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... O** OO* ***** 2. Clear space to down/left and left, so boulder moves left... O ** OO* ***** 3. Boulder becomes familiar with concept of gravity and drops... ** OOO* *****
Where-as in Wop Gamma:
1. Boulder resting on another boulder... O** OO* ***** 2. Boulder does bugger all... O** OO* *****
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...
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 happy. 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.