Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 2 / FEBRUARY 1983 / PAGE 88

Apple arcade games. (evaluation) David H. Ahl; Chris Vogeli.

Crisis Mountain

Crisis Mountain is fascinating, entertaining game which resembles no existing arcade or computer game. The screen is laid out in series of passageways and crawl spaces loosely resembling caves and tunnels inside a mountain. At the bottom are two bubbling, lethal columns of molten lava.

You, the intrepid explorer, start from a passageway in the upper right corner. From there, you must run, walk, crawl, and jump from one passage to another, collecting various treasures. Unfortunately, an assortment of large and small boulders eventually finds its way into the mountain.

The rocks begin rolling around in the caverns and the slopes. These boulders are quite indestrucible; when one falls into the lava pit, it is ejected up toward the top of the mountain where it again starts its treacherous descent. The boulders. Like the barrels in Donkey Kong, may be avoided by jumping over them. However, this isn't always successful, particularly if you are already in midair jumping from one section of the cavern to another.

If you are hit by a boulder while you are running, you are slowed to a walk. If you are hit by a boulder while walking, you must crawl. As time goes by, you will gradually "heal" a little bit at a time. If you can avoid further injury, you will finally be back to full strength and will be able to run again.

There are times, however, when you will not wish to be immediately restored. This is because certain of the lower passages can be traversed only by crawling. On the other hand, you cannot leap across the mouth of the lava pit without a running start. When you are at full strength, you can change your position (upright, crawl) by using the spacebar.

Your eventual goal is to dig up and defuse the timers on two boxes of TNT located within the mountain. If you have recovered the shovel, you can dig up each bomb four times faster than digging by hand. When you finally defuse each bomb, the time remaining on the bomb clock at the moment it is defused is added to your bonus time. You then start the "bonus run" in which you are free to collect supplies and loot until the bonus time runs out, until you are hit by a boulder, until you die in the lava or are bitter by Bertrum the bat.

Ah yes, Bertrum. He is a crazed, radio-active bat who flies around Crisis Mountain in pursuit of human intruders. If you manage to avoid him and collect all the supplies and loot, you enter the "Nova Mode." At this point magical stars and novae appear which are worth between 400 and 3,000 points. You begin the game with three lives. Bonus lives are awarded at 10,000 30,000 and 50,000 and points. If you manage to survive the first level with one or more lives remaining, two even more difficult levels await you.

Crisis Mountain can be played with either game paddles or joystick. While the instructions recommed the joystick, we found that game paddles were quite satifactory.

In summary, Crisis Mountain is a new and different concept that will keep you entertained and challenged for quite a long time. Serpentine

Serpentine is one of the best games ever written for the Apple. In fact, when playing, you must keep remainding yourself that you aren't at you local arcade on one of the newest games. The graphics, the animation, and the strategies are as close to arcade quality as you can get.

What makes Serpentine so special? First, it is not like any other game (arcade or otherwise). Second, it is extremely challenging at every level. Third, it is very easy to get used to, so younger players are not frustrated by low scores when learning the game.

Far in the future, large serpents rule the globe. The serpent kingdom is divided, naturally enough, into good and evil. The good snakes are blue and the evil serpents are a sickly orange. You have managed to tame a few of the blue snakes and now, astride your retilian mount, you set out to rid the world of evil.

The game arena is, appropriately enough, the streets of an ancient city, now reduced to a series of burnt out corridors.

The screen is used to display an overview of the city. On the right, is the pen from which your snake is released, and on the left is the cage for the orange serpents. The only way to destroy an enemy snake is to eat it. You must approach the enemy from behind and nibble away at his segmented body. When you have bitten off enough to make the enemy snake shorter than your snake, he will change from orange to green indicating that he is edible. At that point you can either continue your nibbling until the enemy is eliminated, or wait until you can meet him head on.

For every snake you devour head on, your blue steed grows one segment in length. The longer your snake is, the rougher he is to defeat. Eating a snake from behind will eliminate him, but will not add another segment to your snake. You can also add a new segment by devouring one of the frogs hopping around the city.

