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Siegfried Kurtz
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Strange. Unexpected! An oddity, even!!! That's Kirel, the new offering from that football crazy crowd at Addictive.

Strange because it's a million miles from its previous league topper, Football Manager, the simulation that's kept Addictive over the moon and helped it survive several own goals - remember Software Star.

Unexpected because its a smooth running arcade game, not the long in the tooth Basic associated with Addictive. And an oddity because though it joins the Ultimate lookalike throng, it doesn't play at all like Knightlore!

Kirel is more of a block shifting puzzle in 3D: the chance to be the architect of an alien landscape. The eponymous hero is a cute critter who lives on an eight by eight grid in a sugar cube city (nothing to do with Amstrad). It's the ideal environment for anybody who likes climbing stairs - or would be if it wasn't for the monsters and bombs?

The bombs are really his main concern because he has to clear them in a constant race against time, the inexorable passing of which is shown by a constantly fizzing fuse. The aliens merely get in the way and leap on Kirel to sap his strength - a relatively minor irritation when the world's about to vanish in a shower of sparks!

Unluckily not all of the bombs are accessible at the start because Kirel can only climb a height one block at a time - after all, he hasn't got any legs (and that's quite different from being legless). But here's where his Wimpey skills come in! Kirel kan karry one block at a time, providing it's not from the base level. So reaching the bombs is a question of rearranging the landscape until there are neat stairs to the correct level. Another clever ability our hero has is to build bridges in the direction he's facing, though these are in limited supply.
With that sorted out he can concentrate on the objects he'll find on his travels, namely cake, arrows, sweets and balls. Cake kills monsters when he leaps on them, arrows earn extra bridges; sweets restore stamina (and rot your teeth); and balls - perhaps a throwback from Football Manager - slow down the sparkling fuse.

Finally there's the exit, that'll only appear once all the bombs have been defused, which happens when Kirel moves onto them. The screen isn't completed - and the fuse continues burning - until you leap onto this and transport to the next level.

There's also a training mode, without the terrible deaths, that'll let you get acquainted with the screens. I thought this might make it all too easy but even after a rehearsal I found the fuse was running out before I could reach the exit.

This is a game you'll either love or hate. You'll find it absolutely infuriating or totally addictive. I played it for hours. Give it a try. It could just be one of the cleverest games of the year.


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Don't waste time though. The only way you'll get a good score up here is through speed. I think this is the quickest route for screen one.

This is Kirel. Handsome, isn't he? First thing is to get him up the steps to here.

Avoid these little monsters though. They think they're toupees and sit on his head, sapping his strength.

It's a piece of gateau to deal with the nasties. While there's some cake left Kirel can krush them provided he attacks from a higher level.

And increasing stamina is like taking candy from a baby. Here's a bag of bon-bons just waiting to be consumed.

The big block means that Kirel's not dropped a brick. That's because he needs two to raise himself to the right height when he reaches that other bomb.

Kirel's in the same place but I've revolved the screen and he's just picked up a block, allowing him to drop down onto the bomb.

Confused? You shouldn't be because this taper stays in sight whichever way the base turns - and it only stops sizzling when you find a sphere.

Once that's all done the Exit will appear over here. Don't forget to pick up a block en route from that top corner - you'll need it to reach the right level.

By building a bridge from the position of the first bomb Kirel can whizz over here then build a step up to defuse another suspect device.