Index


RISC World

4th Dimension Puzzle Games CD

Matthew Thompson

So we finally reach the final current 4D games collection. This is not the last one ever, as there are plans for a few more later. I'm sure most of you will have have noticed that a few of the 4th Dimension back catalogue are still to come (The Dungeon is one example) anyway this time we turn the attention to games of the puzzle variety, and this collection includes :

  • Boogie Buggy
  • Blindfold
  • Sokobas
  • Shovy 3D
  • Lemings
  • Atomix
  • Mr Matt
  • Bombz
  • Pushy
  • Gloop
  • Stacker
  • Tilt

The back of the gamebox also lists Bloodlust as being included on this compilation, this is a misprint as it appears on the 4D Platform games collection. The game that should be listed is Stacker.

Installation of this CD is the same as the previous CDs, a user friendly easy to use procedure, and after a while you will end up with a directory on your hard disc containing the 11 games.

Atomix

The aim of this game is to create complex molecules out of individual atoms, which have no free electrons when they are joined.

The game will install on the icon bar, click on the program icon to start and you will see the title page, which will alternate with a demo mode and the high score table. From here you just press the Space Bar to get the game menu, from here you play the levels, play timer, enter a level password, or read the help files. This is highly recommended as it goes through a demonstration tutorial to show you how to play the game, even after watching it I still don't really know what I'm doing.

The board which is used to create the molecules allows for 7x8, or 56, atoms. At the top left of the screen the score is displayed, beneath this is a status field which tells you the minimum size of the molecule you need to construct. It also tells you the number of molecules left to assemble, plus the current number of atoms on the board.

To the right of the board is a pit in which the atoms fall, initially quite slowly but they pick up speed as you progress through the levels. The pit can hold up to 6 atoms, if a seventh atom enters the pit then the game is over.

There is a 'Joker Atom' which is like a wild card which has no electrons attached to it and this can be placed anywhere on the board, but it must be able to bond with at least one other atom.

Controlling Atomix is with the keyboard using the usual left, right, up and down keys, Return to place an atom, and the Space bar to rotate one. The instructions say the game also supports joysticks.

A level editor is also included as a separate program, so that you can design and create new graphics and levels should you wish to do so. The manual goes into detail about creating new levels, as there is a fair bit of stuff you need to know.

The graphics of Atomix are decent enough and suit the game well. The atoms and molecules are well drawn and look like what they are supposed to be, on the audio side of things there are a number of tunes which play and some in game sound effects as well.

The problem with this game is I couldn't really figure out what to do with it, so I hope all of this makes sense!

The game might be really easy to play, it might not be, but the game didn't really appeal to me, so I didn't really try to figure it out. However if you fancy creating some molecules then this might be the game for you, not a particularly bad game, just one that didn't interest me.

Blindfold

This seems to be quite a good little game, but unfortunately due to the lack of any instructions I am not totally sure what the game objective is exactly. So there was a lot of trial and error involved. As an aside if anyone does have a copy of this game with any form of instructions then APDL would like to hear from you.

This game reminds me of the one we used to play at Cubs many years ago, when you were shown a tray of objects for a couple of minutes, then they would take them away and you had to remember what items there were, and where they all were. This is kind of what Blindfold is like, a game of memory testing.

Upon loading Blindfold the main menu is displayed, not much in the way of options here, just quit, audio on/off, enter password and start game. Upon starting the game you will see the following screen :

This is the game screen, the green pathways are where you can move about on, and the $ signs are to be collected, and there are some hearts there also which give you extra lives. There are also some bombs, as you would expect if you try and collect one of them it's explosion time and a life is lost. You cannot move onto the blue pathways, only the green ones.

Whilst this screen is displayed the egg timer at the side of the screen is counting down. Once all the sand has run out this screen will no longer be displayed, and is replaced by the following screen :

As you can now see the previous screen has gone, it is now hidden beneath this new one, and this is where the memory test comes in, remembering what the previous screen was like, and where everything was as you have to collect up all the items shown before.

You are in control of a small grey ball object, which is on the left hand side on the screen, the first thing you have to find is the way onto the main playing area there will be a point where you can move right onto the playing area, it is about halfway down.