Let's see, what else is there? Oh yes, snakes also like to lay eggs. Evil eggs are spotted; your good eggs are solid white. If you eat an evil egg, you will grow yet another segment. Likewise, if an enemy eats one of your eggs, he will grow an extra segment.

There is a great deal to think about while you are playing Serpentine. This is one reason that our panel preferred the joystick over the keyboard. Often, life or death depends on quick reverse or sharp turns. With a good joystick, these turns are easy. On the keyboard, they become difficult, if not impossible.

Without doubt. Serpentine is a game worth owing. If you are in search of fun, thrills, and excitment. Serpentine is to sure to delight you. Tunnel Terror The packaging states, "while your ship moves around the circles on the edge of the dimensional tunnel, the enemy will move up the sides until they either reach the top or are destroyed by your ship's fission torpedoes. The enemy is varied as well as deadly: Walker Carriers split into two walkers upon reaching the funnel exit and will try and destroy your ship; Craziers are unpredictable and may attack upon emerging from the tunnel or retreat back into it--if you're lucky."

Tunnel Terror is similar to the arcade game Tempest.

Tunnel Terror can be played with either the keyboard or a game paddle. Each mode of play is responsive and accurate. In paddle mode, a small arrow apears on the screen when the paddle comes to the end of its sweep. This is an especially nice feature and easily prevent paddles from beging broken by "overtwisting."

Tunnel Terror is yet another winner from AI. If combines fast animation with the superb graphics that we have come to expect from all of Scott Adams's games. With 61 different skill levels, it's hard to imagine anyone becoming bored with Tunnel Terror. Wayout Sirius terms Wayout "a 3-D action maze game," and that it is. With a compass and mapmaker as your only tools, your task is to find the shortest way out of a selected maze. While doing so, you must avoid the mischevious "Cleptangle" which will delay your search by stealing your tools.

In the game, the screen is split in two parts. Roughly the upper two thirds of the screen shows the viewable area of the maze (mouse's eye view) directly in front of you. The lower portion of the screen is where your mapmaker tool draws a map of areas of the maze you have explored. The compasses in each upper corner of the screen show your direction of travel relative to the map. An odometer at the center shows the distance travelled (your score).

The Cleptangle is a playful creature which appears as a spinning rectangular form, white on the front and orange on the back. The closer the Cleptangle, the faster and louder the warning light and sound will fluctuate. If the Cleptangle catches you, it will steal your compass, mapmaker, or both.

If your compass is taken, a flashing question mark appears instead of the arrow on the compasses. If your mapmaker is stolen, no additions are made to your maze map, and it flickers. You can get your stolen tools back by catching up with the luminous Cleptangle and traping it.

When you see a door which pulsates in bright colors, you will know you have found the one and only way out. If you set a new low score for any maze, you may enter your initials and they will be saved on the disk.

Wayout can be played with the keyboard, regular joystick, or a switch-type joystick, with the Sirius Joyport.

There are 26 mazes stored on the disk. They do not vary, so if you wish to run the same maze over and over, you can try to lower your previous score. However, after finding your way through five or six mazes, it is difficult to remember which is which, hence, the game retains a high level of challenge.

The first time through, you may be thinking the operative word is frustration, rather than challenger. I, for example, had an overwhelming urge to strangle the designer, having made over 3000 moves in the second maze without having found the way out. I had drawn (with my mapmaker) the entire maze, expecting the way out was somewhere on the periphery. As a result, I had failed to examine many of the U-shaped passages in the interior section of the maze. Clue: one of them is the way out.

Other mazes are similarly devious, so examine every aspect of the area of the maze you are in before going on to a new area.

The are friendly fireflys in the maze which are supposedly blown by the wind in a constant direction. We are told in the instructions that they provide a clue to the way out since the wind sometimes blows from that direction. Frankly, after many plays of the game, I have not found the fireflys to be particularly useful. Much more useful are your compass and mapmaker which, unfortunately, are subject to theft by the Cleptangle. When this happens, it is usually wise to drop what you are doing and give chase to retrieve them as quickly as possible.

