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Beta Project
Developer Cyrus Dolph
Theme Science Fiction
Influences Nethack
Released 2003 May 30 (v0.1.0)
Updated 2010 Jun 06 (v0.8.2)
Licensing Freeware
P. Language C++
Platforms Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Interface ASCII
Game Length ~120 minutes
Official site of ZapM

ZapM is a science fiction roguelike game by Cyrus Dolph. It's his humble attempt to create "the sci-fi Nethack".

The player controls the actions of a would-be hero exploring a derelict space hulk in search of a fabled artifact, the Bizarro Orgasmatron.

Game items are futuristic versions of their fantasy setting analogs (potions become canisters, wands become ray guns, etc.), but several mechanisms are innovative. Monsters present in ZapM include grid bugs, stormtroopers, droids, klingons, daleks, aliens, and Unix daemons. Most sentient enemies use equipment which may be scavenged upon killing them.

Available classes are: Psion, Quarterback, Software Engineer, Space Marine, and Janitor. Easiest probably is the marine whose starting equipment allow him to survive several early levels quite easily. On level advancement the PC may learn some skills which are grouped into combat and adventuring categories. Additionally Psions may hone their mutant abilities.

Shops of ZapM are run by clerkbots. Unfortunately they talk like R2D2 robot from Star Wars. Without a translating device the player will understand barely enough of chirps and beeps to make transactions.

Unique features

  • Floppy disks work similarly to scrolls but can be used several times until license expiration. A cracked floppy may be used indefinitely. One needs a computer to execute a floppy disk program. Beware, buggy computers may eat disks! Give it back you rusty pile of junk!
  • ZapM implements bionic implants which can be installed in brain lobes to enchance body functions.
  • Spells (mutant powers) work as unusual abilities of body (and rely on charisma stat) rather than as learned knowledge. One way to gain a mutant power is to drink filthy mutagenic liquid from a vat and hope for a beneficial result.
  • Ray guns cannot be recharged unless they are empty but when they are new fuel does not necessarily need to be of the same type.
  • Lawyer monster. You do not want attention of this evil enemy. Trust me.

ZapM version 6.3 was featured in 2008 /dev/null/nethack tournament.