Once onto this area you can then move about the screen. The box at the bottom will create a map to show where you have been on the level, the green areas are parts you have been to and if it is still purple coloured, then they are either undiscovered areas or the blue areas which are inaccessible. You will know when you have collected hearts, dollars as they will flash up as you collect them.

When you have collected all the items head to the right of the screen and you need to touch the "Home" logo moving up and down the screen and the level will end and you will be given the password for the next level. Each level is against the clock and the time goes down very quickly, and there seems to be no way of increasing the time, so don't hang about!

Blindfold is controlled from the keyboard, and I found the usual keys of Z,X,' and / seemed to work fine for left, right, up and down. The game reminds me a bit of an old public domain demo with the VU Bars moving up and down at the bottom and with music playing. The backdrop picture seems to be random as I've seem quite a few different ones now. Both the audio and visuals of Blindfold look and sound good and suit the game well.

Overall I quite liked this game, it's a good idea and is well implemented, if a bit short on the time to complete a level in my view. It's certainly well worth giving it a try, and hopefully this review will have shed a bit more light onto how to play the game.

Bombz

The objective of Bombz is to dispose of all of the bombs on each of the levels, then escape off the edge of the screen. The exit at the edge of the screen is not present to start with you must create it as you go through the level disposing of the bombs. If all the bombs have been disposed of and there is no gap at the side of the screen then you will have to start again.

Upon loading Bombz will install itself on the icon bar, and from here you can select a number of game options, clicking on the program icon will bring up the main screen. The program does not run in the desktop but you can press F12 from the main screen to return to the desktop.

Onto the game itself and, as mentioned previously, the objective is to clear all the bombs from the levels. This is done by collecting a detonator then move next to the bomb you want to blow up and then touching it. You will know that you have touched the bomb as the green panel on it will turn red and it will start beeping.

After a few seconds the bomb will explode destroying everything surrounding it, except for the metallic walls. If another bomb is within the surrounding area then that bomb will explode as well. This can trigger a bit of a chain reaction of explosions, so make sure you are not in the surrounding area of any bombs otherwise you will be part of that explosion!

You can push bombs around the level so that they can be placed in more useful places to blow up walls and access other parts of the level. You cannot push a bomb if you have detonator this will just blow it up, and don't collect more than one detonator at a time as you will lose the other one in the explosion.

In order to get to to the next level you need to complete the task before the time bar, which is at the bottom of the screen runs out. Upon completion of a level you will be given the password to the next one, which can be entered from the main screen. There are 30 levels of the game to complete, I've got to Level 3 so far!

The graphics of Bombz are not the greatest, but are ideal for this game and it all looks OK. On the audio side of things, there is not much in the way of sound, just some explosion noises and a noise when you move the main character around the screen.

Bombz also comes with a level editor, this is a separate program and works within the desktop. It installs on the icon bar and clicking on the program icon will bring up the editor window, there are lots of options and choices to use to create your own levels.

Overall Bombz is an OK game, it is not brilliant, but it's not a bad game either. However to be fair though the instructions do say that it is nowhere near finished but is good enough for a preliminary freeware release, and I would certainly agree with that statement, maybe there were later updated versions? Give it a try and if you find you like this type of game then I would certainly recommend giving !Marsquake a try as well.

Boogie Buggy

This is without doubt the star of the compilation, this is a game I have always liked. However it has to be said it is not the easiest game in the world to play, and can get very annoying and frustrating at times.

One of the problems in the original release was the swapping of discs - the original version was on three discs, and was not hard disc compliant. Thankfully this irritant has now been removed.

Boogie Buggy was written by development team Coin-Age and released through The 4th Dimension. Coin-Age also released a few more games for RISC OS machines, Pesky Muskrats, Gribbly's Day Out and Paradroid 2000. These games are rare now and certainly worth grabbing a copy if you see one on eBay or the like.

The storyline for Boogie Buggy is that you (Boogie) has arrived at Dodge City only to find that the Evil Monster Lord has taken control and has set about converting power-ore into evil-ore. He is using this to turn all the good in Dodge City into evil.

As his power increases he starts to turn Dodge City into a stronghold for creatures of the darkness and other evil monsters and is plotting to take control of Bumper World.

