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Showing 12 reviews

by amarillion
all reviews of mars

Review by danyan all reviews by danyan

Experience the awesomeness of Amarilion's Martian sidescrolling shooter. 
The game is an entry into TINS 2002, a 72 hour game programming competition. 

Take on the role of a Martian, defending his planet from invading Jelly
monsters!  What great stuff is packed into this game?
Amarilion did an excellent job with this game.  The enemies seem to take
just about the right number of hits to kill.  The graphics are excellent. 
The weapon powerups are actual improvements, and make sense.  The jelly
moves is an awesome pattern. 
The only bad thing of which I can think is that the scrolling is sometimes
too slow.  It seems to take forever to get from one side of a rock obstacle
to the other. 
An amazing piece of work for only 72 hours.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Mutant Jello from Mars!
by danyan
all reviews of Mutant Jello from Mars!

Review by elias all reviews by elias

First, this wasn't easy to get working. It used for(int.. construct
which is broken in MSVC, it hardcoded a color depth of 24 (16, 32 are
the common ones - desktop_color_depth() also works), and, most evily,
seemed to require page flipping - which fewer and fewer HW supports (at
least not mine under linux :P). OTOH, that's a problem of Allegro for
not providing a function set_best_mode () and some functions to make
screen updating more transparent, not requiring to hardcode one
particular mode. Anyway, with the described changes, it worked nicely.

It's a very nice looking speedhack entry. Of course, since it's a
speedhack entry, it isn't really a complete game. But there is some
basic gameplay. I managed to win (it's too easy to win) and also die.
Still, including gameplay of at least some minutes would have been a
plus - but few manage to do so in a speedhack, i miserably failed

I really like the gfx, especially the 3d floor. I think it's also a
effect for a speedhack entry, a simple effect, which still makes it
like something special - could have been my idea if I hadn't have the
idea to do a rotating hex map :) And I also like the jelly monsters a
lot - they have this very distinct look to them.

About the speedhack requirements, they are all met. It plays on mars,
there's a GUI, and there's jellies and molecules. So, I can only say,
quite well done - just use more time for gameplay next time (which I'm
also telling to myself).

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Mars Fight
by allefant
all reviews of Mars Fight

Review by h all reviews by h

Mars Fight by Elias is set on the planet Mars in the year 3002. Your mission is to use your Jellybot to defeat the armies of the evil Dr. Jelly in order to
capture his Crystal of Power. Your bot is armed with an Oxygenator, a gun firing oxygen molecules (very powerful oxygen molecules apparently, because one of
them is enough to completely destroy one of Dr. Jelly's fighters). On your way to the Crystal of Power, you encounter wave after wave of evil Jellybots of
increasing difficulty. These, too, fire different kinds of molecules: sodium, sulfur, magnesium etc. As you walk your bot towards the goal, you may pick up large
blobs of jelly to gain health. The game is seen in top-down view, and just as in Hellcarrier by Free Lunch Design, the world rotates around the player in a
very nice way.

First of all, I must say that I'm impressed by the way the author implemented the "no rectangular grid" rule. He has actually turned this rule to his favour by making
a hexagonal tilemap instead of a square one. This hexagonal map makes the ground look really great, better than with most rectangular maps I've seen. The way
the world rotates around you also contributes to the nice feel about the world.

Unfortunately the bot sprites don't fit too well with the the terrain sprites, I think. It's not that they're ugly, they're just not made in quite the same style as the rest
of the sprites. Apart from this, though, the game looks very good for being made in just a single weekend. I also must give the author credits for having time to
write some AI. Not that the enemies are particularly smart, but at least they do something.

As with many games in short competitions like this one though, <i>Mars Fight</i> suffers from poor gameplay. I found especially the first level extremely tedious.
It was time consuming, without providing any real challenge. After the first level, it got better. The enemies were harder and it actually got a little exciting at
times. But the game never really took hold of me, and it lacked those addictive elements that separate good games from great ones.

