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

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Squealer TNT
(Piptol Productions)

"Teaching Bad Pork a Lesson is A Blast!"

It's not easy being Wesley the pig-- especially when your days of living in peace are rudely interrupted by Biff and his posse of psycho pigs! But you're a pig, not a mouse, and you've just what the doctor ordered to put these colored bullies in their place; a cartful of bombs and a steady supply of TNT!

Whether it's by playing Pig Tales or playing with a friend in Blast Fest mode, Squealer TNT is a pork lover and a Bomberman lover's paradise! Can you discover the leader of this ruthless gang and return to your normal lifestyle of picnics and storytelling before you get caught in the crossfire, or are your days in the pig pastures numbered?

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Good)
Squealer TNT's graphics get the job done, and at times are highly amusing. The sprites are drawn with no shading but they are drawn well and the completeness of them justifies their detail (there are animations for all eight directions for many different pigs). However, the backgrounds need work, often being one very large but poorly digitized tile repeated. In addition, "craters" are merely dark circles. But other than that, there is excellent attention to detail that may not be noticeable at first glance.

Squealer TNT is also packed with special effects. A flashy special screen congratulates you when you have a perfect match, while simple but well-drawn explosions litter the battlefield. Slideshows with lots of graphics progress the story, and even little animations of pigs running across the screen add an extra bit of flare to the presentation. Overall, the background detracts enough that the game would be only "good", but the victory dance managed to make me laugh out loud, which is something that rarely happens. 

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Pigs squeal and bombs boom! A catchy fast-paced folksy tune opens, lasts the duration of each level, and signals victory or defeat, in a true arcade style, reminding me of many one-screen arcade games. But that's where it slips. This is all great - but like the games of old there is only one song, and the same sounds are used for all pigs and most bombs. This gets old after awhile, so while it's great sound, it's repetitive sound, which keeps it from doing better.
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
Squealer TNT has a very unique style of gameplay that involves throwing bombs at other pigs and dodging bombs thrown at Wesley. All of the action takes place on one screen, but like many one-screen arcade games, the action is built around this. This formula of gameplay doesn't change, but becomes more complex as the player passes stages.

At the start there are only 3 types of bombs, the standard timebomb, the powerful TNT, and the chain bomb that destroys other bombs. At the end of each stage, a boss wields a new kind of bomb, and at the end of each level a new kind of bomb is introduced. Overall there are 6 very different bombs, and the variance moves the gameplay forward. In addition to new bombs, new enemies appear as well. The pigs are distinguishable by color, and vary in different AI, speed and strength. 

Instead of gradually increasing intelligence, AI tends to take on the form of traits. Some pigs with hurl a bomb at Wesley the instant they find it, while others wait until Wesley is in their line of sight to hurl their projectile. There is even a "suicide" pig that chases Wesley and destroys his bomb when they come in contact. With all of this, and even good pigs - pink ally pigs that aim for baddies instead of Wesley, the gameplay is very complex and varying. The massive number of ways to play keep it simple to learn, but almost infinite in terms of the skill level the player can obtain.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
A short slideshow introduces and continually tells the story of Wesley, a pig who takes up arms after being confronted by the bully pig Biff in the park. It's not a very interesting one, and it gets downright silly at times, but it ties the game's events together. Overall, it serves to tribute the old arcade game of which it is based, Psycho Pigs LXD (whose protagonist appears in the form of the aging "Mr. Hog"). The slideshow that accopanies each level is amusing, but often leaves the player with a "huh?" feeling. It is complete, and well done, but lacks a certain element that keeps it from being great, and it's probably the plot.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
The story mode, with no deviation from the same levels becomes repetitive, but it begs a certain addiction which makes it easy to come back to. I found myself playing this game for great lengths until I beat it, and it's never The multiplayer mode in the end becomes its saving grace and keeps its from being stale. The multiplayer and the style of gameplay that throws new and unpredictable challenges at the player earn Squealer TNT a great score in replay value. 
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
It may look easy, but keeping track of all the bombs and pigs on the screen is a major task, and surprise hits can quickly run down the number of lives you have. Custom battles can up the ante for the more experienced players, leaving a seeming infinite level of skill. This game is not easy, and sometimes downright frustrating, but not to the point where you want to quit. Piptol took great measure to balance the difficulty, and it paid off. It even took this reviewer months to complete the game, cursing V Planet's "finish the game" policy as he played.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Fun is definitely the focus of Squealer TNT. It is lighthearted, funny, and entertaining. Even the idea of little pigs running around throwing bombs at each other embraces the theme "kooky". Often time it's the simplest games that become the most fun. Pacman, the best selling game of all time, is one of the simplest concepts around. Many other classics: Q*bert, Zookeeper, Asteroids, Tetris, and of course the game upon which "Squealers" is based, Psycho Pigs LXD, they all come from a simple concept that was executed to perfection. The theme, well-done multiplayer and masterfully crafted gameplay style make Squealer TNT one of the most fun games to come around in awhile in the independent gaming scene, picking up fans outside the QB community, and even finding an audience with non-gamers. Pick this one up, and you'll never regret it.

Squealer TNT Reviewed by Toonski

Players 1-2 players
Genre: Arcade Game
Rating To solve: 6-8 hours Final Rating: 29/35

To download Squealer TNT (820KB), click here.
wIf you want to run Squealers TNT without sound, run "NOSOUND.BAT". Otherwise, run "SQUEALER.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Piptol Productions
Homepage URL
1-2 players simultaneous
Final Rating
29 out of 35 points

The Highs: Twenty levels of pig-blasting mayhem are backed with a high challenge curve that's actually fun to play through.
The Lows: The days waiting for Squealer TNT 2 to come out with it's coveted two-player simultaneous story mode are long and painful.

V Planet! Archive
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