|The original: Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
The New Adventures of Zak McKracken
|At last count there are TEN different fan sequels (not all completed)! The first one to deliver the goods was Lucasfan games. Sadly their site is now dead, but if you Google "New Adventures of Zak McKracken" you should find a download site, like this one. What are you waiting for? Google it! Download it! Play it! Enjoy!|
Zak 2 was completed in just a few months, thanks to using an existing game engine (AGS), existing sprites (from Zak 1) and existing backgrounds (some from Zak 1. Others from... more about this later...)
Do you hate fan sequels?
Some people hate fan sequels on principle. I don't. Here are the issues:
The copyright issues
These are dealt with in the FAQ
The quality issues
There is a lot of bad stuff in the world, and part of being an adult is being able to choose the good and ignore the bad. Many genuine authorized sequels are inferior to the original., so why should fan sequels be held to a higher standard? If you don't like it, ignore it. Remember the original.
Does it betray the memory of a great game?
No, not if the original is old - most people have forgotten it anyway. Fan sequels keep its memory alive, by informing new readers that something old was good enough to still inspire people years later.
Some people really like them!
They give new life to a frozen story.
They train a new generation of developers.
Some of them are really good (different people like different things).
Some people complain that the game is not as long or detailed as Zak1. What do you expect? It's free, and it's finished! It's easy to criticize, but it's hard to create a finished game. For years I have watched other Zak projects, month after month, delay after delay. It seemed like they would never finish. Then suddenly, Wham! LucasFan games comes out of nowhere with a finished game. Amazing. "Respect is due", as they say.
Best of all, we finally know how Mellissa and Leslie got back from Mars. Good job, guys!
The Zak McKracken universe
What I like about games is escaping into an alternative universe. I love the idea that stuff goes on all the time and we just open a little window and look in from time to time. Zak 2 has an interesting twist on this theme: Zak's world overlaps with the world of street fighting. You can visit China and Berlin and other areas in Zak 2. And you can visit those exact same places in the 'King of Fighters' and 'Real Bouts' games. Cool.
Or put another way, LucasFans simply used the backgrounds from those games. Clever move - this let them get the game finished in record time. (Though it might make enemies of both LucasArts and SNK.)
Thanks to eobet for pointing this out. When I first made this page I said the Zak 2 art was great. So eobet emailed me and pointed out that those backgrounds are not as original as they might seem...
What happens when Zak has gone (from 'King of Fighters' 1999)
Zak in Berlin:
What happens when Zak has gone (KoF 99 again):
In a review on another site, 'bla' comments:
"It was funny to notice that the battery was from the VGA version of space quest 1, and the attractor ray looked like the BFG from the doom games. Good work =] ".
And in the Zak Archive forum, Rottingham noted that
the song in New Adventures of Zak McKracken that plays on the first cutscene with the girls in Mars is the World Map music from Final Fantasy 2...
So that's how they finished the game so quickly!
More Zak 2 screenshots
Another sequel that almost got made: a sequel to our "The
New Adventures of Zak McKracken".
Will Annie and Zak be able to escape from Chucky Island?
Late in 2004, Lucasfans considered making another Zak sequel. They also suggested some other possible projects: A Labyrinth remake, an expanded Maniac Mansion, or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Thousands of people voted, and the Zak sequel came second - Raiders was the clear winner. Oh well. It almost happened. :)
...and the Moonwalking Mindbenders
I have to mention one more project - 2005's Maniac Jackson and the Moonwalking Mindbenders: Download the game here! Some say the game is hard to play, but see for yourself. As the name suggests, it's inspired by the graphical style of Maniac Mansion and Zak. It was created by Maniac Mansion fans, but contains more than a few nods toward Zak McKracken. The central plot is a variation on the alien Mindbenders theme. And here is 'the King' in his HQ.
Does any of this look vaguely familiar? The king, the lackey, the oversized heads, the rivets, the planet earth view screen...