Now over to the technical and artistic requirements. They are all there, just as they should be. The planet Mars theme was obvious. The game is set on Mars, and
it's even got Mars in the title. Nothing to complain about there. I have already mentioned that the rectangular grid rule was done by constructing a hexagonal grid.
The GUI is there too, in the shape of a main menu with buttons. It has a transparency effect which is nice, but other than that it doensn't look very exciting. I
found no chemical <i>formulas</i> in the game, but those molecules that the bots are firing have to count as an implementation of that rule, so I can't really
complain about it. And the jelly is present too, as mentioned.

Overall, this game, like many games in Speedhack and similar competitions, is very good from a technical aspect (credits for stability too), but a bit weaker when it comes to actual gameplay and "fun factor". With some work, it could be a really fun game to play.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Earth Invaders
by h
all reviews of Earth Invaders

Review by inphernic all reviews by inphernic

An average game in every respect - easy to play, working graphics, etc,but lacks content. The game is entertaining for a while, but getsrepetitive fast and loses
replay value. With a bit more content andpolish, this would be a really nice game, but considering that this wasdone in three days is still commendable.

The genre requirement was fulfilled, but I was hoping for something moreoriginal and creative.

Technically, the game was ok (even though basic from a programmer's pointof view). The particle effects - albeit "cheap" - work very nicely.

The artistic requirement was fulfilled successfully as well, though Iwould've liked to see something more come out of the requirements. Now therequirements are
implemented as one picture of the planet and a rotatingpicture of "jelly" (from the cannon).

In overall - nice work for three days' time, but more work is required tomake it an interesting game.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Perilous Peregrination
by inphernic
all reviews of Perilous Peregrination

Review by amarillion all reviews by amarillion

Perilous Peregrination is a puzzle game similar to mastermind - with a few twists.

As the story goes, the main character 'Bob' needs your help to create an antidote
because he used a bad drug (KTHX) and is now in a permanent hallucinating state on the planet mars.
You can help him by finding the right combination of atoms that form the antidote.
In this way you need to deliver a series of antidotes - each time more and more complex.

In each level you have to try combinations of atoms and the game marks the atoms as correct,
almost correct or completely wrong. Sounds easy? Indeed it is. All you have to do is try out each atom at each position in the sequence and then you
can find the correct atoms in each position in the sequence in the history of your guesses. The only thing
that makes it more difficult is the very tight time limit. You get only 15 seconds or so to find the right
combination. In this game you don't need to think hard but you need to think very quickly.

And there is more. In addition to the antidote, there is the possibility of creating a bonus Gel molecule.
This bonus is harder to make but has a 10 times higher score than the antidote. Without this gel bonus
the game would be probably too easy, but especially at higher levels, getting the gel bonus is quite

All in all, I think the gameplay is rather limited. In the end, the strategy is to try a sequence of
each atom,
then quickly look back at the red marks for the gel bonus and the green marks for the antidote.
The gameplay is not the strong side of this entry. The strong side, however, is the beautiful polish.
This game is arguably the most finished entry of the competition. The GUI consists of transparant animated
dialog windows. The game comes with interesting background music that fades in and out. The main menu has
a pretty particle effect going on in the background. There is a funny intro cut-scene. (I'm told there is a cut-scene at the end too, but I haven't got there yet)
There is a complete manual in html format.

Apparently Inphernic has taken the approach that it is more important to have a simple but finished game
than a promise of something that might be really great. "This would be really cool if it were finished"
is a line heard quite often in speedhack reviews (e.g. for my speedhack 2003 entry),
but this certainly doesn't apply here. This game

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

by jorge
all reviews of PlanetKiller

Review by mark all reviews by mark

Jorge's entry is a simple vertical shooter. Basically, the theme is you have to defend Mars against various falling items. Or something.

Anyway, it's simple, but it works and it's reasonably fun for about 30 seconds.

I can't really give this game massively high marks for anything I'm afraid - although it's technically right, there is not a massive amount of innovation or
originality gone into it, nor has it approached any of the requirements from an interesting angle.