So it is up to Boogie to put a stop to these evil plans. To do this you must travel across Dodge City counteracting the effect of evil-ore in each zone, you must also destroy each of the evil Ore Conversion Plants before finally coming face to face with the Evil Monster Lord himself.

On starting the game you will see a map of dodge city displayed. The city is divided up into zones, so choose a zone and the game will now start. There are two types of level in the game, The Ore Conversion Plants - viewed from the side, and the City locations - viewed from above.

In the City locations, the object is to collect all the pieces of evil-ore (of which there are 10) and then drop them down a manhole, then move around the level and collect the next piece of evil-ore and then drop that down a manhole. The process is repeated until the level is cleared of evil and is then good again. This is represented by the Evilometer at the bottom of the screen ,it starts at totally evil and the more evil-ore you collect and dispose of the nearer it gets to being completely good again.

The key to success on these levels is to follow the arrow at the top of the screen. When it is red this is the direction to go, keep going in that direction until you find the piece of evil-ore or manhole to drop the evil-ore in, then it may change to a different direction or stay the same.

There are many bonuses to collect throughout the levels. In addition to the evil-ore there are plasters which will reduce your damage percentage, make sure you collect these at every opportunity as it is very easy to get Boogie damaged, possibly too easy. Other pick ups include extra lives, turbo boosts, and bonus points.

Also make sure you collect the chainsaw which will become attached to the front of Boogie and is very useful for disposing of evil monsters! Watch out for the banana skins which will send Boogie sliding about for a few seconds!

The Ore Conversion Plant levels are a bit more straight forward, you start at the bottom of the screen and you must guide Boogie to the top of the screen to destroy the Ore Converter. This is achieved by reaching the polarity switch, and reversing it (an idea from Doctor Who perhaps?) and then make your escape before everything blows up! When all the zones have been completed you will then enter the mine in the heart of the city and face the Evil Monster Lord and must defeat him to complete the game.

As good a game as Boogie Buggy is, it is the playability that is it's downfall, let's face it playing the game is rather difficult. Boogie easily hits things and this increases the damage percentage and it your not careful it soon goes up - so collect those plasters!

The controls are not particularly responsive and controlling Boogie seems a bit of a hassle at times. This is a pity as this really spoils the game, maybe it was supposed to be difficult, after all there is nothing wrong with a good challenge but this is something else entirely! If you can get to grips with the playability issues then this is a very good game to play, if you can't then it becomes really annoying and irritating!

Originally Boogie Buggy ran in a full screen mode (Overscan I think they were called) this mode filled the entire screen and looked really good, unfortunately newer monitors are unable to display this mode, so instead we get a squashed display which is a shame but better than nothing.

As with all of Coin-Age's games, there is a great deal of attention to the graphics. The game characters are well drawn and detailed, even Boogie, despite being a red dodgem car does look rather like a toilet when viewed from above on the City level. Still it all adds to the entertainment of the game, as with the graphics, the sounds are of good quality as well, plenty of decent tunes accompany the game along with in game sound effects.

While it is great to see Boogie Buggy available again and revived for the newer machines, it is a pity the full screen mode is lost but this a small price to pay to have it up and running again. The big bonus is the removal of disc swapping, and overall Boogie Buggy is a great game, with very good sound and graphics, but it is spoilt by the rather difficult and irritating gameplay, apart from that excellent stuff and well worth playing.

* Apologies for the poor quality screen-shots but for some reason the usual programs I used wouldn't work with Boogie Buggy for pictures, so I had to improvise instead, but you get the idea of what it looks like *

Gloop

This game is one of the clones of the game Pipemania, there are plenty of them out there, some good, some not so good, this one seems to be in the "OK" category.

The storyline for this game is that when 'MegaBigNDodgyCorp" offered little Willy (surely not Ethel's dog from Eastenders??) a work placement scheme for his gap year, it looked like a chance worth following up. A company car, expense account and the complete control of their new chemical plant.

The plant pretty much took care of itself, and there was very little to do, however one day a message on one of the terminal screens appeared saying "Warning! Main spike has corrupted cheap fail-safe software and highly corrosive gloop is spreading throughout the factory".

