Publisher: Domark
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #64

Klax | Stu | Robin | Phil | C64 | Amiga


"A night on the tiles" could soon have a new definition. No longer will it mean a spree of drinking and debauchery [Shame! - Phil], but instead a night *in* playing one of the most addictive coin-op conversions ever. Klax's concept is simple: catch tiles as they approach and flip them into one of five bins to make rows of three or more of the same colour - Klaxes. When a Klax is made, the tiles disappear causing any tiles above to drop down - sometimes resulting in a chain reaction of Klaxes. Flashing 'wild' tiles can count as any colour and can even be used to simultaneously complete two or more Klaxes of different colours.

Fail to catch a tile and it will drop off-screen registering on your drop meter (sort of like lives). When this is full, it'll cost you one of several continue-plays, as will overfilling all the bins with tiles - they can only hold five each. To ease the pressure, up to five tiles can be stacked onto your catching 'paddle' for later use.

The game comprises 100 tile waves. These must be completed in a particular way: either by scoring enough points, surviving a set number tiles, or getting enough Klaxes (on some waves only horizontal or diagonal ones will do). At the start of the game, and after every five waves, a warp screen allows you to choose which of three levels to attempt next - harder levels have a larger drop meter (up to five drops allowed) and carry huge points bonuses. On certain levels getting a 'Big X' (two crossing diagonal rows of five!) will automatically warp you to a much later level.


The Amiga game boasts a two-player option which splits the screen vertically, allowing two Klaxers to play simultaneously and completely independently from each other.


Of the two versions, the C64 one is marginally the more impressive with it all crammed into a single load. The graphics aren't astounding, but there's several different backgrounds and the tiles move well.

At the start of a level the tiles only come one at a time; the C64 can't vary the speed and numbers quite as smoothly as the Amiga, but pulling them down on the joystick speeds them up very nicely.


But watch out! After a couple of dozen tiles, things are soon moving at a cracking pace. Now you'll need to start chucking tiles back as the speed rivals anything seen on the Amiga. And while simply getting vertical Klaxes causes stress, but on later levels you need horizontal Klaxes, diagonals and so on. Then there are the warps to activate, all of which makes what seems a very simple idea, in practice complex and extremely addictive.

The Amiga version doesn't push the host machine as much as the C64. The tunes are banal, although there is some speech, and the graphics could have been better - the restricted ST palette is again in evidence. But 16-bit power ensures a smoother progression from the easy start levels to the manic overload later on. There's also a very nice simultaneous two-player option (although it makes no sense for the continue-plays to be shared) and a price tag of just $20.

All in all, two extremely playable conversions of one of the most playable coin-ops around. The only serious flaw I can see, is that the miserable Phil creature has so much luck with it. Trying to keep up with him in two-player mode fairly made the old optical circuits water, but I'm sure some reader will be able to beat his high score soon enough. Definitely recommended.



As the title screen says, this is the 90s and hopefully Klax will show the way forward with its simple ideas and yet totally compelling gameplay. There's something fascinating and very satisfying about creating order from putting down blocks.

Unlike clever dick Phil I have enough problems coping with Diagonal Klax waves without contemplating constructing a Big X Klax, but Klax is immense fun to play with a skill level and learning curve for all types of player.

It's a great game to just pick up and play but I found it very difficult to pull myself away from it to write this comment: "rather an addictive game" is an understatement. Sure, the graphics aren't awesome but they're well drawn and serve their purpose. The 'klacking' sound effects also work well, creating an atmosphere of panic. On the C64 it suffers somewhat in graphic detail but at least it plays as good as its 16-bit counterpart and that's what counts.



This is even better (and, believe it or not, more addictive) than Tetris! As well as being far more visually exciting, it benefits from more varied gameplay with the different types of wave requiring vastly different tactics - horizontal and diagonal lines are particularly difficult to obtain.

Despite the concept's simplicity, things are far from easy - especially when the bins are almost full and you're frantically trying to get Klaxes to empty them. Somehow you have to simultaneously watch five bins of tiles, the approaching tiles, plus the ones on your paddle, and make an immediate decision on what to do! Things can get even more frustrating if a 'friend' is looking over your shoulder giving you 'help', so the continue-plays and choice of levels to warp to are welcome features.

The Amiga game isn't amazing technically (though it's virtually identical to the coin-op) but the simultaneous two-player mode is great fun, especially when you both compete for the highest score. However it's the incredibly addictive action that impresses and, on both machines, Klax is by far the best Tengen conversion yet. It's so easy to pick up and play (if you can put it down in the first place!), this is one game that definitely won't be gathering dust on a shelf in six months' time.


Presentation 80%
Amazingly, it's all in one load. Continue-plays avoid frustration. Warps allow easy access to later levels.

Graphics 71%
Several different backgrounds. The approaching rotating tiles are well done, 'enlarging' realistically as they get nearer but other than these there's little else.

Sound 69%
Jolly tunelets between waves, informative FX.

Hookability 92%
Play it once and you'll be hooked...

Lastability 91%
...for a very long time!

Overall 92%
The best Tengen conversion yet.


Presentation 85%
Continue-plays and level warps. Clever simultaneous two-player mode. Informative attract mode.

Graphics 74%
Though not really impressive the graphics work well.

Sound 80%
Surreal sampled speech between waves. 'Klacking' rotating the FX plus little tunelets/sampled speech for certain Klaxes.

Hookability 92%
Easy to learn and incredibly addictive.

Lastability 91%
It'll take a long time to master with 100 progressively harder waves which wrap round.

Overall 92%
A superb conversion, great value for money at under £20.

Klax | Stu | Robin | Phil | C64 | Amiga