Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade 3D Maze Game
Authors : Ian Collinson
Standalone Release(s) : 1989: PERPLEXITY, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : 1991: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 16, Superior/Acornsoft, £12.95
Stated compatibility : Electron Side A, BBC Side B
Actual compatibility : As stated.
Supplier : SUPERIOR/ACORNSOFT, 3 Manor Drive, Scawby, Brigg, NORTH
LINCOLNSHIRE DN20 9AX
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
The objective of the game is to complete all sixteen screens in sequence without using passwords. To complete a screen, you must collect all the diamonds on that screen. Some diamonds are available immediately, but most are obtained by pushing two boulders together.
Some boulders have question marks on them. These convert into one of the four mystery objects below. An HOURGLASS increases the time remaining by 50 seconds. Four MAGIC POTIONS give an extra life. A BONUS SCORE gives 500 extra points. A KEY SWAP reverses two or all of the movement keys. These mystery objects do not have to be collected to complete a screen.
There are also black boulders, which cannot be converted into diamonds, but are obstructive. Keys are pushed into doors to open them, but they must be facing in the correct direction (either left or right). Monsters prowl around some screens. Contact with a monster leads to loss of life. You start with four lives and with 500 seconds to complete each screen.
Each of the sixteen screens has a password, which is displayed at the start of the screen. To start a new game at a screen which has been previously reached, press the P key on the title screen, and enter the password.
MYSTERY OBJECTS: Hourglass, Magic Potion, Bonus Score, Key Swap
Z ....................... Move Left X ...................... Move Right
? ....................... Move Down * ......................... Move Up
SHIFT-P ................ Pause Game SHIFT-O ............... Resume Game
ESCAPE ............. Restart Screen SHIFT-ESCAPE ............ Quit Game
SHIFT-Q ................. Sound Off SHIFT-W .................. Sound On
Instructions' Source : PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 16 (Superior/Acornsoft) Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Stand Aside, Repton"
How could the ever-popular REPTON series, with its combined puzzle and arcade action elements, be improved upon? The answer is PERPLEXITY, which could be described as a 3D version of REPTON.
When I first saw the cassette inlay I thought of Pacmania on an Archimedes. That's just a 3D version of SNAPPER, and while that's fast and colourful, PERPLEXITY shows that good games can be produced on the Electron and 32 bits are only and advantage, not a necessity.
In PERPLEXITY you wander around sixteen screens collecting diamonds, some of which are visible while others are formed by pushing two boulders together. Collect all the jewels on one screen and you move on to the next.
It sounds easy, but accidentally pushing one rock against a wall could mean going back to the start. On several occasions I wished I'd had a pull option as well as the push one! To add to your problems, a few monsters are lurking around.
Most of the boulders form diamonds when pushed against another but some, identified with a question mark, are mystery ones and form four other objects. They are positioned at different places in each game, so even if you know a particular screen well, you could still run into trouble.
While you must collect all the diamonds to complete a level it's up to you whether you collect the mystery objects which are created. Three of the four are useful but the other should, wherever possible, be avoided.
One certainly worth collecting is an hour glass which gives you extra time. With only 500 seconds to complete each screen, this is a welcome bonus.
Extra lives - always useful - can be obtained by collecting four bottles of the magic potion which are sometimes formed when the mystery boulders touch.
Don't collect the key swap object unless it's blocking your way and you have no option. Sometimes they swap the actions of all four keys, at other times they only swap two.
If you're forced to collect one you can look for another and, if you're lucky, it may reverse the original swap. I found that in the majority of cases all four directions were changed, so this method often, but not always, worked.
However, once one is collected, you may be doomed to pressing the right key for left and the left key for right. In this situation it's very easy to accidentally push a key or boulder against a wall.
The final mystery object is a 500 point bonus - always useful and produces a satisfying ping as it is collected. As well as the boulders, mystery boulders and monsters scattered around the maze you'll find a few other items.
Some of the passages are locked and you'll find keys scattered in the maze. Only ones facing the correct way will open a lock, so find it and push it round. Once it touches the lock the way will be cleared and you can proceed. There are only enough keys for the number of locks, so careful thinking about how to get the locks to the keys is essential.
If you block a key you may as well give up on a screen or use the remaining time to explore the maze and think of a strategy ready for your next game.
As well as the coloured boulders there are also black ones. They are just obstacles and can be pushed out of the way, but be careful not to push any into a position that will block you later.
Only the lower portion of the screen is used for the game, the top being used by the program as a workspace. The graphics are good and flicker free.
On the right hand side of the screen a lot of useful information is displayed, probably the most important being a scanner map which is constantly updating.
This shows your position in the maze together with all the diamonds and green boulders. Unfortunately it doesn't show things like the black boulders, keys or monsters. Nevertheless, it's very useful.
Also displayed are the number of diamonds and boulders, but I didn't find any use for this information because, once the number is low enough to concern you, you can clearly see the number and position of the few remaining on the scanner.
Of more use if the time - 500 seconds seems a fair old ration, but as you near the end of a screen they seem to tick away rather quickly.
The number of bottles of magic potion you've collected is also displayed and, once you have collected four, it shows zero again and your number of lives - also noted on the screen - will be increased by one.
PERPLEXITY is a superb game and will keep you glued to your keyboard for hours. There's only one real let-down - the sound. While it's adequate, it's nothing like as good as other games have shown the micro to be capable of.
It's good to see Superior still supporting the Electron market, especially with games of this quality.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
PERPLEXITY is compulsive fun at its best. The first few screens alone are enough to keep you going for hours - the sixteen will keep you going for weeks.
The password system lets you practise the levels individually, but the object is to start on the first and work your way right through to the sixteenth. In an adventure where one false move can spell disaster - quite a challenge.
It's not a budget game, but well worth every penny.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ....................... 10
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 9
"Electron User Golden Game"
ELECTRON USER 7. 7