The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

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(PieSlice Productions)

"It takes Eight Hours and only One Man to take down a Cyborg Army!"
Recipient of the V Planet Silver Star Award for Graphics

Project "Lebensraum" is a classified military project based on bio-mech weapons and cyborg soldiers. Once headed by Dr. R. Klostermeyer and Professor Timo Garben, Garben assumed complete control over the assignment after Klostermeyer withdrew from the project. Since then Garben has transformed the project into a plot to take over the world.

To prevent the destruction of the human race and to stop the military from dropping a neutronium bomb into Garben's complex (thus killing thousands of civilians while taking out Garben), you've been hired by the CIA to infiltrate Garben's stronghold and wipe out as many of the cyborg army as possible. Take out Garben and the planet will be saved...

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Originally done in QBasic, the raycasting and graphical effects in MUX were redone in C in favor of pumping up the game to a playable framerate. The result is extraordinary: the game's realistic-looking, unique tilesets are enhanced by lighting-effects, floors, ceilings, explosions, and original, detailed character models that are as high in quality as possible without having to use polygon-based models. This combination of originality and execution makes MUX worthy of being the first QB game to earn the Silver Star Award, even if a verdict like this is likely to make the purest of QB coders cringe.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Good)
Pieslice Productions does not disappoint in the sound/music category, serving up an original MIDI soundtrack for the game. Those fortunate enough to get the conventional memory settings optimized for the game will hear several FPS-worthy tunes made by Mark A. Klem, Pauli Merilainen, Bjorn Lynne, and Sig (all in-house talents at PieSlice.)

Sometimes MUX will still run without music, but with sound effects. The sound effects for MUX fit the game's mood, but during intense battles the game's sound effects are poorly buffered. For example, when shooting down an enemy with a chaingun, the enemy will not scream in pain until the chaingun stops firing, sometimes causing enemies to cry out long after they've been blown to bits.

Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
(Very Good)
MUX is a level-by-level first person shooter, most similar in gameplay to Wolfenstein 3D. The object of each level is to reach the exit, which is generally done by walking into a door, defeating all the enemies in the immediate area, picking up all the items and weapons, then proceeding into the next area. Reach the level, defeat the last boss, and the game is beaten.

MUX is also only the second QB first-person shooter to combine the keyboard and mouse. The controls take a little bit to get used to; the mouse buttons are used to shoot bullets as well as strafe, while the keyboard is used to walk around and open doors. The setup takes a little more to get used to, and throughout the game there's no need to look up or down.

As each level is beaten, new enemies and weapons are introduced. The newest weapons are usually the best weapons to use against the newest enemies, and through each addition each game level is designed to provide a new type of challenge.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
The game's low point. While offering an introduction and ending, Pieslice Production's presentation of the game's story relies far too much on story text. As much of two pages of verbose, difficult to read storyline are introduced and the beginning of the game, and the story element of MUX isn't introduced until the very end of the game. 
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
(Very Good)
Very good. The high replay value in MUX is due mostly to the versatile MUXOS. Accessed by pressing the "F1" key, the MUXOS is a great backdoor for gamers who'd like to cheat a little by skipping a level, receiving full ammo, or switching to invulnerability mode. The MUXOS also serves those who've already played the game the whole way through, allowing them easy access to all twenty levels, listen to game tunes, and adjust graphic details.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
Sure, there might be some puzzle elements here and there (like when a button needs to be pushed to open a secret passage hidden somewhere in some of the levels). But with all twenty levels teeming with dozens of enemy cyborgs and genetic monsters, combat is the main reason MUX is so engaging.

When outnumbered, a steady pace, markmanship, and good ammunitions management are the three elements needed to survive. Once the enemy grunts are in the air, the best course of action is to hunt down potential threats before it's possible to get ambushed or vastly outnumbered. Mastery of all the weapons is also important since some levels only offer refills for certain weapons.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Technologically, MUX's graphics are the absolute best in QB, whether compared to pure QB games or QB games powered up by any other combination of external libraries or C support. And with the attention paid to lighting and other effects, it's highly unlikely to see any other QB game have a chance of matching MUX unless the coding group tried incredibly hard to push the limits of QB.

But with that comes the devil's advocate response to games that have some of the best graphics, that great graphics don't matter if the gameplay isn't any good. While above average, the overall entertainment value of MUX is not nearly as mind-blowing as it's graphics. Does that mean that MUX won't offer an entertaining experience for FPS fans and casual gamers alike? Of course not. There's a lot to love about this game, and MUX is a more than brilliant step from the young QBFPS genre. However, somebody looking for breath-taking gameplay analogous to what Perfect Dark was for the N64, Doom was for the PC, or Halo for the XBox should be a little more patient and forgiving.

One of the big races for the QB language is to reach a point where all the top games can battle readily against the best that the early 90s PC, 16-bit and even the PSX generation can offer. This is no easy task for any genre, and considering bottlenecks first-person shooters ought to be the last place to try. Pieslice Productions actually pulls off an FPS that can compare, and even surpasses these heavyweights is some respects. That's proof, given some ingenuity, that the impossible can be done.

MUX Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Arcade/First Person Shooter
Rating To solve: 6-12 hours Final Rating: 26/35

To download MUX (2.00MB), click here.
wThis game is mouse-compatible. Make sure it is hooked up when playing this game.
wTo change the game's sound settings, run "SETUP.EXE".
wAfter changing the sound settings, run "MUX.EXE" to play MUX.

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Game Summary
Coding Group
PieSlice Productions 
Homepage URL
1 player
Final Rating
26 out of 35 points

The Highs: Unbelievable graphics, twenty levels, and original tilesets and music destroy the myth that QB can't be used to make commercial quality  FPSes.
The Lows: Some doors are hard to find, as they can blend readily into the scenery.

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