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Columns v3.01


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Filename col83.zip (Download)
Title Columns v3.01
Author Ahmed El-Helw (ahmed@ticalc.org)
Category TI-83 Assembly Games (SOS)
File Size 17,350 bytes
File Date and Time Fri Aug 14 01:41:20 1998
Documentation Included? Yes
Source Code Included? Yes



Review by  Benjamin Stauffer
Reviewed on 2004-11-22
Attention span: 7/10 A quick game every now and then.
Controls: 9/10 Clearly stated before each game.
Implementation: 6/10 Two majorly irritating issues.
Overall: 7/10 Okay game, but it could be better.

Columns is a classic puzzle game that any Tetris fan would enjoy. I've been looking for a good SOS or ION port of it. I found this program, and for the most part, it does a pretty good job. But there are a few things about it that really hurt the gameplay. It's still a great game, but I'll state that I was a bit disappointed by it.

Columns is a simple game. Three pieces are arranged in a 1x3 column that falls from the top of the 6x13 playing field towards the bottom. While the column is falling, you can rearrange the order of the gems. Your goal is to create sets of three matching gems horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. When you create a set, it disappears and all pieces on top of it move down.

In this game, the pieces fall from the left side to the right (it's played horizontally), so you need to roatate your calculator (counter-clockwise) to get the real effect. The controls are adjusted accordingly. The field in this game is a bit wider, 7 columns instead of 6. There's 4 modes of play: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impossible. The different modes give different combinations of pieces; impossible uses more different pieces than easy did. The graphics are well-suited for this kind of game, and the instructions are clearly stated.

This game is a pretty good clone, but there's two really irritating issues. First, there is no box showing you the next column. Columns is one of those games where you REALLY need to know what's coming up next. In Tetris, you're forming lines out of familiar pieces, and that can be reasonably done without a "next box". In Columns, the columns are random, and you need to know where to set them before they hit the bottom. It's a pity, too. I mentioned that the field was wide than the normal game's field was (7 pieces wide vs. 6). Using that extra column for a next box instead of making it part of the field would've helped greatly.

Second, the whole column magically appears at the top. In the real game, the column actually starts with the top two pieces above the top of the field, leaving only the bottom piece displayed. This is crucial for pulling off quick moves when your field starts to fill up. In this game, any time you fill up a column of the field high enough, you get to where you can't get the falling column around it. That really can hurt your game when you're near the top.

Still, this is a really good clone of Columns. It's got some issues, but if you get used to them you should be able to enjoy this game.


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Archive Contents
Name Size
readme.txt   1115
ahmed.inc   1509
COLUMNS.83P   4174
columns.z80   46692
COLSOS.83G   4413

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