In order to prevent a disaster Willy must lay out sections of pipe for the gloop to run along so it does not damage the terminal or any other important equipment, if it does then it's game over for both the game and your job at "MegaBigNDodgyCorp"!

Playing Gloop is straight forward enough, you guide the cursor around the screen and when you press Return you place a piece of pipe. The panel on the left hand side of the screen shows which piece is next. This can become annoying when you are waiting for a particular piece to appear and it takes ages. The first piece should be placed in front the square with all the green stuff in it, so move the cursor up one place and then position the first piece of pipe, and then continue around the grid making a large pipe network for all the gloop to flow along, the flow of gloop will begin when the time panel on the right hand side of the screen has run out.

When the gloop starts flowing a timer on the left hand side of the screen appears and starts counting down to zero. You need to keep the gloop flowing along the pipes until it runs out. If you do then it is the next level, if you don't then it's game over. There are four groups of ten levels. After every five levels there is a bonus game to play and which will give you a password - which can be entered from the main menu to skip the earlier levels.

There a different types of pipes which are used to create the network to allow the gloop to flow. These includes standard pipe sections, curves, crossovers, a reservoir - which slows down the flow of gloop and one way pipes. Some levels have an end block which you must make the gloop flow into, for a fill list of pipe-types and illustrations of each one, see the accompanying manual on the CD.

The graphics of this game are reasonable, they do the job and are bright and colourful. Being a Pipemania type of game there is only so much you can do with the graphics, different pipe designs, and backgrounds, but they all end up looking quite similar.

The title page plays a reworking of what I think is "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - however the style of this tune sounds like it is straight out of Pigeon Street - if you can imagine such a thing!! A different tune accompanies you during the game, but there are no sound effects.

After the title page you get the game menu, this is well presented and features a number of options including, music volume level, high scores, control of the game by mouse, keyboard or if, you are using an A3010, joystick control.

I've seen quite a few versions of this type of game over the years, this one is OK, but for me Pipemania is still the definitive version. If you enjoyed playing Gloop then Pipemania is an absolute must - if you can still get it - last seen on the Krisalis Collection!

Lemings

I can't guess what the inspiration could have been for this game. Lemmings perhaps? If not then it is a remarkable coincidence! Despite the obvious similarities it is still different enough to be a whole new game. Lemings is yet another masterpiece from the legendary RISC OS games programmer Tom Cooper, and you can certainly tell it is one of his creations.

For those of you who don't know, the object of the game is to guide the lemmings from the start point on the level to the way out. This is achieved by creating a safe route through the level that they can follow to get to the exit.

To create this route through the level you have to get the lemmings to perform different tasks along the way. There are seven tasks that they can perform and they are Parachutist, Basher, Stopper, Digger, Exploder, Climber, Bridger - these are all self explanatory, so I won't go into detail here, but if you want further information on these tasks then the manual goes into a bit more depth.

As the lemmings wander aimlessly around the levels you need to make them perform a task. So, using the mouse, select a task from the panel at the bottom of the screen then click on the lemming you want to carry out that particular task. A purple arrow will appear above it's head to indicate that it is the chosen one!

The number of times you can use this task is indicated by the number next to it on the panel so don't waste them as you may find that you will be unable to complete the level.

The first level is reasonably straight forward to complete, all you need to do is make one of the lemmings dig a hole through to the the level below the platform they start on, they will all fall through and find their way to the exit, as shown in the picture below.

The second level is also easy to complete, but I'll leave that one for you to figure out. When you have created the path to safety you may want to speed up the the release rate of the lemmings so they all appear at once. This is a very useful feature as it can be annoying having to sit there and wait for them to get to the exit. You only have to save a certain percentage of lemmings on each level, some will have to die to complete the level, but as long as you reach the required percentage it does not matter how many die.

There are many things that will can kill the lemmings on their journey to the exit, they include firepits, falling from high ledges. You can also destroy all the lemmings yourself by hitting the nuke button on the icon panel as this will kill all the lemmings and end the level. If the required percentage has been reached then you will have completed the level, if not you can start the level again, each level is passworded so you can go back to where you got to last time, without having to trawl through all the earlier levels again.

