Connect 4 is simply a computer version of the well known plastic wall divider with holes around which the family crowd all screaming in unison as one player's counters complete a line of four. The package states that 'Connect 4 is a board game for 2 players or for one player against the computer. When playing against the computer there are four levels of difficulty....' When you load the program the opening screen tells a different story in so much as the only option is to play the computer, which is not really an option at all. After you have digested the 8 lines of instructions you are invited to press any key whereupon the display shows a blue board with black holes, numbered one to seven along the bottom. The prompts appear under the board in a yellow border, the first one asks for a difficulty level, again this is at variance with the cassette case as you are only offered a choice of 1 to 3. The next choice is whether you would like to play first or second, having made that decision you can begin to play the game. If you select the computer to play first you will see a green counter drop past all of the other holes accompanied by some rather elaborate noises. Your turn: answer the prompt with a number that corresponds to ,the column of your choice and a white counter will fall into place. The computer responds with the witty message 'I'm thinking…' the length of time the message remains will depend on the level of play you have chosen but that can be as long as ten seconds.
The object of the game is to be first in getting a straight line of four counters vertically, horizontally or diagonally, and of course trying to prevent the computer from doing do. If the computer wins it simply says so and plays a little jingle offering you a choice of another game. The routine is exactly the same if the player wins, only the message is different.
'It's nice to see a game that is quite popular being translated onto the computer. The drawback to the conventional game is that you need two people to play it, and how often do you find a partner when you want one? Well this game solves that problem as you play the computer, which is good at winning on the higher levels, but gives you a good chance on the lower levels. Graphically it could not be better, well after all, it is only coloured counters! There are no difficult inputs, just one key press for each 9o, this enables younger children to play the game without any hardship whatsoever. I must say that I enjoyed this game and at £1.99 it's cheap enough to put away and collect dust between plays like the original, but it's much more compact in the cupboard!'
'The package asks, 'Will you be the first to CONNECT 4?' Yes I was every time. I discovered the best way to play this rather banal game was to adopt the USAF tactics used during the Vietnam War, drop as many bombs over as wide an area as you can and sooner or later you are bound to score.'
'It's a pity you can only play against the computer only because the inlay suggests two players may fight it out with each other, but on the other hand the advantage of the computer is that you can play on your own if you wish. I can't see Connect 4 being big among the traditional computer games player, but for families with younger children it is ideal, simply and well implemented, graphically unexciting but adequate - a straightforward game at a sensible price.'
: numeric input 1-7Joystick
: not necessaryKeyboard play
: simple, although thinking time can be slowUse of colour
: yellow, white and greenGraphics
: hardly applicableSound
: just a few beepsSkill levels
: 3General Rating:
At the price a worthy, simple family game.
That's a winning line of four counters for the player, but try it again on a higher skill level and the computer will probably win.