Nexus: Future's End by My Liver Hurtz

Title ScreenTitle Screen

My Liver Hurtz has done it again, bringing him even to Commodore in having the most MTP awards so far, with the third game in his Nexus series - Future's End - in my opinion the best one so far.

Hurtz's competition this month was limited, with the only other 100% eligible game being Viovis' Bubble Butt, which is in a vein we have all come to expect of Viovis, and made Hurtz a clear winner.

Boom.Boom. On K'TonOn K'Ton

James Concade's mission to destroy the apocalyptic weapon now in the hands of the K'Ton has failed, and he is now in captivity. After a mysterious attack on the orbiting Nexus targeting station, the evident source of all Earth's Nexus transport, Earth is rendered helpless as the K'Ton draw ever closer to detonating the weapon deep within the core of the sun, triggering a supernova that would wipe out the entire solar system. Which would suck.

Good thing Concade's ex-wife Jade happens to know the gravitational frequency code to get the Nexus portals up and running again, although it entailed a little negotiation; in return for the codes, Earth's government has allowed her to go, fully armed, through the only remaining Nexus portal onto K'Ton ... to search for her estranged husband, and release him.

SpaceshipSpaceship vrooooooooooomvrooooooooooom

Moving into a more action-oriented sphere with his new protagonist Jade at the helm, Hurtz appears to be getting closer to finding his element as a ZZTer. The sci-fi writing is a lot less scaffolded than in early versions, with use of subtlety, suspense, and a little conflict and drama, finally making Hurtz's writing stand out with increasing clarity from the mechanical rigour of Quantum P.'s style of science fiction. Hurtz has told me he takes the most pride in the writing portions of his ZZT games, and here he has done rather well.

The fruits of his hard work in graphics are also beginning to show, with greater attention to detail being paid in both playable and cutscene boards in rendering and colours (although everything on K'Ton seems to be predominantly green). Animation is employed in the cutscenes very impressively, and the art itself has also improved from the early installments. I was also most pleased to note not a single preprogrammed monster in the entire game!

The action scenes of the game are a simple shoot'em'up, with a health bar displayed on the bottom of the screen when an enemy is hit. Puzzles involve the simple use of inventory items, including an obligatory ZZT 'jailbreak' scene from James' perspective (evidently Hurtz does not want Jade taking full credit for the escape!)

The music is comprised of a couple of short pieces, one on the title screen. Sound effects in the rest of the game are limited, but with all the shooting required they're not really necessary.

Ovoid earthOvoid earth

Nexus: Future's End is a substantial improvement on the MTP-winning Nexus: Future's Past, and Hurtz deserves credit for all his hard work. He is doing excellently, and is in my opinion thus far MIG's star player. Oh, aside from Commodore, of course!

8 / 10