I also felt that perhaps he could have come up with slightly more in a weekend - there is only three types of enemies, no weapons upgrades, bonuses
etc, no sound.

Genre: 2 The Mars theme doesn't really show through very much - although it's technically there. There is a picture of
Mars, but no other references I can see.
In respect of the general genre, it's a shooter, polished, but not particularly finished.

Technical: 3 It's good that he's got a
non-rectangular grid. In fact there isn't a grid at all. But the collision detection works, and the weapons, explosions etc rendering as
is simple and effective.
I can't really comment on the GUI, it isn't used for anything except for "Play, Pause and Quit".

Artistic: 3 There are
certainly molecular formulae in there. I give him a good mark for effort, the "Jelly" bad guys behave in a jelly-like way (well, they bounce,

Overall: 2 The game is playable, but not very much fun. In particular, the player has no sense of achieveing anything. Levels
end without any reward, or even notification except that the next level starts instantly, with lots of enemies appearing.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Mutant Jellies
by mark
all reviews of Mutant Jellies

Review by notme all reviews by notme

1. Genre - how well does the entry comply with the genre requirement (themars theme). Give credit for
creativity, originality and technical skillz.
All the genre requirements have been fulfitted I think.Because the Mars theme is not extemely clear to see back in the game,I will give 4 points for the genre item.

2. Technical - how well does the entry comply with the technicalrequirements (the GUI and the
non-rectangular grid requirements).

I am very much impressed by the fact that Mark Robson has managed to get hispolygon collision codeworking within the time (I m guessing that must have been
pretty hard to getall right so quickly).Also there is obviously nothing bad to say about the GUI, since it´s justallegro gui.5 points for this one.

3. Artistic - how well does the entry comply with the artisticalrequirements (jellies and molecule

The molecule formulas were clearly present in the game, and there were usednicely for the fuel and acid
gun. Also the jellies, I can't complain about them as well :), were present.5 points for this one too,
since everything is just as it should be.

4. Overall - is the game polished? is it fun to play?

I noticed a few minor bugs in the game, like jellies killing themselfs orteleporters turning into
fueltanks, but they were not annoying or anything. I didn't take the bugfixof after the compo into
account, since that wouldn't be fair (for example, I could know of plenty ofthing I wanted to fix to my
entry but didn't have time for). But it's always good to fix bugs though :)The gameplay itself was very good, it was really a fun challenge to make theship move
properly between all
the rocks (I've become pretty good at it now).I am quite impressed by the fact that he has both quite fancy algo's used init (polygon collision, nice
particles...) and still delivered a polished and fun game in time.5 points as well.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Mars Colonizer
by notme
all reviews of Mars Colonizer

Review by sander all reviews by sander

Mars Colonizer is a sort of strategy game in which you have to destroy the evil jellies. The game is made by Notme. The first screen gives you a simple menu in which you can choose to play the game or to quit the game. When you choose to play, you are immediately put in the game. You will find a building already on your map; this building gives you a certain amount of power and H20 and a population to get you started. From here it is up to you to build a base and destroy the evil jellies. You can construct the following buildings on your base:
The robots have their own AI, so you don't have to control them. They will find an evil jelly for you sooner or later.
So far, nothing bad told. The bad side of the game is that it has many bugs in it. For example, you actually don't have to destroy all jellies to win. And if you build long branches of buildings, they will disappear somehow. Sometimes it crashes at random, but according to the game maker that's part of the difficulty level. In any case, it's annoying when you are playing.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

by sander
all reviews of Fusion

Review by tobi all reviews by tobi

The first times I ran this entry, the program just froze - it didn't respond to anything. Fortunately, I remembered a bug somewhere in my system which freezes any Allegro program that calls install_keyboard(), install_mouse() and install_timer() before set_gfx_mode(). I changed the sourcecode, recompiled, and voila, it runs!

First, a nice blue screen is displayed which tells me the name of the game and the author. After pressing the spacebar (it took me a while to find out I had to press the spacebar :-), the main menu is displayed. The menu looks good. I suppose Sander ran out of time, since I can't use the mouse anywhere in the GUI. This, however, doesn't matter too much, since it is easy enough to press space to start the game.