Playing Lemings is very easy, the game is controlled by the mouse and the early levels are very simple and shouldn't take too long to complete, but the difficultly level increases throughout the game, I haven't completed it yet. If the later levels in the other Lemmings game are anything to go by there could be some very difficult ones indeed!

Each level is actually bigger than the screen display, so if you move the pointer to the edge of the screen it will scroll along to reveal more of the playing area.

Graphically Lemings looks good, the levels are well drawn and the levels have different backdrops and themes to keep the game interesting, there are nice little effects like the flickering flames, and explosions if a Lemming gets nuked.

Unfortunately Lemings is another game which suffers from the music running way too fast. But as ever the very useful utility !Vsync will return it to the correct speed. There are plenty of tunes to accompany the game, on the title page and throughout the game, the tunes are typical public domain demo tunes from the early 1990s, and are decent lively tunes and suit the game well. For sounds there are a number of in game noises and effects, and a sampled "Oh No!" when a Lemming is about to die, these go well with the accompanying tunes.

Overall then this is another decent game as you would except from Tom Cooper. Whilst it is a blatant copy of Lemmings, it is different enough to be a new game. If you liked Lemmings then this is definitely worth a look, if Lemmings was never your thing before then this is not really likely to appeal either.

* Please note if your version of Lemings does not have any in-game tunes playing then contact APDL for a patch which will then make them play *

Mr Matt

This game could be described as a cross between Repton and Mr Ee!, as you control a character around a maze collecting fruit (Mr Ee!) and have to avoid boulders falling down and squashing you (Repton). I theory such a game could be quite entertaining, but this however isn't.

Mr Matt is a game which runs in the desktop and was inspired by a PC game of the same name apparently. The object of the game is to guide Mr Matt around the maze eating all of the apples, and avoid the boulders which will fall and crush him if they are not supported from below.

The game is fully desktop compatible and runs in a desktop window. On loading it installs itself on the icon bar, from here is a menu which offers nothing other than info and quit, so clicking on the icon brings up the main game screen as shown below.

By clicking the middle mouse button over this game screen you will get some options which include the same info and quit options, plus the speed of the game (fast, slow, or normal) and then the level selection. There are two parts to this section, firstly which game you are going to try and then you choose which of the four levels within the game you want to play - the levels start of relatively easy and get progressively difficult.

Controlling the game is very easy, just use the cursor keys to guide Mr Matt around the maze, and if you hold down shift whilst moving in a direction he will move much quicker until he can move no further in that direction. If you get stuck press Escape to end the game, and then press Return to start a new game.

Graphically Mr Matt is nothing special at all, very simple and uninteresting, and not anything to get excited about, as for the sound well there isn't any! So you can either play in silence or listen to music of your choice instead.

Overall Mr Matt is a very basic game and is not very exciting to play either. The concept of the game is a good one, but in reality this is a dull game and there are much better variations of this sort of game about (Mr Ee! for one) it might appeal to some games players but I'll pass on this one.

Pushy

The storyline for this game is that Pushy's job is to clean up all the building sites in the land. The builders on these sites are monsters, no really they are! As Pushy is a bit on the keen side he often turns up in the middle of a job and start cleaning up building sites before they have finished. Hardly surprising the builders object to this and will chase Pushy around the building sites trying to stop him from cleaning up.

You take control of Pushy and must guide him round the building sites, of which there are 50 of increasing difficulty. I managed to complete the first level after a number of attempts but I think it was more down to luck than skill. Each level is passworded so you can return to your highest level when all your lives have been used up.

The objective of the game is to remove all of the blocks on each level, on the first level which is shown below, there are 3 purple blocks, and 3 green blocks. To remove these blocks you have to push them together into a row of 3 and then they will disappear, when all blocks have disappeared the level is complete. The blocks have to be removed in blocks of 3 which are all the same colour, 2 purple and 1 green won't do anything, they all have to be the same.

You can push the blocks around the screen, however there are 6 different types of blocks, and when you push them them they will act as follows : the grey ones will only move one space at a time, the purple and red ones will move until they hit a wall or another block and the green, blue and orange ones will bounce off any walls and blocks just once before they stop. If you are in the firing line when they are moving you will get squashed and a life is lost.

