Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
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. This 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 on 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...
The score multiplier is the high scorer’s best friend in Klax. When tiles disappear after completing a klax, the tiles on top fall down. If these should fall to form a klax, you get double the score. If the tiles above this klax fall into another you get triple the score for the klax. Sounds interesting? Well, put it this way, there's one klax which creates so many multiples you end up with a score of over 265,000! That's a whole lot of points.
If completing the game is your prime objective, using the Warp Waves is your best bet. There’s no secret as to which waves are warp waves because it tells you just before the action begins. However, to successfully warp, you must construct a BIG X (as pictured). The BIG X gives you lots of big points too. Good eh?
Constructing a cunning klax.
There's 10,000 points for this five-klax!
Oo-er! Something's gone very wrong.
A fine diagonal four-klax there!
Two klaxes merge here for a point-scoring bonanza!
I like a good puzzle game, and the original version of Klax is one of the best. This Master System translation is almost arcade perfect. The graphics are excellent, with the backdrops of the coin-op perfectly reproduced. Although the speech is missing, the sound is still all right, and the extra bonus tune isn't that bad at ail. But it's the playability that's all important and Master System Klax scores very highly. The controls are super-responsive and every arcade Klax tactic can be used in this version too! Guaranteed to last longer than most traditional arcade games, Klax is the best puzzle game available on the Master System, and well worth investing your 2,999 pennies in.
Klax has to be one of the most converted games of all time! As well as the original coin-op, I’ve played the Spectrum, Amstrad, C64, GX4000, SAM Coupe, PC, ST, Amiga, Lynx, PC Engine, Megadrive, Nintendo and Gameboy versions! But of them all, I think this Master System version is the best yet! The control method is crisp and precise and the tiles fall forward at just the right speed to maintain a truly manic challenge, yet not make the game so hard you give up with frustration. Klax is definitely the best arcade puzzle game available on the Master System - players with cat-like reflexes and lightning quick logic shouldn't miss it.