July 1993 - Rascals, Scud, Mergee

Whoa hey, happy tenth anniversary Gazette! As the editor's overview points out. There's a review of the history of C=64, barely older than the magazine but quickly its star.

The magazine is looking the worse for the wear though - besides the vast compression (and lack of art) that happened when it became embedded, now many of the ads look rather homebrew, and sometimes ad space is filled with charity ads.

With that the magazine is taking a cue from its parent magazine and turning to "The Public Domain" for some of its value-add with a new "PD Picks" section. (Hm, come to think of it this is also the era of "postcard-me-ware" and what not as celebrated at my favorite hobbyist game-making site Glorious Trainwrecks) I'm making the editorial judgement not to review these games (in general; maybe if one seems super amazing I might throw it in as a bonus.) I was on the fence than I couldn't figure out how to get the C-128 to switch over to 80 column mode for one of them, and I think in general shareware review goes beyond what I want the scope of this blog to be. I guess maybe I will mention what games were included: this month they were Odin for the 64 and Astra Invasion 3 for the C128.

Rascals - Bob Broderick

I like the creature design in this, probably the best little menagerie since the Crossroads games. A critical difference though - here the difference between the beasties appears to be only skin deep, each is just randomly meandering across the board. The mechanic is fairly clever - you (using I J K M rather than the joystick) have to push boxes around to trap the rascals, each in a single space. (The boxes work like you might expect, pushing one against another then moves both around) However, the non-aggressive behavior of the critters works against this game, because it is just random, so there's potentially a lot of waiting around hoping one gets the idea of moving into place. I think the mechanic might be ripped off an Atari ANTIC magazine game (maybe just with one "seeking" monster) but it's hard to know what programmer saw what, so I'll give it a 4 out of sympathy and empathy... I remember designing little character graphic critters for a similar game that I never made. Rating:4/5

Scud - William F. Snow

A not entirely clever country capitals drill game... one screen announces that missiles have been launched at a specific country, and you get a multiple choice of 3 to pick what the capital of that is, then this little PETSCII animation shows your success or the carnage. At least I assume it shows your success... even double checking with Google I couldn't get a correct answer registered. Rating:2/5

Mergee - Robert Quinn

Oh good lord, I cannot deal with a game as nerdy as this "Only on Disk" bonus right now. You move this U-looking thing around the screen trying to push like numbers together so they go away, but there are all these arcane rules and jumps and penalties and I don't even know. (Hint, when the paltry description in the magazine itself (vs the on-disk docs) says "The rules are simple, but there are a few surprises waiting for you that'll make Mergee almost as frustrating to play as it is entertaining" consider something else for your gaming pleasure...) Rating:2/5

No comments:

Post a Comment