Sam Coupe Scrapbook

The Games
- Review of Wop Gamma

Information provided by: Graham Goring

Wop Gamma was the SAM's answer to such hits as Rockfall, Rockford, Boulderdash and all the others. But for me, it really didn't do the magic of Rockford's Riot, or have the skill of Earth Shaker. But I am going to review it objectively as a damn good game in it's own right...

Why it's own right? Well, because the rocks (or pnuematic hammers, or whatever they are are on the level) and other falling items do not respond in the same way as EVERY other version of the game.

As you might know, in your standard Boulderdash type game, a Rock (or gem etc) will fall off of a surface (ie, a rock or platform (though not earth)) if there is a free space down/left or down/right of it and a gap to the left or right allowing it to get there. I will illustrate my point, with a pointless diagram:

O = Boulder   * = Earth

1. Boulder resting on another boulder...


2. Clear space to down/left and left, so boulder moves left...

 O **

3. Boulder becomes familiar with concept of gravity and drops...


Where-as in Wop Gamma:

1. Boulder resting on another boulder...


2. Boulder does bugger all...


Y'see the boulders type objects will only move once the have been started movingby something pushing them or the object on which they rest being removed. And when they do drop diagonally they act in the same way as the normal boulder, only missing out step 2.

You may think I am being picky, but this slight difference means you can have a MASSIVE pile of boulders, and as a result of moving just one, the entire lot would turn into a big pile on top of your head. Ack!

Aside from that point, the differences end there, apart from the fact that the SAM version of the game has 100 levels, with passwords every 5 levels (A very good idea, and what stops the game being cripplingly hard). It also has very pleasant graphics by Neil Holmes, with good use of colour and good design (none of the 'What the hell is THAT for?' that some games had). It boasts over 20 of Andy Monks finest tunes, from intro tunes, to multiple level tunes, to a catchy pause tune. The levels are also of different themes, and the graphic style changes throughout, so this stops the problem of repetitive levelsin a way only challenged by Herman on the Atari ST. And the game keeps up a very speedy rate as well as having pretty swanky presentation.

It's all this that earns it the reputation of being a bit of a SAM classic.

And it's just occurred to me that maybe somebody out there doesn't know what a boulderdash game is. And so I suppose I had better finish the review with a brief explanation of how it works.

A boulderdash type of game is played in a large, normally rectangular or squarearea, in which you move one block at a time. The map is made up of 7 basic elements, some of which succumb to gravity, some of which don't. These are the generic items common to all boulderdash type games...

  1. Earth - this holds up boulders and gems and everything else. You may move through it, but this results in it dissapearing. Earth is not affected by gravity.
  2. Blank Space - This is just that, blank space, anything can pass through it, and due it's nature of not actually being anything, it does not feel gravity (at least not when gravity's parents are in).
  3. Rock - These fall down into empty spaces and roll off (in most cases) into nearby empty spaces. They do feel gravity, but will not roll off of earth unless pushed by someone. If a moving rock lands on you, you will die, but in some games, it is possible to catch rocks with good timing. But not in Wop Gamma.
  4. Gem - These are what most games like you to collect, there is normally a set number of them on every level, of which you must get a set number of. Upon getting them all you go to the next level, but most games like you then to get to a door which will have opened or become visible as a result of getting the required number of gems. Feels gravity, and behaves in much the same way as rocks, including the fact that it can squash you.
  5. Door - Remains closed or invisible until you have got at least the correct number of gems for that level. Does not feel gravity.
  6. Wall - These are static, unmoving, blocks. They just act as obstructions or things to catch falling gems and rocks.
  7. Other - These may be enemies or bonuses.

And the level is filled with these things in a cunning and clever way, so as to make your life as miserable as possible.

Graphics       84% - Clear, varied, but a little formulaic at times.
Addictivity    81% - The prospect of 100 levels may cause you to lag after
                     playing for a while.
Instant Appeal 86% - Like most good Boulderdash games, it's easy to get into,
                     and difficult to get back out of.
Sound          86% - No spot FX, but lots of nice and varied tunes to keep you
Overall        83% - A good if non-standard Boulderdash game, that suffers a
                     bit due to it's massive size. Still, at least you get
                     value for money.

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