Klax review - Sega Megadrive
It's the arcade puzzle game second only to Tetris in the best-puzzle-game-ever stakes. It's the game that had thousands of cool, Pepsi-drinking Californians super-glued to coin-op cabinets. It's Klax, the tic-tac-tile game requiring skill, genius and cunning amongst other things.
The aim of Klax is simply to klax. You klax by creating klaxes. As you'll see from the screenshots the game is set on a 3D ramp. Different coloured tiles roll along the ramp, and it's your job to collect these tiles and arrange them in the bin below the ramp. A klax is a just three (or more) tiles of the same colour placed in a straight line. The straight line can be either horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Once a klax has been created, the tiles vanish, enabling you to fill up the bin with even more tiles in pursuit of more klaxes.
The game itself is divided up into 99 waves, and each wave has a different objective. For example, on wave one, you just have to complete three klaxes before moving onto wave two. Later things get more difficult. For example, you may have to survive a tide of 100 tiles, or clock up 10,000 points to progress. Once you've completed wave 99, the game is won.
You aren't permitted to let any of the tiles fall off the ramp without you collecting them with your paddle. You're only allowed to let three go over before the game ends. Reach a warp wave, though, and your tile-count is cleared.
However, real Klax-perts couldn't care less about completing wave 99. Apparently the real test in Klax is in amassing as high a score as possible...
What the Mean Machines staff thought
I played the imported Japanese Megadrive version of Klax last year and came away disappointed - the control method lacked precision and made playing the game unnecessarily difficult and frustrating. Expecting this official UK version to be exactly the same game, I feared the worst, but found myself pleasantly surprised. Domark/Tengen have tweaked it and made the control method far more responsive and accurate. The end result is an addictive arcade puzzle game which tests your reflexes and hand-to-eye co-ordination to their limits. I really enjoyed playing it, and although it mightn't appeal to every Megadrive owner, anyone who's after something other than platform or blasting action should definitely check it out.
Let's get one thing straight. This isn't the same as the Japanese import version of Klax by Namcot. Tengen themselves have stepped in and completely reprogrammed the Megadrive version, improving the gameplay and graphics no end. So why aren't I raving like hell over this? After all, Klax is my all-time favourite puzzle game. I'm afraid the answer lies in the control method. Sometimes, when you're in a rush, the joypad just isn't sensitive enough. It can't be down to the hardware - the PC Engine version responds brilliantly. This lack of sensitivity really is a pain, resulting in many frustrating deaths. That said, if you're after a version of Klax for the Megadrive, go for the official English one over the Japanese import. It's far closer to the arcade, but I still get the nagging feeling it could have been better.
Have your say about this review
Laurie - 09 Sep 2008, 09:10 GMT
It must have been a difficult assignment to develop a new Tetris type game. The temptation to incorporate the Tetris control method must have been enormous, not to mention the inevitable comparisons with the original masterpiece. To their credit, Tengen assimilated the basic gameplay of rearranging falling blocks but little else, resulting in an original screen puzzle game that, although ultimately falls shy of Tetris (particularly on the original GB or Colour GB but no shame there), amazingly gives the seminal game a run for it's money. As Jazza points out, this Megadrive version is actually a brilliant version and well worth playing.
Dan - 31 Mar 2009, 10:50 GMT
One of those games that was probably very good, but that I was too crap at to have any patience with. Chuck me a shoot em up n I'd have it nailed on hard that day, but games like this messed with my Spider sense.