Things are a bit quiet on the software front at this time of year, which is always a bit of a bummer for the Amiga Power team when lunchtime comes around. I mean, Sensible Soccer, Dyna Blaster, Crazy Cars III, Zool and Putty are all brilliant games and all that, but you don't want to be playing all the same stuff all the time.
How conveniently brilliant, then, that this month should see the budget re-release market throwing up some of the grooviest games of all time for us to get back to grips with after losing the original disks all those months ago.
Prising Les and Matt away from Swiv has been practically impossible all month, but when I've managed to beat them away and get to an Amiga. I've been playing Gem'X. Well, some of the time I play it. Lots of the time I just sit and listen to the amazingly beautiful intro music, and most of the rest of the time I just bang my head on the desk and whimper as I desperately try to work out one of the torturously convoluted later levels in this brain-tinglingly tricky puzzle game. Gem'X features a near-perfect difficulty curve, which gently ramps up from embarrassingly easy to teeth-grindingly impossible. But the game's so gorgeously presented (lovely music, heartbreakingly sweet sampled speech, beautiful Japanese-style cartoon graphics, move retractions and adjustable control and everything else you could ask for) that you can never quite drag yourself away from it, however tough it gets.
Gem'X is currently sitting pretty (and we really do mean pretty, by the way) at Number 30 in the Amiga Power All-Time Top 100, but it's not making much of a showing so far in the readers' poll. The reason for that is almost certainly that it was pretty tricky to get a hold of when it first came out, so almost nobody's played it. Now, though, there's absolutely no excuse. Race out to your local software shop, handcuff yourself to the cash desk, and refuse to leave until they sell you a copy of Gem'X. Then go home and handcuff yourself to your Amiga. Why? You might as well - you're not going to be going anywhere else in a hurry.
The Bottom Line
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best puzzle game in the whole world, and it's also the best looking and the best sounding. The best budget bargain since Rainbow Islands. Do yourself a favour and buy it.