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PHAT Professional Burglar
(PHAT Games)


"The biggest QB heist in history"

Breaking into the PHAT Team's ridiculously supply of money will not be easy. And that's exactly what Burgals intends to do! But the PHAT Games programmers, determined to keep their riches, have guarded their assets with a tremendous security system.

Armed only with the best tools imaginable, Burgals begins his assault on PHAT Games headquarters. But who's really one step ahead of the game? Is it Burgals with his multiple bombs? Or is it the PHAT Games members who have the edge? Hopefully it's Burgals, because he's the guy you're going to play in this game!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Except for some rotating arrows, scrolling text, and Burgals himself, PHAT Professional Burglar doesn't have a lot of emphasis on animation. Instead, the game's graphics score comes primarily from it's colorful style. PHAT Professional Burglar is easily the best-looking mini game PHAT Games has ever made, and as of now it's pretty standard for a QB puzzle game.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
There's no music in PHAT Professional Burglar, but PHAT Games compensates by having an assortment of sound effects. While you're choosing how to lay out Burgal's tools, the sound effects chosen for the game consist of clicking and turning sounds, almost as if you're building a machine. Then, when you finally decide to move Burgals, there's some percussion in the back that makes the whole experience feel like Burgals is moving through a hamster wheel. It's a very nice touch, and it's especially satisfying when you've figured out the puzzle and you get to watch Burgals move through the playing field.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
The object of PHAT Professional Burglar is to guide Burgals through fifty maze-like levels. To pass a level, Burgals must grab all the moneybags in the stage without hitting a spike pit, reaching a dead end, or otherwise doing anything else that would impede on making a clean getaway.

The puzzle element in this game begins with the lack of control you have over Burgals. You may only choose his starting direction, with which Burgals starts to wander in that direction until he ricochets off an arrow or mirror, or until he slams into something lethal.

Your challenge in each level is to give a safe path for Burgals and to make sure he captures every last moneybag. This is done in the beginning of the level, where you're allowed to lay a preset number of arrows. If Burgals walks into an arrow, he'll start walking in the direction indicated by the arrow. This is how he can avoid walls and spikes.

In addition to arrows, other items will help Burgals along the way. Red blocks will speed him up, buttons will turn spike traps on and off, keys will open locked areas, and bombs will blow up walls and other unneeded obstacles.

Although quite original, the only weakness to PHAT Professional Burglar is the fact that the game doesn't have quite enough depth to it's fifty levels. It's hard to learn at first but by the twentieth level or so, it gets pretty easy to predict where to put the tools to help Burgals accomplish victory. It would be monstrous to make the game any harder than it is, though... perhaps an addition of a few more objects and tools to play with would help the game during the later levels.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
PHAT Games didn't really think too highly of their game's plot (in fact, their website mockingly claims that "No plot" is one of the features in PHAT Professional Burglar). But while there's no real plot, there is a kick out of being able to play the bad guy for a change. And since burglar-type games are far from being a dime a dozen, the originality of this game is charming in that respect.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Although unalike in every way imaginable, the replay value in PHAT Game's puzzle game is similar to the same feel of a game like Lode Runner. The levels are so fiendishly put together that they almost seem to call you back. Also, although there are only so many ways you can rearrange the various objects and tools in the game, PHAT Games did successfully milk the level layout of the game for all it's worth. Expect to forget how to solve some of the earlier levels by the time you reach the game's end.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
When it comes to challenge level, PHAT Professional Burglar is a puzzle gamer's dream. The gameplay starts pretty easy at Level one since the first ten levels of the game are designed to teach you about the mechanics in PHAT Professional Burglar, but this deceiving challenge quickly accelerates to near impossible by the time you reach the second half of game levels.

The key to getting good in PHAT Professional Burglar is to get used to losing. The clock in the game is incredibly tight, so you don't get a lot of time to think. Many of the mazes you have to guide Burgals through are very enigmatic at first, since there are so many objects to learn and tools to master. But as soon as you develop your skills, get used to the tools that you have, and get an inkling for each level's layout, you'll slowly start strolling through the mazes.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Phat Game's mature QBRPG, Kids of Karendow Chapter One, was the first role-playing game coded in QB to include mini-games. While many of these mini-games have intricate gameplay and helped to carry Kids of Karendow through the more chorish levels of the game, it was still the role-playing elements that held the spotlight.

With PHAT Professional Burglar, PHAT Games finally had a chance to put their mini-game making skills in a big way. The game levels can get annoying at times, but the fact that they are so numerous and perplexing makes this a fun experience if you're really into a challenging puzzle game. And since you have unlimited tries to beat a level and a level select system, you can always come back to play one of the older levels once you've beaten Professional Burglar the first time through.

So to make a long story short, although PHAT Professional Burglar is one of the few PHAT games with an "E" rating for everyone, it's only recommended for the most veteran of puzzle gamers, especially the kind of people who have fallen in love with games like The Adventures of Lolo, The Incredible Machine, and Paganitzu. But even if you're a beginner when it comes to level-by-level puzzle games, Professional Burglar is a good place to start building your puzzle game skills.

PHAT Professional Burglar Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: 6 hours Final Rating: 24/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
wMake sure you run SETUP.EXE to change sound card settings first.
wTo play PHAT Professional Burglar, run "BURGLAR.EXE".

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