Saturday, February 14, 2009


Tengen - 1990 - U.S.A.

I got this game recently as a gift over the Christmas holiday. I've never been a big fan of KLAX, but it was a necessary acquisition in my seemingly neverending quest to acquire all the TG-16 US releases.

The TG-16 port is actually a really, really good facsimile of the arcade original. As far as TG-16 arcade ports go, KLAX is up there with the best of 'em. "Great," you're probably thinking, "KLAX must be a home run." Well, KLAX's arcade-perfect blessing is also it's biggest pitfall.

See, the trouble is that KLAX is a lousy fucking game to begin with. Keep in mind I'm probably the biggest puzzle game whore on the face of the Earth. KLAX is inane, it's slow, and it's boring. The most excitement in KLAX comes when you meet certai
n criteria that allows you to "warp" ahead a certain number of stages. That excitement is short-lived however, as soon as you actually reach the stage you're warping to and the doldrums of the gameplay set in once again. Audio in KLAX consists of "clicks", "clacks", "beeps" and "bloops." There is actually a "sound test" option available from the option menu where I was able to "test" all four sound effects and a couple poorly-digitized speech effects. This would be all well and good, except the game actually lacks any sort of in-game music. It doesn't take long before the clicking and clacking gets reaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllly fucking old.

The silver lining, if you can call it that, is that the game "options" screen really lives up to it's name. Just about every aspect of gameplay is adjustable, from the screen resolution right down to how random the colors of tiles you are given are. Unfortunately, there is no switchable option available in the options menu to toggle ass suckage, so despite the configurability factor, KLAX still remains a first-class KLUNKER.

I was a little excited about picking up the TG-16 version of KLAX, since I've seen many-a-gamer rave about it. Let me just say that unless you already know yourself to be a big fan of KLAX (in which case I'll say you ought to expand your horizons), you're better off spending your money on Puyo Puyo or Implode. You'll have a shitload more fun and get a fancy soundtrack to listen to while you play (imagine that!). Fuck, even Hatris has in-game music.

What an honor.

I'm pretty disappointed that this was the domestic effort we got from Tengen, though they did a fine job with what they had to work with. I would, however, have been much more excited to see the rumored port of Marble Madness come to fruition than this pile of crap. I'm a major Marble Madness fan, and I bet a Turbo port would've been just awesome.

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