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Domark Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

Right, let's see if I can stagger through this whole review without mentioning Tetris once. Oops, that's blown it. Oh well, while we're at it, Klex does indeed bear a remarkable resemblance to Tetris, that Russian game with coloured blocks sliding about all over the place. But that's enough of that.

So what does Klax actually involve? It's a bit odd, really. You control a Batty-style bat, which sits at the bottom of a conveyor belt. Its sole function in life is to move left and right and catch little coloured blocks as they come whizzing down the conveyor belt towards it. Once it's caught them it can either hang onto them for a bit, drop them into the container at the bottom of the screen or chuck them back again. For those tempted by the latter option, it should be stressed that these blocks tend to find their way back again.

But there's more to it than that. To score loads of points and get onto the next level you need to drop the blocks so that they make patterns in the container (lines, diagonals, crosses, that kind of thing). The more complicated the pattern, the more points you get. Once you've made one, the blocks that made it up disappear, making room for you to chuck some more in.

And one other thing - if you're lucky you'll come across weird flashing blocks which alternate between all the different colours. Did I mention colours? Right, well blocks do in fact come in different colours, and the patterns (they're actually called 'Klaxes', but that sounds ridiculous) have to contain blocks that are all the same colour. So these flashing ones are a kind of universal block which can be used as anything.

There are piles of levels, and each one has a different background (some of which are decidedly strange) and a different target to meet before you go onto the next level. This is generally to get a certain number of a particular pattern without letting too many blocks go zooming off the conveyor belt into oblivion.

And it's quite good fun, actually. It takes a while to work out what's going on, but when it suddenly clicks then you're rolling, as it were. There's all sorts of strategy involved, such as whether you want to go for lots of little patterns and get the points that way, or go for a massive big one (like the 'X', which takes nerves of steel).

The graphics are a bit patchy, but they do their stuff, and the sound's fairly good too, with little tunes and bits of sampled speech. Not that it would matter if they were a load of crap, of course, as having fun is what it's all about.

These coloured block strategy things will always be hits, I reckon. You just can't go wrong with them. And as coloured block strategy things go, Klax is a winner. I think Tetris probably has the edge, but perhaps I shouldn't be making comparisons anyway.

If coloured blocks sound like your cup of tea, this could be for you (with two sugars). It's really quite good.


Screenshot Text

Completely useless. Not only is the container almost full, there are no decent patterns. Whoever took this screenshot may as well give up now.

Oh dear. One life left and still no patterns. This bloke's rubbish.

Yikes! Last life, no patterns, a pathetic score and a horrible red background.

Oo-er! A huge hand! More importantly, though, we've just scored 50 points. Woah!