Altered Destiny PC Review

Altered Destiny offers solid puzzle gaming for adventure fans and a number of problems that keep it from being on par with the classics of the genre. As evidenced by the introduction sequence, Altered Destiny strives for a wacky humorous effect that, after the opening, seems to be only sporadically humorous, as if the developers forgot their original premise. Likewise, the storyline isn’t particularly interesting as, starting from the cliché setup, the story never really manages to captivate you. As a result, you play to get to the next puzzle instead of trying to see what happens next.

Nevertheless, Altered Destiny’s puzzles are quite good and go a long way towards making up for the so-so storytelling. The puzzles are difficult and don’t all rely on the “take object A to location B and use it” mold. They are logical. Enough so, that when you do finally figure out the solutions, you don’t feel like the game is cheating you by requiring unwarranted leaps of logic.

And the game’s text parser is remarkably versatile, with few instances where the parser is unable to interpret what you typed. In most cases, when you enter input incorrectly or when the parser doesn’t understand your command, it will come up with some sort of suggestion to help clear up the meaning.

This does come with a price, however, as the parser sometimes tries to guess your intentions. Typing in “look at thing” will result in the response “I don’t see the strange sign.” Trying to look at a device or contraption will result in similar results for the silencer and the machinery. This tendency to give away the identities of important objects is a bit disappointing, but not terribly damaging to the game’s fun factor.

The reason you have to use the word “device” or “contraption” to interact with items in the background is because the artwork isn’t particularly good, and the game suffers from washed out coloring. More than once, you’ll find yourself looking at something in the background and wondering about its identity. If the description of the room doesn’t give you any clues, you have to guess until you come up with a noun close enough for the game to respond.

Additionally, the game’s sound and music, while not hampering gameplay like the graphics, doesn’t really help it along either. The songs are filler music — short note sequences played repeatedly so the game can have sound playing in the background. After you quit, you’ll be hard pressed to remember any of the tunes.

In conclusion, Altered Destiny has the same gameplay as Sierra’s King’s Quest and Space Quest without the charm. If you’re a fan of the genre, play it after the classics. If you’re not a fan, playing Altered Destiny probably won’t change your mind.


Poorly drawn and colored graphics sometimes make it difficult to tell what you’re looking at.


Forgettable music and sound effects.


Lots of interesting puzzles are difficult but quite logical.

Replay Value

After you beat the game, the only reason to replay would be to explore every nook and cranny for the points.


Basic documentation explains gameplay.

Pong 1972 Action Game

The first commercially successful arcade video game, Pong was created by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and refined by his employee, Al Alcorn. The cabinet housing the game has two analog rotary controllers for maneuvering vertically moving paddles located on the left and right hand sides of the screen. Pong is a two-player competitive game, allowing one player to control the left paddle while the other controls the right. The object of this immeasurably influential game is to rebound the ball back and forth across the screen, and, as the simple instructions on the cabinet dictate, “Avoid missing ball for high score.” The point at which the ball strikes the paddle determines the angle of the ricocheted ball, and the longer the ball stays in play, the faster it travels. Less complicated than Computer Space, a Nolan Bushnell creation from a year earlier, Pong was immensely popular, spawning countless spin-offs, rip-offs and home renditions. The game remains a pure test of one’s skill and is one of the best two-player simultaneous games of all time.

Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel Review

The coppers. We all say we hate them. Whether it’s getting a speeding ticket or being pelted with tear gas, we bemoan their “necessary evil”-like existence. Yet we have literally dozens and dozens of movies about the police, hundreds of cop shows on television, and thousands of novels about those boys in blue. So with Police Quest: In Pursuit Of The Death Angel, we also now have a computer game about those guys. But we hate them, right?

In they first big wave of Sierra On-Line’s 3-D adventure games, they started to cover all of the most common genres: they had fantasy covered (King’s Quest), they had science-fiction covered (Space Quest), so the next logical step was to go for the modern-day “simulation.” Of course this would mean the creation of the long line of the games of Police Quest. More to the point, it’s good to see that while it is weak in some key areas, Sierra managed to keep up with the quality and popularity of their other flagship titles with this first installment of an entirely new series.

Here in the first game, the narrative takes place in the fictional city of Lytton. The player follows the career of a street cop by the name of Sonny Bonds who will go from arresting drunk drivers to stopping bar-room brawls to taking down an infamous drug lord by the name of — you guessed it — “The Death Angel.” For the most part, this increasing succession of tasks works well for an opening game, as it helps newcomers basically start from the ground up, but also keeps most other parties interested by adding the level of complexity and danger with each following “incident.”

One of the game’s first major strengths is how it creates a fictional city that you care about. Yes, the outside streets looks essentially like a street map with moving squares for cars. Though it’s how they move around and surround real locations you visit throughout the game that still creates an atmosphere of a “buzzing” city. By the end of the game, you’ll know where the city’s park is, where City Hall is, where you can get fed up, turn on your siren, and burn through the slowest red lights. It’s not really the graphics that cause much to be impressed by (although how they made the drunk walk is still quite amusing), it’s how they made it work to create a world you can explore and interact with no matter how much suspension of disbelief it may sometimes require.

