Gremlin Ninja from the nth Dimension.
- Non-Malicious Monster: There are quite a few:
- In the Music World, sentient drums and violins which walk around the platforms.
- In the Fruit World, sentient peas that fly across the sky which are only doing this as it's their nature to, but they're not actively working against Zool, just flying in their native dimension.
- One-Word Title: Protagonist Title, protagonist has Only One Name.
- Product Placement: Levels 1.1 to Levls 1.3, the candy-based levels are full of Chupa Chups logos.
- Stealthy Mook: The sentient drums and violins walk around as if they're just doing nothing, but really they're trying to kill Zool, making it difficult for him to spot the bows being fired from violins or drumsticks.
- Super Drowning Skills: Zool will immediately die if he lands in water, so he cannot go through anything water related.
- Take That!:
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Specifically of the Unexpected Shmup Level variety, as the Bonus Stage in the original Amiga version sees Zool piloting his spaceship through an R-Type style space shooter, in contrast to the usual platform style levels seen elsewhere in the game.
- Updated Re-release: The CD32 console got enhanced versions of both games.
- The Voiceless: Zool does not speak at all on-screen in this iteration, and the only lines of dialogue heard are from other characters, not him.
- Wall Crawl: Zool can scale up and down walls.