FIVE GREAT GAMES FOR
THE APPLE COMPUTER
BY DAVID H. AHL AND CHRIS VOGELI
Serpentine is one of the best games ever written for the Apple. In fact, when playing, you must keep reminding yourself that you aren't at your 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 reptilian mount, you set out to rid the world of evil.
The game area 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 reverses 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 owning. If you are in search of fun, thrills, and excitement, Serpentine is to sure to delight you. -CV
Laf Pak is a disk of four games: Creepy Corridors, Apple Zap, Space Race, and 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 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 or 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.--DHA
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 somewhat 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.
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.--DHA
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 tunnel exit and will try and destroy your ship; Crazies 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 appears on the screen when the paddle comes to the end of its sweep. This is an especially nice feature and easily prevents paddles from being broken by "overtwisting."
Tunnel Terror is yet another winner from Al. It 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.-CV
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. However, 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 complicated. 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.-DHA