As for the details, the rigid following of police procedure creates a textbook collection of “requirements” to get past: it makes sure you shower, it makes sure you talk to suspects the exact, correct way, it makes sure you call for backup at the right time, and so on. This is a decent idea for a “realistic” 3-D adventure game, but it can get in the way of entertainment sometimes. For example, getting a big tip near the later portions of the game, you can actually end your game by running out to try and nab a bad guy A.S.A.P. only to learn that you forgot to “inspect” your car before you left so it conveniently had a flat. Near the earlier parts of the game, this procedural feel to the game makes sense and is actually quite interesting in its own way. But by the time the game nears its ending, nit-picking on these comes across more as pedantic than actually worthy of real adventure game puzzles.

The tone is another matter. PQ is also probably one of the few Sierra adventure games that tried to avoid humour more than others. King’s Quest may have a whimsical nature, Space Quest may have a sarcastic nature, and the Leisure Suit Larry games may be lewd, but Police Quest seemed to want to create an entertaining game without so many setup-and-punchline jokes. There’s still comic relief. The entire “squad prankster” sub-plot helps, the aforementioned drunk works (yes, in this day and age, drunks are still funny), the chronic bather is an amusing element. Though it’s much, much less than the usual Sierra game of this early era. Overall, there’s a nice give-and-take between rigid realism and cartoonish jokes. However, the shift between “realism” and “humour” only goes so far in a game like this. While comparing the technology level of the game against later, more photo-realistic installments isn’t entirely fair, there are other things that take you “out” of the game and harm the experience. The most obvious has got to be the game’s writing. The plot is fine, the can’t-get-past-one-point-until-one-action-is-completed elements are understandable in an adventure game, but it’s the dialogue that causes the most problems. This is more or less a “family-oriented” take on the police force, that’s true (no swearing, no nudity, basically nothing you’d see on Cops). Although this doesn’t excuse the game for having dialogue that is often quite simplistic or sometimes unintentionally funny. Put it this way: the game’s worst dialogue can be summarized by your character’s hooker-soon-to-be-girlfriend. Her name (and I’m not making this up) is “Sweet Cheeks,” and she seems stuck by saying the astounding, “Oh, Sonny!” no matter what you say to her. It doesn’t help that you essentially have to dress up as a blaxplotation “pimp” for undercover work near the end of the game too. Just like some of the dialogue, this is amusing, but it sure does shave off another layer of realism the game could’ve maintained as it did in later installments.

It is the first game of a series, so there was bound to be some awkwardness here and there. The rest of the game is solid, entertaining, and quite immersive. The designers took a new approach to conventional adventure game puzzles by adding in the police procedural element into it, and while this works in a hit-or-miss kind of way, it’s still an interesting mix that keeps you wanting to finish the game instead of sleep for many nights in a row. So if the game can falter with some over-extended “by the book” lessons and quite a lot of bad dialogue, it still succeeds in so many other areas of an adventure game to warrant praise. It’s well worth studying up on the documentation before heading out onto the square-buzzing city. There is — indeed — much enjoyment to be gained out of PQ. After all, at the end of the day, the lesson is learned: if we hate cops, at least we sometimes still love to act like one.


Effective environments and relatively realistic locations.


Sound is rarely used, but it mostly works for the game. There are moments of annoying bursts of music, but those are few.


Rigid following of police procedure might go too far sometimes, though the overall scope of the game is very entertaining.

Replay Value

With such a “live,” fictional city, at least another play is warranted to see if other solution paths can be found, but the dialogue will keep one away after that.


Extensive police procedure is found in the manual (also a form of copy-protection), which actually adds to the realistic nature of the game’s tone rather than detracts from it.

King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown Review

Ugh. King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (VGA REMAKE) is a game that never should have been made. Sierra On-Line, in an attempt to revitalize it’s line of Quest games created King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (VGA REMAKE) among others, and the project was quickly dropped and scrapped. This is probably a good thing, because the remade games weren’t really a step ahead of their originals. If anything, they were a step backward.

King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (VGA REMAKE) really doesn’t look much better than Quest for Glory 1 (which, also had a ‘remade’ version of it as well) and really killed the essence of the original EGA title. Also, a puzzle was changed in the remade version because some had complained it was far too hard to complete. Other than that, the game is essentially the same as the original King’s Quest 1 EGA.

Classic Sierra On-Line titles such as King’s Quest, and Police Quest are great, but it is dismaying and disappointing to find out their intentions of ‘revamping’ and ‘rereleasing’ these games.

In all, by making King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (VGA REMAKE) Sierra may lose some fans, after previously earning the respect of many by shelling out quality titles that were always a step ahead of their time (the original King’s Quest 1 was the first EGA computer game).

I’m just extremely grateful these projects were not successful, or we’d be seeing a huge surge of revamped classics.. No!


Mediocre.. nothing to write home to mom about.


Again, medicore. Not worth buying By making King’s Quest 1 : Quest for the Crown (VGA REMAKE) all over again for.


Essentially, same as the original King’s Quest 1 but with one great puzzle removed (some complained it was too hard).