The monsters (or builders) wander around the screen and any touch with them is fatal, however you can easily dispose of them by pushing any block over them and they will be flattened, but beware as after a while they will come back to life.

Bonus tokens appear randomly throughout the level these include extra lives, points and invincibility. The levels are against the clock and when the time expires a monster will appear, he goes by the name of Dougie the foreman and he will hunt you down, the only way to dispose of him is to squash him with a moving block.

Controlling Pushy is from the keyboard using the standard Z,X,',? controls. Return is used to push a block and you also have a ball which you can throw at the monsters to dispose of them, this ball does not work on Dougie the foreman.

When you throw your ball it will stay in the place it landed so you will have to go and retrieve it so you can use it again. If you push a block which is directly next to another block it will be automatically moved to another place on the building site, this can be very useful to get the blocks together if you have got stuck. Unfortunately the block will end up in a random place so you could get lucky or be even worse off than you were before!

Graphically Pushy is nothing spectacular, but I wasn't expecting it to be. The graphics are fine as they are and suit the game perfectly, I'm sure the tune that plays during the game is the same one from the Morph game as it does sound rather familiar. There is a different title page tune and some in game sound effects.

Overall Pushy is OK, I played it a few times, and wasn't hugely impressed with it, didn't really find it that exciting, but it may well appeal to other games players out there.

There were a few problems with this game on a few CDs, if Pushy fails to load, then contact APDL for a patch to get it running.

Shovy3D

This game is a sort of follow on from the game Pushy. The storyline for this game goes as follows - Pushy has made enemies in the yards, so when his brother Shovy returns from his holidays he agrees to help Pushy cleaning up these new yards. He couldn't understand why these people - who had become Pushy's enemies - were trying to stop his from doing his job, and so the game begins.

As with Pushy, the object of the game is to clear the levels of all the blocks, but this time the game is in 3D rather than an overhead view. There are a number of different coloured blocks which each have different characteristics - the grey ones when pushed will only move one space. The green ones when pushed will continue to move until the touch a wall, the blue blocks will rebound off walls, as do the red blocks but they move faster. Finally there is the purple block this rebounds off walls as well, but it moves even faster than the other rebounding blocks.

On the first level there are only purple and grey blocks to deal with, and this level is fairly easy to complete, as with Pushy to remove the blocks you need get three the same colour in a line touching each other and then they will disappear, when all the blocks have disappeared the level is complete.

You can push blocks around the level by when you are stood next to them and facing the right direction, make sure you move out of the way if it is a rebounding block otherwise you'll get squashed and will lose a life.

There are number of level features which you need to be aware of. These include door blocks, pressure pads, barriers, stone blocks and stoney ground, the accompanying manual goes into more detail as to what these features are and what they do.

There are plenty of enemies wandering around the levels. These can be disposed of by a number of methods, the first one is by pushing a block (any colour) at them and they will be squashed by it, however this is only temporary as they will re-appear again, but you can always push another block over them again to keep them out of the way.

You also have a power ball which you can throw at the enemies. However you have to wait for it to recharge after every use. There is also a re-appearance from Pushy of the building site foreman Dougie who will appear when the level time limit has run out.

There are lot of bonus tokens which will randomly appear throughout the levels, these are worth collecting when you see them. There are ten different types and they include level jump, score bonus, enemy freeze, extra times, time stop and extra life - see the game manual for full details of all the bonus tokens.

Playing the game is very easy, Shovy is controlled from the keyboard using the usual setup Z, X, ', / and Return to push a block, and the Space Bar is used to throw the ball.

As with a lot of the games on this CD, a level designer is included to create your own levels. This one is not a separate program and can be accessed from the main game menu.

The graphics of Shovy3D aren't that great, and are not of a particularly good quality either. I seem to be saying the same thing here, but these puzzle games aren't really about superb graphics it is about whether the puzzle element is interesting and worth playing, as for the sounds theres a few tunes and in-game noises.

