A&B Computing


Confuzion

Author: Dave Reeder
Publisher: Incentive
Machine: BBC/Electron

 
Published in A&B Computing 2.09

Paul Shirley's game of bafflement for poor human minds has now been implemented on the Model B and Electron. The programming, by "Crazy Dave" Kirby, is excellent and he has succeeded in packing in all 64 levels of Confuzion and a Mode 2 screen.

The sparkler emblem chosen to represent this game in the minds of press and public alike is drawn as a loading screen.

Each screen level presents the player (or players, there's a two game option) with a different combination of encased sliding blocks. Each block has a path or paths embossed on it. According to the scenario these are pallets in a huge 64 storey automated industrial plant storing deadly confuzion bombs. On one or more of the end points (where they reach the side of the casing) of the paths you will find a bomb! The idea is to move the blocks to link the paths to provide a route for the spark to reach the bomb to... Bang! and on to the next level.

Of course each level has a time limit (which gets shorter as you move up). A fuze fizzes away the seconds at the top of the screen and sets the nerves jangling as you struggle to arrange the blocks correctly.

Confuzion

It is particularly nerve-wracking when you have made the connection but the spark is just sedately (although you have pressed Space to speed it up) making its way back towards the bomb without a thought for your high score.

Sometimes you know the simple moves required to send the spark straight off to the bomb but these won't remain in memory (yours) for long after a session so, like with an adventure, it is possible to make notes about how you did get through a screen. If you are getting fed up going through certain screens then no problem! The program allows you to move up and down to authorised (1, 9, 17, 25, 33, 41) starting levels by just using the up and down movement keys before the start of the game. "Skill stepping" allows you to re-enter the game from the last level you completed by answering yes to the "New game?" prompt.

Other nice features include the ability to define your own movement keys (especially important for the two-player game). You don't have to line the pallets up necessarily. It is possible to move the block with the spark on it for a really opportunist connection.

Confuzion

Default keys are the famous ZX:/. You begin the game with five sparks and these can be lost through going beyond their life expectancy time limit or colliding with one of the large blue water drops (the sprinkler system) which wander about some of the screens.

The game stimulates a lot of concentration and sometimes frustration. If you take to the challenge, Confuzion lays down to your gaming skills, then you will be up nights trying to complete awkward screens. The programmer has thoughtfully included all the necessary game options and achieved a high degree of playability. The graphics are fairly simple but perfectly produced and the sound, where necessary, captures the fun tone of the game. The program recognises the hardware (BBC or Electron) and sets the timing up appropriately so there isn't a great deal of difference between the games; a bit faster on the Beeb, shall we say? A BBC disc version is apparently on the way. As a bonus, Confuzion - The Music is on side two of the tape.

Confuzion is simple in concept, hellishly difficult to play and a challenge to anyone who likes to test their speed of thought as well as their speed of reaction.

Dave ReederDavid Glew

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