But before starting the game, I enable sound and I read the story. This entry has a quite professional story screen (that is: it scrolls). The story itself is good (although it makes me curious why H+ doesn't react with OH- in this special layer on Mars) because it is the glue to combine the implementations of all rules. It says that in the year 2132 we don't have enough space to live (although the moon has been colonized). However, scientist found a layer on Mars with OH- and H+ ions that don't react. They built a micro-spaceship to collect the ions and combine them into water, which is then stored in tiny gel packs which can be collected later.

The goal of the game is to fly this micro-spaceship and combine H+ and OH- ions to H2O molecules. You get yourself killed by collecting too much of one type of ion. The game starts easy to play but soon it gets more and more difficult. The music is good in my opinion.

The implementation of the rules is fine. There is a GUI, although without mouse, and the game doesn't use any grid at all, so the technical requirement is implemented. The chemical formulae-rule is implemented really good in my opinion, since the formulae aren't just decoration. They are part of the game. The jelly like substance does exist in the game, and it has a functional role (tiny gel packs to store water), but it doesn't really look like jelly (at least not to me).

So, all rules are implemented by Sander. Unfortunately it crashes if I try to start a new game after I got killed. But it has a (good) story and (good) music, and I can't say that about my own entry. A few minor things to improve are: mouse controlled GUI, hiscore list. Anyway, for only 72 hours of coding this is a nice game. -- Tobi

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

by tobi
all reviews of Marsworm

Review by toni all reviews by toni

Yet another Nibbles game. But as far as those go, Marsworm is certainly in the very different category. The play area is made from a sphere which represents one of the moons of Mars. The moons aren't really spheres, more like potatoes, but we'll let that pass, since there aren't glowing radioactive jellyworms either. The worm itself is a strange beast. It is green. And it's glowing. It's also very dumb, probably side effect of all that radioactive waste it has eaten.
The controls are very straightforward in theory. The worm goes mindlessly ahead until you click your mouse on the sphere. When that happens, the worm instantly turns towards the point you clicked and the view starts to rotate so the point directly ahead of camera. The first can have unpleasant results since the worm will happily try to plow through itself if you make acute enough turns and the latter can be very disorienting when the camera does strange acrobatics near the poles. Once you get used to it the system works well enough though.
The worm's choise of diet is equally strange as the worm itself. He eats rare gasses. On the playfield there are scattered chemical formulae for different gasses present in Earth's atmosphere. The more rare gas you eat the more points and longer worm you get. N2 (nitrogen) gives one point, and something like Xe (Xenon) gives plenty. Actually hitting the molecules is somewhat tricky. Apparently you need to hit one of the corners, which means you can pass through the formula and yet the worm doesn't eat it. This could use some improvement.
The graphics are relatively nice for the most parts. You can see Mars in the background as you rotate around the moon. There are no stars though, so the scenery can get a bit empty. The moon is regular flat shaded triangles. There's plenty of those though, so it doesn't look too bad. Especially to those who played 3D games in the early 90s. There is also a wireframe mode which treats you to an interesting selective see through view of the moon (complete with anti-aliased lines!) - you can see chemicals on the other side, but not your worm. The worm itself could look better. It's very clearly made out of sprite balls placed equal distances away. The sprite balls are fuzzy (good thing, debateably), but the sprite itself is not large enough, so you can see the sudden rectangular edges in the fuzz (bad thing).
TINS requirements are implemented with varying degrees of success. The worm is supposed to be jelly, but it doesn't look too much like jelly. Chemical formulae are there and play important role in the scoring scheme.
GUI with dialogs is limited to the standard Allegro screenmode dialog. Arguably the control scheme of the worm is a certain kind of GUI. Doesn't have dialogs or buttons though, but that was supplemented by the screenmode selection.
There is a grid, but it is very much non rectangular. The grid is made of subdivided triangles and is probably in a polar coordinate system anyway. So that requirement is implemented very nicely.
The genre was Mars. Well, there is Mars on the background and this happens on one of the moons but that's it. You collect gasses which are present in the Earth's atmosphere and there aren't any radioactive slag worms on Mars either... So it's just a bit of backdrop. Could have been implemented better. Like collecting Martian gasses for example (yes, there is more than just carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on Mars).
Overall the game is not too bad. It's fun for a while and it's certainly different from the usual Nibbles clones. The graphics are functional even if not always pretty. Controls and collision detection could be better, but also work for the most part after you get used to them. The programming is solid and there hasn't been any crashes or apparent bugs. A little more polish and you'll have a nice little game to kill a few moments every now and then.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