Overall I didn't really go a lot on this game. I didn't find it that exciting to play and also found it a bit too similar to Pushy even if it is played in 3D, with a few extra bits thrown in, personally I preferred the overhead version to the 3D one, but that might just be me. If you liked Pushy you may well like this as well, if you didn't then you probably won't like this either.

* As with Pushy there were a some problems with this game running, if Shovy3D doesn't work , then contact APDL for a patch.

SokoBas

The objective of this game is to drive the bulldozer around the maze, and push all the yellow boxes onto the blue crosses.

Sokobas runs in the desktop, and will install itself on the icon bar, there is no options menu or anything in this game, so clicking on the game icon will bring up the following screen :

This is the main game screen, and you can see the bulldozer, which is situated in the middle of the screen. There are 6 yellow boxes and 6 blue crosses, so now you have to work out the correct route to push all 6 boxes onto the crosses. That is all there really is to this game that one objective, however as you progress through the game, the challenges get harder as you would expect them to.

Sokobas runs entirely in the desktop mode, and the bulldozer is controlled using the cursor keys, there is no sound and the graphics are very basic and quite dull, although these games aren't about graphics, these still could have been a bit better.

The only other control option is if you manage to mess the level up and need to start again. when this happens click the mouse middle button over the game window and a menu will pop up with two options 'Undo' to start again, and level, or you can press "R" on the keyboard instead. From this menu you can manually change the number of the level of which there are 90.

Overall I didn't find this game particularly exciting to play, the concept of it is fine, but this is just a rather dull interpretation of it, the next game Stacker seems to be based on the same idea, and is far more interesting to play as well.

Stacker

In Stacker the objective of the game is that you have to push objects around the screen, and put each one in it's proper place.

Upon loading Stacker you are greeted by a title page which looks rather like an old public domain demo, with a scrolling starfield, vu-bars and a soundtracker tune playing. I remember this tune well, I think it was called "Aces-Hi" and still sounds good now. Also displayed here is the high score table, press Space to start or enter a password for a higher level if you have one.

The first level of Stacker looks like this :

You control the red blob, and the objective is put all the items (the ones that look a bit like ring pulls off of drink cans) onto the crosses, you move the red blob about and he will push them as he moves, once all the ring pulls are on the crosses the level is complete and you can move onto the next one.

Beware as it is all too easy too mess up a level and have to start again, there is a solution to each level which might take a while to figure out or you might work it out really quickly. Level 1 is pretty straight forward and shouldn't take too long to complete, if you do get stuck, then press Tab to start again.

Each level is against the clock, and there are some levels which you need to find the exit after you have pushed all the items into their places.

At the top of the game screen is the status bar, the red blobs indicate the number of lives remaining, your score is also shown along with the number of items which need to pushed into their place and the sound status.

Controlling Stacker is by the keyboard, and you can move the red blob left, right, up, down and can press the suicide key to start the level again should you get stuck, doing this will lose you one of your lives.

There are 6 different to explore in Stacker, these are Blockland, Dreamland, Egypt, Jungle, TimeWarp and Hell. Each of the worlds contain the same items, but the graphics change, so although things look different, it is only on the surface as they all act in the same way as before.

These worlds have 30 levels in total, so plenty of levels to keep you busy. There is also screen editor provided so you can design and create you own levels, once you've finished the supplied levels should you have the urge to do so.

Graphically Stacker is quite basic, but it does the job well. These sort of games don't really need flash and fancy graphics as that's not what the game is about, on the audio side there is music played throughout the game,but there don't appear to be any sound effects just music.

Overall Stacker is quite a good little game. The puzzle objective of the game is not too difficult to solve, the game is a cross between arcade and strategy and it works well, definitely one of the better games in the collection, and certainly worth a look.

Tilt

This game is a bit like playing Tetris on a see-saw, the main objective is to create lines of three or more of blocks with the same colour and pattern to make them disappear, and also prevent the see-saw from tilting too much - if it does then it is game over.

Playing Tilt is very easy. On loading you will see them main menu which gives a number of options which include level selection, audio options, game control options, you can play Tilt with the keyboard, mouse or a joystick, view the high scores, save game status, and begin game.

