Game Pack Review.
In the past months I have posted an e-mail asking:
"Would any interested Psion Organiser II - CM, XP or LZ users, please, contact me if they have any programs which they have written or acquired for these excellent machines, and would benefit others who still make use of their Psions."
In one of the replies I received GPACK for the from one user, and to say I was stunned by the quality of this program collection would be a huge understatement!
GPACK (short for Game Pack), as the name
suggests consists of more than one program - four programs in fact!
Contained with in the package are four games. Four games, each of which is a classic in its own right:
|QUAD||a sideways variation on the Tetris theme.|
|PAC||multi-level Pacman-type game with scrolling display.|
|BREAK||a sophisticated breakout-type game with multiple tiles and pixel-accurate graphics.|
|TILES||Mac-style sliding puzzle.|
General controls - all four games use the arrow keys to move pieces or move around the playing area. Note that for convenience the C key can also be used as an alternative to the down arrow.
Sound - select whether
you want sound effects or not by pressing Y or N while the opening message for each game
|QUAD:||The idea is to build walls using the falling brick shapes. After a while the ground will rise and consume any partly-built walls. Note: use the MODE key to force the next brick down without demolishing the wall - the higher the wall you can build before demolishing it, the more points you will get - this is the way to get really high scores.|
|PAC||Simple rules: eat the dots (and fruit bonuses) and avoid the ghosts. If you eat a 'power pill' you can chase the ghosts and eat them for a while. The more you can eat in one go, the higher your score will be. On higher levels there are also transporters and mystery squares, and things get much harder.|
|BREAK||The scrolling display makes things harder. There are plenty of different tiles to contend with, so just try them out to see what they do. There are plenty of different levels too.|
|TILES||this is exactly the same as the simple sliding tile puzzle that comes with the Macintosh.|
High Scores - Please note that high
scores are saved in the top four calculator memories
(since these are seldom used, this is a convenient store location).
What is GPAK like?
As I mentioned earlier; "To say I was stunned by the quality of GPACK would be a huge understatement!" Somebody has gone to a lot of trouble to perfect four excellent games, games, some of which, I though would not have been possible, bearing in mind the limitations of the Organiser display. I said somebody has gone to a lot of trouble because there is no information contained in the programs regarding an author other than (c) sss402 - rather anonymous wouldn't you agree?
Recently the author has contacted us, and he is Mick Andon. He has very kindly allowed us to keep gpack on our site, and has even also donated another of his games, Racer, a neat competitive racing game which is now also available from our ftp pages.
Is the pretty standard form of Tetris which has been implemented in a fairly simple, but effective way:
The blocks side from left to right across the screen. The up & down keys are used to position the blocks and the left & right keys to rotate the blocks, the MODE key is used to force the next brick down without demolishing the wall, gaining more points - this is the way to get really high scores.
I must admit the only complaint I have is the speed at which the blocks move, they are just too fast! However, after a while one becomes accustom to the speed and higher and higher scores are soon, easily, achieved!
Is the old favourite Pacman game, which, again, is put together in an excellent fashion:
Pac is in every way the tradition game; standard Pacman, ghosts, power-ups & fruit bonuses. The left, right, up & down keys are used to direct Pacman around the maze collecting the pills, fruit and power-ups, also there are the usual left & right transporters.
I found the Pac to be as adsorbing in every way as the original - it was, and still is, very hard to put down once you start playing.
I found one problem which can only be attributed to the Organiser display limitations: not being able to see the whole play area allowed me, on some occasion, to move directly into a ghost, the only way to overcome this problem would be to allow the screen to scroll as you moved but to always have one character position between Pacman and the edge of the display.
All in all, an excellent version of the game.
Break is a fast moving version of the favourite; referred to by many names but usually Break-Out:
I must apologise for continually repeating myself; but again I was totally overcome with nostalgia finding Break totally adsorbing and incredible fun to play. The only keys need to play are the up & down cursor keys. The Organiser's display limitations have been shown, yet again, as no excuse to stop the classic games being played on it!
The only problem I found was probably my bad judgement of where the bat had to be to successfully hit the ball every time.
Break is dam good fun!
Tiles is probably the simplest of the four games to be transfer over to the Organiser, why I haven't thought of coding it before now, I don't know:
The idea is to rearrange the letters in the, four characters square, grid, using the cursor keys, into alphabetical order against a time limit. I found this version of the tiles game reasonably interesting but must admit to being more of a fan of faster moving groups of pixels on screen.
This is a good extra game to relax and play.
GPAK is an absolute must to download. The overall quality of the games is outstanding. Bearing in mind the limitations of the Organiser LZ display, I believe the author of this suite of programs to have done a marvellous job.
Many hours of fun can be had from playing these games, I am only, bitterly, disappointed that I know-not-who wrote the package - I would love to be able to contact the author to find out if he/she has any other gems tucked away, although I must admit to being mildly concerned as to if this might be a commercial package - if you know this is so please contact me immediately.
Download - GPak.zip