Review by carlos all reviews by carlos

On cloudy day, birds were singing to warm themselves,cars were honking and i was at work freezing to death.I had noting to do so i decided "What the heck,
i'm gonna test some of the tins games. Those guys deserve it!".And so i did.I started with this entry, Tobi was the author, and it had very few files. I remember
thinking to myself "Heck, this must be one of the incomplete entries". I double clicked the executable and an ugly allegro gui appeared "YUCK" i tought to myself,
fortunately itwas only to choose the resolution and those kinds ofstuff. Then i remember thinking: "How toughtfull"*click @windowed* (i was at work eheh).The
game starts and what do i see, a sphere with smallchemical thingies around. "WTF?" i tought, "this can'tbe, i'm bored already". So i clicked the sphere, thecamera
shifted a bit and a red dot appeared. "WTF??" itought again.And then... it happened... this glowing, magestic,slowmoving snake appears and then it hits me (not
thesnake, a revelation).


I couldn't believe it, the objective of the game issimilar to a ordinary snake game, BUT THE MAP IS ASPHERE. i would never think of something like this,it's
pure genious and when i stopped playing it wasalready time to leave work, so you better be preparedfor an addictive game.

With that said... IT'S A SNAKE GAME WITH A 3D SPHEREMAP!!!... just in case you didn't get it a first!

It's a winner for me. And well, that's my two cents...now i must... play...

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None

by toni
all reviews of SimMars

Review by amarillion all reviews by amarillion

For years the possiblity of colonizing mars has been studied by scientists. It will not be easy, themartian environment poses huge problems. On earth, there is always
enough oxygen to breathe and water ispretty easy to find. Waste is recylced by bacteria in the endless circle of life. All these conditions are not present on mars
and have to be created artificially before any attempt can be made to sustain life on the red planet.

Toni's entry is a simulator of a future martian colony. It keeps track of the storage and flow of important nutrients and other molecules, and you can build processing
plants and other facilities to help convert molecules that power the cycle of life.

This is a great idea for a game and could be a lot of fun to play. However, such a simulator is very complicated and needs a lot of tuning before it works properly.
Therefore this entry is based on a cool idea but has a lot of gameplay problems.

First of all the screen is very static. You see nothing but a big map of the planet mars and some numbers that change every second or so. It would be much more
interesting to see graphs instead of figures, because that is prettier and also easier to interpret.

As said before, you can build plants to produce certain types of molecules. For example, you can use a chemical plant to produce CH4 (methane). There are some
balancing issues here however. For example, there doesn't seem to be a way to use Carbonmonoxide (CO).There are plenty of ways to produce CO though,
which means that the CO storage is a sink where everything will end up eventually. Or is the goal here to avoid CO production as much as possible? Unfortunately
the readme.txt is not clear on that, or possible strategies.

Another prolem is that there is no clear goal. You can set goals for yourself e.g. to try to keep the colony alive as long as possible, but I haven't managed to starve
the colonists yet before I had enough of watching a bunch of numbers.

implementation of the rules, and scoring:

genre requirement - 4 Mars theme pretty obivous. The gameplay fits really well with this genre requirement, one of the few entries that is not just
pong/pacman/tetris set on mars.

technical requirement - 3

artistical requirement - 5

overall - 3

cool idea, technically interesting but not enough gameplay to be entertaining.

Scores: Overall None Artistical None Technical None Genre None