Using the joystick, it is possible to navigate around the maze at considerable speed. As you enter a new area, it is frequently useful to do this so your mapmaker can draw large portions of the maze in a short amount of time. However, when you are exploring every nook and cranny looking for the way out, it is usually better to pull back on your joystick to halt your motion temporarily while you get your bearings, look around you, and adjust your direction for the next move.

Another very useful tool is the command which allows you to save up to nine locations in the maze so you can later return to the same spot instantaneously. I usually reserve location 1 for a spot near the center and 2 through 9 for the eight compass points near the periphery.

As you can probably tell, I have now gotten over my initial desire to strangle Paul Edelstein, and now would like to thank him publicly for creating a deliciously addictive game. Phaser Fire The instructions state, "your assignment is to use the base phaser to guard the Star Portal from attacking aliens. The Star Portal provides the passage from your world to other galaxies. The alien attackers must be prevented from entering the Star Portal at all costs since the aliens intend to use this portal to further their plans to conquer other galaxies."

So far, Phaser Fire sound like most other space battle games. In fact, Phaser Fire is similar to the arcade game radar Zone. The premise is simple, blast as many aliens as you can without losing a ship. Need we say more.

Phaser Fire should be played with a joystick. The keyboard controls just can't provide the responsiveness required to navigate the waves of attacking ships.

It is always hard to describe a space game in original terms. So many popular games involve some sort of laser fighting and after a time, they just become a confusing blur. As for Phaser Fire, it is better than most space games but it is not outstanding. Your best bet is to play this one before you pay. Who knows, Phaser Fire could be just what you are looking for. Certainly it will appeal to hard-core space gamers. Laf Pak Laf Pak is a disk of four games: Creepy Corridors, Apple Zap, Space Race,a dn Mine Sweep.

In Creepy Corridors, you must guide a small animated man around a maze of corridors, picking up four treasures located in the four corners of the maze and then exiting through a door on the right side. Hampering your progress are scores of creepy things which enter the maze from the left.

You have a gun at your disposal with which you can dispatch the creepy things to Creepy Heaven. On the other hand, this isn't always the easiest thing to do since your gun shoots only in a straight line, and few of the corridors are straight and long. Thus, good planning and quick reflexes are probably of greater value in retrieving the treasure than your weapon.

As you might expect, each level becomes progressively more difficult. How many levels are there? I don't know, but certainly enough to keep you challenged for a long time.

In Mine Sweep, the entire screen is filled with big and small bombs or mines. You have at your disposal a mine sweeper which, by using the keyboard or joystick, can be made to fire in any of four directions.

A small mine simply explodes in the square it is in, while a large mine explodes itself and the eight surrounding squares. In addition, every once in a while a mine layer zooms out and lays a new row of column of mines. Each small mine is worth one point and each large mine is worth two. If you manage to get the mine layer, you earn 100 points. Needless to say, if you are too near a large mine when it goes off, it will take you with it. You have an unlimited number of mine sweepers to use within the 2000 time units.

This is a tough little game in which you must keep moving and shooting almost constantly in order to have a prayer of clearing the board. We found that play was easiest using a switch-type joystick with a Sirius Joyport.

In space Race, you use a paddle control to maneuver a small rocket from either the right or left side of the screen up through a portal in the top. Your challenge is to avoid giant bats which try to prevent you from reaching the escape portal. This is a game for one or two players, but be warned, you will find the computer an extremely tough opponent in the one-player game.

Apple Zap is a game played from the keyboard in which you attempt to shoot space ships and missiles coming at you from the four compass points. Essentially, it is the same game as Space Fortress on the Escape from Arcturus disk from Synergistic software.

All in all, Laf Pak offers a lot of game playing value per dollar, and you are almost sure to find one or more of the games on this disk to your liking. Firebird In Firebird, you assume the role of Piggo, the fearless firefighter. You must use you ladder and firehose to quench a blaze which is destroying a hotel and wreaking havoc among the guests.

The keyboard is used to control both the movement of the ladder and the ascent and descent of Piggo. To put out a blaze in one of the rooms, Piggo must be maneuvered so that he is just to the left of the fire, and his firehose must be activated. If the fire is allowed to burn for too long, the occupant of the room will panic and jump out rather than face the flames. To catch a falling victim just move the ladder to the left of the victim and Piggo will grab him automatically.