When you start a game you will see the seesaw, and a a block will start falling down towards it. Now you place the block on the seesaw where you think is the best place, the block can be moved left or right, on it's way downwards and can also rotated both clockwise and anticlockwise. This allows you to line it up to match the other blocks when they are on the seesaw to make the line of three the same, when you get three the same (or more) in a line then those blocks will disappear.

There are two objectives in the game the first one is to make a certain number of blocks disappear, this is displayed in the top left hand corner of the screen, next to your score and level number. The first level requires 30 blocks, and the amount achieved is next to the total required, it starts at 0/30 and increases as you make the blocks disappear, so you can see how far you have to go to complete the level, once the number of blocks required is reached the level is complete.

The other objective in the game is to stop the see-saw from tipping to much, if it tips too far to one side then the game is over, so make sure you distribute the block stacking evenly across the see-saw. The game will also end if you stack the blocks up too high and they reach the top of the screen.

The graphics of Tilt don't offer a great deal, but they don't need to - the different coloured blocks are all that are needed. The levels have different background images to create a bit of variety, as for the sound it is pretty non existent apart from a few noises now and then. There is a nice effect when you quit the game, as the screen splits in two with a ripping noise.

That is pretty much all there is to this game. You make the required number of blocks disappear and don't let the see-saw tilt too much! There are plenty of levels to this game, each level has a different background image. You can choose which level to start from, but after level 10 you can only begin on the highest level reached. Later levels throw in a few new challenges, with bigger blocks, a narrower balance and a randomly moving pivot to name but a few things.

The first couple of levels are quite straight forward but the difficulty level increases after that. It's all too easy to mess up a level and have to start again, it can happen so quickly, one minute your doing fine, next minute you have tilted too far and game over.

Tilt is quite a basic game, but as with Tetris it is that simplicity that makes it entertaining to play. If you liked Tetris or enjoy a good addictive strategic challenge which is not too in-depth then this is certainly well worth playing.

Compatibility

All the games should run fine on any RISC OS 4 machine, virtual or real - with or without RISC OS Select, although there were a few problems with Lemings, Pushy and Shovy3D as detailed in the article.

I'm not sure how many of the games have been updated to run on newer hardware, but Boogie Buggy definitely has and it is good to see it finally working on RISC OS 4 machines. If you have any problems with the running of the games then give APDL a call.

As for RISC OS 5 compatibility, well this is not particularly good natively as only Sokobas worked fine.

However the introduction of Aemulor Pro improves things, and the results are displayed below :

  • Atomix - The game works, but doesn't exit back to the desktop correctly, seems to lock up the machine and also there seems to be no sound.
  • Blindfold - Seems to work OK, but there is no sound.
  • Bombz - Runs perfectly with Aemulor Pro.
  • Boogie Buggy - As expected this didn't work.
  • Gloop - Seems to run OK, however there seems to be no sound.
  • Lemings - Works OK - no problems, music and sounds fine.
  • Mr Matt - This works fine under Aemulor Pro.
  • Pushy - Didn't work - got blank screen, crashed machine.
  • Shovy3D - Didn't work, got error message.
  • Sokobas - No problems, works fine.
  • Stacker - Works fine, music and sounds work fine as well.
  • Tilt - Doesn't work , gives error message.

Not a massive success really, a few worked fine, but not really worth buying for a RISC OS 5 machine - I assume the A9 Home would give similar results.

Summary

This compilation is a bit of a mixed bag really. There are some games which are entertaining and worth playing, and some which I found to be the complete opposite. The standout title is Boogie Buggy, but then this was the only one that was previously available for 25-00 and it shows it is a class above the rest, a great game shame it's a bit on the tricky side to play.

As for the other games, Lemings, Tilt & Stacker are certainly worth checking out, Atomix, Pushy, Shovy3D, Bombz, Gloop and Blindfold are OK games, and the others Sokobas & Mr Matt are rather dull and nothing more than fillers.

Not the greatest collection of games ever, but enough decent ones to make it worth a look, and the others can be regarded as fillers.

Product details

Product: Puzzle Games CD
Supplier: APDL
Price: £14.90
Address: 39 Knighton Park Road Sydenham London SE26 5RN
Tel: 0208 7782659
WWW: www.apdl.co.uk

Matthew Thompson

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