Replay Value

Definately replayable.

KLAX Review (1990 Atari Lynx Game)

Klax is an idea that sounds dumb at first but is actually fun. In fact it’s so much fun that you could almost forget Tetris while blissfully playing through it.

Many titles in the genre have used stacking objects as a basic premise, but Klax comes up with something so classy and stylish that it deserves to be recognized as being one of the premier puzzle games in existence. The Atari Lynx version of Klax in particular manages to adapt itself to the system so well that it becomes a high watermark for all other Lynx games to strive for.

Klax calls for gamers to turn the Lynx sideways, with the D-pad on the bottom and the buttons on top. It’s an odd way to hold a system, but after awhile it gets comfortable. And it gives Klax a chance to use the longer part of the screen to display tiles from further away.

The gameplay itself is brilliant. You can start off on the easiest levels forming basic Klaxes, but as you progress through levels you’ll be confronted with more difficult challenges like forming diagonals. You could always try to go for the big score and do multiple Klaxes at once, at the risk of flooding your bin.

Like Tetris Klax gives you an apparently simple underlying premise that turns into a very complex and strategic game. But in some ways Klax offers even more depth than Tetris. A four-line block in Tetris is relatively easy to set up for the experienced gamer, but the more complex and rewarding formations in Klax are monstrously challenging.

The graphics are, in a word, elegant. Klax doesn’t have flashy visuals or effects anywhere, but it actually works better that way. The game is all about subdued classiness, and the graphics are just one aspect. The tiles are all cleanly drawn and colored, and well animated for the flipping sequences.

Klax’s elegant minimalist approach to sound also reinforces its stylishness. During the game there’s no music, and you just hear the sound of tiles dropping down. When you complete a Klax, you’ll be rewarded with a short note sequence. After each level the game applauds you, then prepares you for the next level with a high quality voice clip.

Playing Klax is sort of like taking part in a golf or billiards tournament, in that no one wants to say anything to disturb your concentration while you’re working. But the gameplay is much more enjoyable to gamers at large, rather than being a niche market title.

If you have a Lynx and intend to use it, Klax should be at the core of your gaming library. If you enjoy puzzle games at all you’ll be completely addicted to it, the way you were when you first came across Tetris. Even if you’re just a casual player, it’s hard not to be drawn into the deceptively simple gameplay.


Stylish and elegant graphics throughout.


Taking the minimalist approach with sound effects and music actually works for Klax.


Klax is one of the most addictive games you’ll come across, and the Lynx version is one of the best in terms of enhancing the system it’s on.

Replay Value

You’ll never bored of Klax’s complexities.


The manual explains the scoring system as well as various techniques for forming Klaxes.

Kickle Cubicle NES Review

Kickle Cubicle is a clever puzzle game that combines action elements from Pengo with brainteaser-oriented levels similar to those of the Adventures of Lolo series. Kickle is a cherub-faced snowman who is skilled at deep-freezing enemies and kicking them around. He makes use of this special ability to create floating paths of ice by kicking his frozen foes out onto the water. The strategic placing, kicking and replacing of blocks makes up the heart of the gameplay. Forging paths to otherwise inaccessible areas of the screen allows you to collect magic bags, which in turn allow you to advance to the next level. The graphics are basic but colorful and cartoon-like, and the sounds effects are sufficient for a puzzle-oriented game of this nature.

Asteroids (video game)

Asteroids is an arcade space shooter released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. and designed by Lyle Rains and Ed Logg. The player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically traversed by flying saucers. The object of the game is to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while not colliding with either, or being hit by the saucers’ counter-fire. The game becomes harder as the number of asteroids increases.

Speedball Overview (Commodore 64/128)

Speedball is a fast-paced, violent sport of the future. Each game takes place inside of a steel-walled arena which contains a ball launcher, 2-4 bounce domes, two goals, and two warp tunnels. Players wear armor as they toss around a steel ball at rapid speeds. The objective is to score more goals than your opponent in three minute matches.

During matches players can grab power tokens and cross power tiles. Power tokens are essentially money which allow a player to “cheat” before or after a match. Available “cheats” include: bribe official, extra stamina, bribe timer, bribe trainer, extra skill, reduce stamina, extra power, reduce skill, bribe ref, and reduce power. Power tiles provide instant advantages from freezing the opponent’s complete team (except the goalie) for nine seconds to gaining possession of the ball.

Speedball can be played as a one-player knockout, two-player game, or a one-player league. Knockout is a playoff system consisting of a maximum of ten rounds that must be won in order to win the championship. League play allows you to select from a 10 to 100 week season. After the season the top teams advance to the playoffs as they attempt to win the Blood Bowl.

F-Zero Overview (1990 racing game)

F-Zero is a futuristic racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) . The game was released in Japan on November 21, 1990, in North America on August 23, 1991, and in Europe in 1992. F-Zero is the first game of the F-Zero series and was one of the two launch titles for the SNES in Japan, but was accompanied by additional initial titles in North America and Europe. It was re-released for the Virtual Console service on the Wii in late 2006, and Wii U in early 2013.