Rather than dropping your grateful passengers off on the ground, the game requires that they be taken up to the top of the building. There, a helicopter grabs them and transports them to safety.

If the game sounds pretty straight-forward so far, it is because we haven't introduced the Firebird. While you are busy saving lives and dousing fires, the Firebird, a small chicken-like creature, is starting them up again. This crazy critter runs across the top of the building leaving a trail of burning rooms behind. You can't kill the Firebird, and you can't stop him. Just try to keep up with him.

To lose the game, you must kill your three Piggos. As it turns out, this is very easy to do. If you happen to be in front of a window when a person decides to jump, you will be knocked off your ladder and fall to the ground.

Firebird is controlled with the keyboard. In a thoughtful bit of programming, Nasir has allowed for you to custom tailor the controls. By typing CTRL-C, you can redefine all keyboard controls to suite your fancy.

All told, Firebird is an entertaining, fast-paced game. While it does take some time to get used to, it is incredibly addictive once you get the hang of it. If you have always wanted to be a fireman but don't like the smoke, pick up firebird and live out your fantasy. Bellhop A bellhop's life is full of ups and downs. As the bellhop in a six-story hotel, your job is to deliver seven pieces of luggage to seven different suites. The suites are on the top floor, and each is served by a different elevator.

You run to the lobby at the bottom right-hand side of the screen and pick up a piece of luggage. Then you rush to the nearest elevator or call one (using the escape key) to take you to a suite that needs luggage. As you step into the elevator at the bottom of the screen, you are carried up to the sixth floor. You then step off the elevator, deposit the luggage, and jump back in for the ride down.

Each round of the game has a starting tip value (from $30 to $60) which counts down during play. At the end of the round, when all seven pieces of luggage have been delivered, the remaining tip value is saved. When you finish all four rounds, or run out of tips completely on any one of them, the game ends and the tip values are added up and displayed so you can see how much you have earned for all your work.

After you have completed two rounds, a new hazard appears: a sneaky little hotel ghost who starts at the bottom left and works his way across the screen. Each time he moves, you lose about $2.00 in tips. When he encounters a piece of luggage, he swipes it and returns it to the lobby. If you are smart, you can outwit him by choosing where you deliver the luggage.

There is another trick a clever bellhop can learn. Instead of riding the elevator all the way down, you can get off at the fifth floor and jump into an empty elevator shaft. You then descend twice as fast as the elevator could carry you and you don't get hurt either. And as the game progresses, you will need every trick in the book in order to hang on to your tips.

This is a fascinating little game, based on a novel concept. If you are dexterous enough, the fun never slows down, and neither do you!

We are told in the promotional information about Monster Mash "the scene is an infrequently visted gravevard that is occupied by a rather rowdy group of monsters. It is your job to keep the monsters in the graveyard and protect the visitors your new monster masher system."

Basically, your monster masher system consists of a series of gates (or turnstiles) that may be rotated to either a vertical or horizontal orientation. Monsters enter the screen (graveyard) at the upper left-hand corner and head toward an exit at the bottom right. by rotating the turnstiles between the rows and columns of gravestones, you are able to guide them into your clutches.

When one of these little devils passes by one of your monster mashers (a hinged grave stone), you simply press on a key to flip the gravestone over and crush the monster.

There are four different kinds of monster: Claws (worth maximum points when nearest the entry), smokey (worth maximum points when nearest the exit), Eggs (may be ignored with no penalty, but turn into snakes when mashed), and Snakes. Snakes are tricky and fast. They are worth three times as many points as Smokey, but also count as three monsters if allowed to escape.

Monster Mash is played only using the keyboard controls. Game variations allow it to be played with just two keys (for beginners like me) or as many as eight keys proficient players. Monster Mash is a different concept from the software Farm folks in Aurora, CO, whose farm, we hope, is free from monsters.

The packaging has a huge picture of a warthog charging down a corridor emblazoned on the cover. In large red letters are the words, "Watch Out! The Oinks are Loose!" This is all well and good, but scary warthogs have nothing to do with the game. In reality, Pig Pen is yet another variation of Pac-Man.

