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Alternate Logic Puzzles
(Alternate Reality Entertainment)


"A cavalcade of classic puzzle gaming!"

Over the years, computer retailers have added puzzle games to their software and hardware packages to attract consumers and challenge our minds. The Commodore 64 days brought home Overload, while Windows introduced us to Dominate. Throw in Lights Out and Connect Four... wouldn't it to be great to play all those classics again?

In Alternate Logic Puzzles, you get to play Lights Out, Connect Four, Dominate, and Overload all over again! Play alone, with friends, or against an intelligent computer AI. In which game will you overpower your opponent's minds? No matter which game you try, it's guaranteed to be ingenious fun!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Alternate Reality Entertainment is quite frugal with their tiles; I noticed the same graphics being used for all four of their puzzle mini-games. The only differences I noticed are that you get a number floating on top of the colored tiles in Overload, and that the Overload and Dominate games benefit from the extra color needed to symbolize multiple players.

In background choices, Alternate Reality Entertainment is again a little frugal. A black backdrop makes up all of the mini-games, except for Lights Out (which consists of blue and red tiles). Speaking of which, there's a lot of blue and red to be seen here since Blue symbolizes Player 1 and Red symbolizes player two. So if you're red and blue aren't your two favorite colors in the whole wide world, you're going to have to learn to love them.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Alternate Logic Puzzles doesn't come with sound effects, but they did get a little help from the folks who made the RPG Wandering Hamster for some pretty solid music support. While playing each of the four different puzzle games, you'll be treated to a calm, relaxing song to help ease the pain when you're being thwarted by the computer AI or a sneaky friend. Particularly nice was Alternate Reality Entertainment's song choice for Dominate, U2's With or Without You. Heck, it may not be original, but every tune used gives the game a sort of "thinking" effect.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
Average. If each mini-game here was submitted by itself, the gameplay score wouldn't be so strong since they aren't original. But as a whole, Alternate Reality Entertainment gives a four-in-one puzzle game set with games that blend together pretty well. It's a little hard to explain all four of the games thoroughly, but the game does come with a Readme file to help you out.

Here's the gist of each puzzle mini-game. For Lights Out, you have to turn off all the red lights on the screen before the time runs out. In Connect Four, you have to stack four pieces in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Overload requires you to consume all your opponents by causing tiles to explode, while Dominate is a game where you win by surrounding your opponent with your colored tiles. Confused yet? That's because Alternate Logic Puzzles combine so many different gameplay elements by putting all these games in a tight little package.

In terms of control, the keyboard interface is fine. But the pace of Alternate Logic Puzzles is a little fast, and after a while the mind can begin to drift. This is when some mouse support would have come in handy with this particular game.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Poor) Trying to pull a story out of Alternate Logic Puzzles would be like pulling a rabbit out of thin air; it just isn't possible.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
While the game can certainly be a challenge on your own, Alternate Logic Puzzles is really best played as a multi-player game. Regardless of how well the computer AI is programmed, many of these puzzle games are classics that have been played and emulated many times before. Also, you're bound to be better at one of the puzzle mini-games moreso than the other three, making that one your automatic favorite to run to if things get too difficult. In other words, don't battle too many computer opponents until you're good and ready.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
With four very different challenges to choose from, there's bound to be one puzzle mini-game among the bunch that takes some practice to master. It all depends on which of generation of puzzle games you've grown up with, since each of these games were popular at different times. For example, I'm pretty good with Connect Four and Lights Out, but it took quite a bit of practice until I was comfortable with both Dominate and Overload.

Alternate Reality also stated that the game is near impossible when playing against the full seven possible computer opponents in the multi-player games like Dominate and Overload. I certainly agree with them; I had a hard time handling three computer opponents, let alone seven! Sometimes it feels like the computer players are working with each other to topple you, especially when you're vastly outnumbered. Still, the challenge is adjustable, so you can let off a couple of CPU players when things get frustrating.

As for the Lights Out and Connect Four games, the challenge gradually increases for Lights Out as you clear the levels. Connect Four was a little easy though, and once you know how to beat the computer you won't have a tough time doing it again.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Some games need a little love to be truly enjoyed. Because the puzzle mini-games span across four generations of videogames, you have to learn how to play all four games before you can start having fun. There isn't a demo tutorial to teach you how to play any of these games either, so you have to settle on reading the text file that accompanies Alternate Logic Puzzles to play the game properly. This extra reading can certainly be a chore, but once you finish reading and you get into the game, you'll realize the full genius with which Alternate Reality Entertainment programmed the computer AI in Alternate Logic Puzzles.

There are a few faults in the design though. In the many times I played Overload (which turned out being my favorite of the bunch), the game froze once because I tried an unorthodox move and the green player couldn't find a logical countermove for my turn. Then there's the non-randomness of the computer's technique in Connect Four. But comparatively these faults are somewhat remedied by the game's multi-player support. If you can find some friends, then that's when Alternate Logic Puzzles can really be the tour de force that it's supposed to be.

Alternate Logic Puzzles Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1-8 players
Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: N/A Final Rating: 12/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wTo play Alternate Logic Puzzles, unzip the file and run "PUZZLE.EXE".

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