Lazy wongo that he is, ADRIAN PITT’S had loadsa nights out on the tiles with Tengen’s glitzy update of Connect Four

Klax has been around a while in various versions — the recent UK Mega Drive version was almost arcade-perfect and a damn sight better than the previously available import version. What’s its success? It’s simple, yet so addictive!

Tile we meet again

Device Big Stu puts under our chairs when the work ain’t flowing!
Most of the staff writers on SEGA FORCE!
Most of the staff writers on SEGA FORCE!!!!!
Cold-blooded, air breathing vertebrate, with horny scales or plates. (Sounds like Paul!-Ed).
The reaction we get from a software house when we give their game a bad mark!
Trying to get me to do any work on a Friday afternoon!
Found in hedgerows, handy if you ever feel the need to get your leg over...

Drop several rectangular tiles of the same colour in a row. Is that it? A sinch. eh? Of course not! Are things EVER that easy?

As in other versions, the MS game’s played on a sloping conveyer belt, which is big, bold and colourful. The game screen’s nicely laid out, uncluttered and easy on the eye. There’s even an option to change the tile colours if you find them too confusing or garish for your liking, and the speed of the paddle used to catch the tiles can be altered, too.

Once you catch a tile it’s dropped in the ‘bin’. This is the place where you make your klaxs. The knack is to know when to drop the tiles, where to drop them, when to store them in your paddle {up to five at a time), or whether there’s time to flick a tile back up the conveyer and catch it at a more convenient moment.

You really have to keep your wits about you, ‘cos if you miss a tile it falls to a fiery grave. The Drop Meter keeps count — too many missed tiles and the game ends. Fortunately, for a klutz like me, the Drop Meter can be turned off on the options screen! This means the only way you can die is if the bin fills up. But you ain’t a wimp like me...

Wave survival

But it’s not only a case of making klaxs hither and thither. In each round of the game — or wave — you’re given a particular challenge to get your teeth into. You may have to make three or more klaxs before the wave ends, or specifically produce three or more diagonals. Or maybe survive 40 or more tiles, or perhaps score ten thousand or more points.

The combinations of klaxs you can make are almost endless. The more intricate patterns come with a lot of skill and practice — see if you can get to a Warp Level! There’s an immense feeling of satisfaction simply when you complete a wave, and with over a 100 to complete there’s plenty of challenge.

The further you progress, the more and faster the tiles and the tougher the requirement for completing the level. One incentive for pounding the old joypad, besides, points is change of backdrop every few levels; jungles, space scapes and even car parks all make a pleasant change of scene.

Catching the klax

What exactly is a klax? Good question! It’s a group of three or more tiles of the same colour placed in either a diagonal, horizontal or vertical row. By positioning your tiles carefully before dropping them, you can make a klax, or a combination of klaxs, whichever you’re clever enough to execute.

There are different point values for the different klaxs you manage to produce. For example, a vertical row of three earns 50 points, a horizontal row 1,000 points and a diagonal row 5,000.

The astute can get four or even five tiles in a row. A line of four is the equivalent to two klaxs and five in a row equivalent to three klaxs. It’s possible to put diagonals with horizontals, horizontals with verticals, produce star shapes, pyramid shapes and so on. The more complicated the klaxs are, the more points you achieve.

Mega Vs Master

Sadly there’s not as much sound on the Master System, none of the sympathetic expostulations, screams or cheers of the MD version, and the audience have forgotten to clap this time around. But there are plenty of spot FX and an in-game tune (which gets on your nerves after a bit!). I miss the sense of menace created by the tile noises of the MD version, but overall the sonics aren’t too bad. Most importantly game speed hasn’t suffered, play still gets fast and furious!

The MS version also comes with a full range of options. I like the choice at the game’s start, whether to begin on level one, six or eleven. Then whenever you complete five levels, you’re again given a choice of three levels to continue from. Also there are three credits — lives really — but if you lose them you can continue-play indefinitely, although your score is reset to zero every time you use a continue-play.

But however you play, Klax is perfect proof that you don’t have to spend all day slaughtering aliens to have a good time! Simplicity equals addictivity where Klax is concerned. If roof tiling was this addictive I’d start my own business tomorrow! Don’t be a square, play Klax if you dare!!


SF Rating

82% - Demo, numerous options
79% - Fast, colourful and varied
63% - Dull and uninspiringly no speech!
84% - Compulsive right from the start
80% - 100 levels, but infinite continue-plays


A slick conversion

Sega Force magazine
Sega Force - Issue 02

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