Instead of ghosts, you are being chased by pigs, and instead of eating dots, you are scattering them in a trail behind you. Pigs are worth 200,400, and 800 points, and can be eaten only after you have ingested one of the four pig pills located in the four corners of the maze.

In addition, an ear of corn worth 1000 points appears randomly within the maze. A joystick is a must for Pig Pen. The keyboard controls are difficult to master, and your scores will definitely suffer when using the keys.

There really isn't much to say about Pig Pen. If you already have a Pac-Man style game, it is doubtful that you will find the variations in Pig Pen worth the purchase price. If however, you haven't broken down and bought a maze game yet, Pig Pen might be for you. Sucession In Succession, you are confronted with a Pac-Man type of maze. Your creature has an antenna on top of his head and is called the Masher. Your goal is to tag other little creatures with numbers on their bodies. You must tag them in order. At the same time you must avoid a large white creature with a big mouth who is after you (the Crasher).

There is a timer shown as a blue bar at the bottom left of the screen. You must get all the little creatures, in order, before time runs out. If you touch one of the little creatures out of order, all of them reappear even if you have gotten three or four of them in the correct order.

For clearing a level or getting all the creatures in order, you are awarded 500 points. In addition, each mark left on the timer when you clear a level is worth 100 points. If there are more than 15 marks left on the timer you get a bonus of 1000 points. Complicating the maze are doors over certain passageways which open and close randomly and, every so often, an invisible door.

If you are being hotly pursued by the Crasher or you are about to touch a creature with the wrong number, you can head out through an outside tunnel. This places you at some other random spot in the maze. In general, I found this was not a good strategy since it generally took a moment or two to determine where I reappeared and, by the time I did, I was frequently in more trouble than when I started.

The game may only be played from the keyboard--a slight disadvantage if you are used to a joystick for games of this type.

Succession is not an easy game. Indeed, some people will find it a mite frustrating as I did at first. However, if you get the hang of it and clear the first level, there are three increasingly difficult levels awaiting you. Each succeeding level has one more little creature to be tracked down, and each is a bit faster than the preceding one.

In summary, if you are tired of Pac-Man and are looking for an interesting variation on the theme, Succession might just fill the bill. Laser Bounce

"Your City and Their city have been at war as long as anyone can remember. A defense wall exists between the cities--so high that the only way to attack is to bounce laser beams off satellites!

"The object of the games is to destroy the energy modules of the enemy while protecting your own.

"To attack, you fire a laser beam so. that it is deflected by a passing satellite onto an enemy energy module."

To aim your beam, you simply move the crosshairs of your site back and forth with a paddle controller. As a satellite approaches your crosshairs, you press the fire button and a laser is fired from your base at the bottom left corner of the screen toward the satellite at the upper right from which it is deflected down toward targets in Their City on the left bottom part of the screen. Needless to say, the enemy (another player or the computer) is following the same procedure against your targets in the right-hand portion of the screen.

Played against another human, Laser Bounce is interesting and challenging. Played against the computer, it is quite impossible.

There are two kinds of satellites, one of which deflects the beam straight down (perpendicular) to targets on the ground; the other bounces the beam off the satellite at the same angle at which it was aimed. The perpendicular-bounce satellite is much easier to use for aiming, however, it is not always available, so the angular-bounce satellite must be used to achieve top scores. There are three levels of difficulty; however, we cannot imagine a game above the lowest level, but it may be that my age is beginning to show. Crazy Mazey Crazy Mazey is a hunt and chase game in which you hunt treasures in your speedy little car while vicious killer cars chase you. Your only defenses against these nasty attackers are quick reflexes and careful planning.

Each of the 19 levels is laid out in checkerboard fashion with you and the killer cars able to travel along the grid lines. There are barriers at different points, always the same on each level, that impede both your progress and the progress of your pursuers. You always start off in the upper left corner and must make your way around the board picking up treasures (designated by a dollar sign), and make your way back to the upper left-hand corner which then becomes a passage to the next level. Meanwhile, killer cars are pursuing you, one on the first level, two on the second level, three on the third and so on.

