Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 117 / FEBRUARY 1990 / PAGE 74




As in Tetris, the key to most cube-based games is to know what to do with pieces before they fall. In your head, you should be saying, "If I get a three-pronged corner piece, it can go here or there. If I get an L-shaped piece. I'll need to flip it horizontally to fit it there." All the time, you should prepare for contingencies.

In California Dreams' Blockout, there are three groups of shapes, and they correspond to the difficulty of the game. I'm still trying to master the second level, which uses the Basic set of shapes. In this set, you'll find two shapes that cannot lie flat. No matter which way you flip them, they take up at least two rows. Both shapes have an analogous flat shape, though: the three-piece corner shape. whenever one of these two-level corner pieces comes up, just think of it as a flat corner piece and find a place for it without worrying about the extra level.

On the other hand, there is a way to use the two-level corner shapes to your advantage. For either shape, look for a space with a two-cube hole on one level and an adjacent one-cube hole one level down.

When you get the three-pronged shape, for example, flip it once and it will fit neatly into a space with a one-cube hole that's one level down from two cube holes that meet diagonally. The new piece turns that area into a tidy rectangular box.

I still can't master the hardest group of cubes. They take up more than two levels, and it's so easy to block off several rows at a time. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Heidi E. H. Aycock

Chapel Hill, NC

Art of War

In Brøderbund's The Ancient Art of war, armies are composed of three different types of soldiers: archers, barbarians, and knights. The most important lesson is to learn what each type of soldier is good for. Archers are good at picking off slow-moving knights. A knight's armor and sword makes him effective against barbarians, while the swift-moving barbarians are the best choice for eliminating enemy archers.

If you find an enemy army composed of a single type of soldier, try forming an army composed of the best type of soldiers to fight against that type. For example, if you spot an enemy army composed entirely of knights, split off archers from your armies and form them into a separate army; then send it against the enemy knights.

The formation of an army is important to its combat effectiveness. Be careful of the terrain as well—troops fighting uphill are at a serious disadvantage.

You can fill a hole and clear a level if you rotate your block before you drop it.

Fighting with mixed units requires careful planning. If your army of knights and archers is opposed by an enemy army of knights and barbarians, don't just rush to the attack. Instead, order only your archers to attack. This will eliminate many of the enemy knights. When the enemy barbarians approach, order your archers to back off and then let your knights attack.

Keep a close eye on the condition of your troops. Fatigue has a drastic effect on an army's performance, and if your troops are too tired, they may choose to surrender rather than fight. A good food supply is an absolute must. Capturing a town supplies your men with food, while denying it to the enemy.

Brandon Alexander

La Crosse, WI

Mansion Maniacs

Here are some tips on how to get out alive when playing Lucasfilms' Maniac Mansion. You'll have to lift weights before you can open the garage and the grass-covered grating near the steps at the front door.

To get the radio out of the swimiming pool, you have to turn on the water valve at the end of the hallway of pipes, which is located below the grating. But be careful—if you leave the water valve on too long, the mansion will blow up. If you push the red button on the wall of the pool, it will blow up. too!

Diane Sides

Kernersville, NC

On a Quest

Here are some clues to get you through the tougher spots in Sierra's King's Quest III.

If you can, avoid the Wizard. But if he tells you to do a chore, do it. Explore the countryside while the Wizard takes a journey, but be careful, as he will soon return. Watch your back while exploring here.

Go into the Wizard's office, move a book, and pull the lever. A trap door will open. Kick the cat out of the way, search the shelves, and take everything.

The porridge will come in handy when you're trying to get rid of the Wizard.

Dragons are easier to kill when they can't see you. And you'll need to brew up a storm to save the princess.

Chad Stone

Winston-Salem, NC

If you have game tips and shortcuts of your own, we'd like to hear from you. Send your tip, no matter how brief, to COMPUTE! Feedback, P.O. Box 5406, Greensboro, North Carolina 27403. If we publish your suggestion, we'll send you a gift.