Snake Escape (Einar Saukas) Review | - Everygamegoing


Snake Escape
By Einar Saukas
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2

Snake Escape

Snake Escape ( is a brand new game for 48K+ Spectrums and the more recent ZX Vega. It's brought to the Spectrum by Einar Saukas (He of Pixel Quest and Alter Ego fame) so you can almost expect quality from the word go, and Snake Escape certainly doesn't disappoint. This new concept may also involve a slithering reptile eating big, juicy apples but everything else about it is very far removed from the average game of Snake.

In Snake Escape, each level is viewed from the side - something that takes a bit of getting used to. Snakeface grows each time you make a single move in any direction. And getting to the single apple per level isn't as easy as the usual angling your snaky head in its direction. No, Snakeface must, in Snake Escape, contend with gravity, and gravity sends his head plummeting to the lowest empty position on screen whenever it is not supported by anything.

The first thing you notice as you control Snakeface is that he can't stretch upwards more than three squares. Indeed, if you try he gets rather red in the face and stubbornly refuses to go any further. The second is that you can predict what will happen to him at least two or three moves ahead - for example, if you're about to move his head left or right and there's nothing to support it, then it will quickly fall to the nearest surface. The third is that, because if he can't move it is game over, innocent-looking gaps in the ground are actually fatal; if you fall into them then there's no escape! All three elements combine to teach you exactly how Snakeface must be controlled in order to reach the elusive apple. The screenshots illustrate how you essentially need to put on your thinking cap and make use of your tail to support you on your crawl to victory.

Snake Escape

This is a remarkably addictive little game - it's one where each screen generally only has a single solution, but only a lot of brain-strain (or trial and error) will allow you to work it out. If (or should that be when!) you get stuck, a simple tap on the Space bar will allow you to give up and restart on the same level. There's no lives system so you can play until you beat the screen or give up in frustration.

The only proviso to be aware of is that the game features some great pieces of music - four individual tunes in fact! - but you only get them on the 128K Speccy models. If you load it on a 48K model, it will run in complete silence. Needless to say, the game is much improved with the music. The music does, however, change each level. The first few levels are relatively easy so when you first play Snake Escape, you may hear only about ten seconds of each tune before it switches to a different one!

As with many of Einar's other games, Snake Escape is written using the Nirvana+ engine which means that, even though the game uses all the Spectrum's colour palette, there's no attribute clash whatsoever. Apparently, the concept of a gravity-encumbered snake has been done before in a little-known game called Lime Rick. However, I suspect most people will have neither heard of nor seen this concept before... which is great, because it means Snake Escape will be, for many, a brand new type of puzzle game.

It's available completely free of charge and contains 42 levels in total. So far I've reached level ten, which has introduced a box Snakeface can push around... and which obviously needs to be pushed into that gap which otherwise will trap Snakeface when he tries to pass over it. My head-scratching continues...

Dave E

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