On the lower levels, the cars are relatively easy to outwit, however, on the upper levels, they become more intelligent and the barriers, more numerous. I found the even numbered levels some-what easier because I could frequently lure cars into collision with each other, eliminate all cars, and then leisurely collect the treasures. On odd numbered levels this is impossible, of course, because there will always be at least one car left to pursue you.

The game may be played at any of seven speeds. When I first got the game, I pressed speed 1, thinking it was the slowest. It is not; speed 7 is the slowest and speed 1 is the fastest. After getting used to the game and working out some strategies at the slower speeds, I found it was most fun playing the game at speed 3, 4, or 5, depending upon the lateness of the hour.

Crazy Mazey can be played only from the keyboard, not a major problem since there are only four directional keys used in the game. Apple games, continused

You start with three cars and get a fourth when you get 10,000 points. You receive 100 points for each of the six bundles of cash, and 100 points each time you cause two enemy cars to collide. I found Crazy Mazey a fast paced, addictive, and challenging game best played when I was alert and could outdrive and outthink the killer cars. Money Munchers When we first got Money munchers, some of us were heard to mutter, "Not another maze game." When the mutterers went away, our play-testing panel was left with the game. Soon after, they were heard to say, "No, it is not just another maze game."

At the start of each game, a maze is randomly generated. The pathways are filled with dollar signs, each one worth one dollar. Your task is to guide an animated man around the maze picking up all this free money. But you are not alone in the maze.

each maze has four Money Munchers which look something like hand lawn mowers that also gobble up money when they come upon it. Not only that, they also hate the idea of anyone else trying to snatch a dollar, so if they catch you...poof! are eliminated.

Once the first maze is cleared of dollar signs, you move on to the next level and an opportunity to score even bigger in the money department. However, at Level II, the Money Munchers get annoyed and call in nasty little spider guardians to help them out. These spiders hover around the uncollected money and go after you when you try to collect it.

On the third and higher levels, snakes join the fray. They ignore the money, but track you relentlessly, looking for a bite to eat.

Money Munchers can be played with either the keyboard or a joystick. We found a switch-type joystick the best control for achieving high scores.

The game is quite insulting if you don't get more than $50 or $60 on the first board. However, once you accumulate $400, you get encouraging messages between boards or upon elimination of your player. You are also rewarded with a delightful graphic between screens, but don't let it lure you into a sense of complacency because the next screen will be faster and more challenging. Beware the Money Munchers! Bug Battle

So you've got an Apple and you've been reading the reviews of Centipede for the Atari computer and 5200 System with envy. Not that Apple owners didn't have a Centipede-type game available; they did. Nightmare Gallery from Synergistic and Photar from Softape are both loosely based on Centipede. Now, United Software of America brings us another game in this genre, Bug Battle.

The theme is cute. We read in the instructions that "tiny crawling pests have infested your prize winning garden. They have already devoured the tomatoes and are now heading for the main course, your carrots, peppers and lettuce.

"To insure the complete destruction of you and your garden, your jealous neighbor next door is seeding your garden with deadly Amazon Skran Weed to camouflage the release of lethal Blue widow spiders and giant flesh-eating caterpillars.

"Your quick aim of a high-energy pest killing laser is all that stands between the survival of you and your garden and being engulfed by deadly, ever-advancing bugs."

Your laser weapon can destroy weeds (not very many points, but lots of them), the spider (bouncy and fast), the ever advancing caterpillars (which enter the screen from the top and weave back and forth) and your weed-planting neighbor. Actually, he must have hired a platoon of robots to plant the weeds because the minute you eliminate one, another appears to take his place.

In contrast to the centipede game, the weed-planting robots run across the screen horizontally instead of dropping from the top down upon you. also, they are far more efficient than the mushroom-dropping fleas in Centipede. It does't take long for the garden in Bug Battle to become full of weeds. Thus, it is virtually mandatory for you to hold the firing button down as you sweep back and forth across the bottom quarter of the screen (garden).

While the instructions claim that the game can be played from the keyboard, we found this mode of play next to impossible. A joystick is a far more suitable control device for your laser.

The weed-planting robots are worth 500 points each; the caterpillar, 100 points; the spider, 50-100 points (depending on how close it is to you when shot); and weeds, 5 points each. Each shot costs you 1 point.

