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Article #5 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: Valgus^2 vs. Tetrix / games / shareware
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Date: Wed Nov 20 16:50:26 1991


Reprinted from Current Notes, Vol. 11, No. 6, July/August 1991


Atari 8-Bit Tetris Clones:

Valgus^2 vs. Tetrix
-------------------

Reviewed by Raymond Borsick

     _Valgus^2_ (Valgus Squared), a strategy game for one player, is an 
interesting variation of Tetris, the game made popular by NES and GameBoy.
     If you haven't played _Tetris_, the object is quite simple.  Randomly
selected blocks of various shapes are dropped into a pit.  Your goal is to
position the blocks in such a way as to fill in a solid row of squares.  If you
are successful, the completed row is erased and any blocks above that row fall
to the bottom of the pit.  Since a true commercial version of _Tetris_ isn't
available for the Atari 8-bit, I compared _Valgus^2_ to Darryl Yong's _Tetrix_,
which I consider to be one of the better _Tetris_ clones (I've played five so
far).
     While _Tetrix_ gameplay is based upon the original, the object of
_Valgus^2_ is to complete concentric squares instead of a single row.  The
initial playfield consists of a small 3x3 core square.  A single block appears
at one of the edges of the screen and immediately begins to move towards the
opposite edge.  Use your joystick to steer the block in any direction not
opposite the direction the block is moving.  Press the fire button to rotate
the piece.  The block travels until it hits another piece or the edge of the
playfield.  At that point portions of the block change color or pattern to help
you determine where to place subsequent pieces.  When a ring of squares is
completed, it is erased and any outer pieces fall towards the core square. 
Completing a predetermined number of rings awards bonus points and moves you to
the next level with a fresh screen and faster moving blocks.
     _Valgus^2_ arrived on an unprotected, self booting disk.  If you wish, you
can rename the AUTORUN.SYS file and run the game from DOS Option L.  Do NOT
rename the support files--VSQ.DAT and SCORES.VSQ--or the game won't load! 
Neither game requires BASIC.  Both ran OK on my XE using _MYDOS_, _AtariDOS
2.5_, and _DOS XE_.
     The graphics in both games are adequate.  It was somewhat difficult to
read the text and scores on the _Valgus^2_ screen, due to the use of XL/XE mode
12, the so-called multi-color text mode.  This is especially true when viewed
on a TV set.  However, the use of this graphics mode does make the _Valgus^2_
game area more visually appealing than _Tetrix_.
     _Tetrix_ enjoys a slight edge in the use of sound, although neither
program breaks any new ground.  Pretty much 2600 vintage beeps and bops.
     _Valgus^2_ is definitely more challenging than _Tetrix_ and held my
attention for a longer time.  After a dozen or so games of _Tetrix_, I was able
to regularly progress to Level Four.  I had to play many more games than that
before I was able to achieve similar results with _Valgus^2_.
     _Valgus^2_ is not without its nuisances, although they are relatively
minor.  The game saves any top ten scores to driveone.  Period.  This means you
must enter your name via the keyboard, and you won't be able to turn off your
drive when playing the game.  A toggle feature would be nice.  You must press
the START key to begin a new game; the program doesn't recognize the joystick
trigger.  When I'm playing games I like to kick back and relax, and having to
use the keyboard after every game slows things down.
     Documentation for _Valgus_ is rather sparse; the package I reviewed
contained two typewritten pages.  Unlike _Tetrix_, there were no docs on the
disk.
     _Tetrix_ has a feature which allows you to preview the next block while
positioning the current piece.  _Valgus^2_ doesn't offer this option.  Instead,
an on-screen chart tabulates the number of times a particular block has been
played.  Interesting, I suppose, but the knowledge doesn't add anything to the
game.
     At $12.00 shareware, I feel _Valgus^2_ is a bit pricey.  Generally, your
contribution for shareware entitles you to written docs, additional features,
updates, etc.  The information I received from the author doesn't appear to
offer any advantages to registered users.  Of course, if you like and use this
software you should do your part to encourage new 8-bit software and this
author in particular.
     Overall, I'd give _Valgus^2_ a C+.  Although lacking the bells and
whistles found in most commercial software, it's still a good adaptation of a
very popular game.  If you're looking for a more challenging alternative to
_Tetris_, _Valgus^2_ could be just the ticket.
     One final note.  The author mentions that while _Valgus^2_ for the 8-bit
is new, the ST version -- _CN_ ST Disk #533 -- was released about eight months
ago.  That's right!  This game has been ported TO the 8-bit!!

     [_Valgus^2_, James Glenn, Jr., 8252 The Midway, Annandale, VA 22003. 
XL/XE/XEGS, 48K RAM, joystick required Shareware, $12.00.]
     [_Tetrix_, Sagamore Software, 2104 Arapahoe Dr, Layfayette, IN 47905 PD,
$5.]
-- 
Michael Current, aa700, 8-bit Atari SIGOp    -->>>  go atari8  <<<--
The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
              Celebrating 12 years of 8-bit Atari computing!





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