An additional pest-killing laser is awarded at each 10,000-point increment.

We found the best strategy was similar to that recommended for the Centipede arcade game. Namely, blast two columns up each side and keep them as clear as possible. When the caterpillar enters one of these columns and starts its downward descent, get under it and blast away. stay at the bottom through most of the game unless caterpillar segments are on the lowest level. In this case move your laser base up and wait until the segments bounce off bottom sections of the maze or weeds and start to migrate upward. Never stay in one spot for too long or the spider is sure to get you.

We found a bug in the program which occasionally causes it to hang-up at scores of 10,068 and 10,070. Hopefully, this bug was only in the pre-release versions of the software.

As in Centipede, the play value of Bug battle is very high. It is extremely addictive and was enjoyed by all members of our playing panel. Try it and good zapping! The Snapper In The snapper, you are presented with a rather unusual gridwork of lines with scoring and status information above it. You control a little creature, the Snapper, directing it about the grid. The snapper starts in the center. Toward each of the four corners are four bases. In addition, there are "blots" located randomly throughout the maze.

Your object is to eat as many of these blots as possible before time runs out. You hear a warning signal when there are 10 seconds left in the round and an even more urgent warning when 5 seconds remain. When you hear the warning, you must head for one of the bases. When you get there, the score of your blots is tallied. If you do not make it to a base in time, you start again with another Snapper, assuming you have not used them all.

Impeding your progress are "whirlers" which move around the maze on the same gridlines that the Snapper does. There is also a Gamma Field composed of undulating lines which moves at random over the entire display, similar to the Qix in the arcade game.

Not only must the whirlers be avoided, but they hamper your progress by occasionally erasing some of the grid lines. Indeed, as the game progresses, you will find they have erased so many lines that you can't even get to certain areas of the maze. Howeven, after you have collected 10 blots, a magic ring appears in the center. By going over this ring, you restore the maze to its original pristine condition.

As you progress to higher rounds of the game, some of the maze lines turn bluish green in color and become "slick." When you enter one of these lines, you travel all the way to the other end of it without being able to get off at any of the intermediate junctures. Thus, as the game progresses, more and more planning is necessary to survive and achieve a high score.

The scoring is rather complication. In essence, it provides a tradeoff between survival and high scores. If you eat only a few blots before touching a base, you will live a long time, but you will not get many points. There are ways of earning an extra life, multiplying your score, and so on. As you get the hang of the game, you'll find your score rising dramatically.

In summary, The Snapper is an intriguing, challenging game which should hold your interest for a long time. Pie-Man In Pie-Man, you are a baker's apprentice in an automated bakery. since the pies are made by machine, all you have to do is add topping (whipped cream and cherries) as the pies come out on a conveyor belt and put them away when they are decorated. Sounds simple enough, eh?

The graphics on this game are superb. When a pie comes out of the baking machine, a whistle lets out a toot, and the pie travels along a conveyor belt running from left to right.

You guide a little pie man who must rush up to the bin at the top left of the screen and pick up a tube of whipped cream, then dash down to the conveyor belt and dab or squirt the whipped cream on the pie.

You then go to the cherry bin in the top center of the screen, grab a cherry, and put it on the pie. You then take the finished pie and put it in the pie bin at the top right of the screen. By this time, another pie is coming out of the machine, and you start again.

As you proceed, flour sacks get stacked on the floor in your way and grease spots magically appear, ready to trip you up. As if this weren't enough, every so often the slightly tipsy wedding cake baker dances around with his creations and steals your pies if you get in his way. OH, yes...if you let seven pies fall to the floor at the end of the conveyor, you will be fired and the game ends.

We found it easiest to play Pie-Man with a switch-type joystick through the Sirius Joyport or with the Astar Interface. Those with coordinated fingers can play Pie-Man with the keyboard. However, eight directional keys must be controlled with the right hand while three action keys are controlled with the left.

Pie-Man is non-violent and funny, thus it is quite suitable for young children. The concept seems silly and simple. That may be, but it is also extremely addictive. Every time we said, "This is the last game," we decided to try it "just once more." We are sure you will, too.

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