Sunday, July 19, 2009


MindRec - 2002 - U.S.A.
Super CD-ROM

Implode is a curious footnote in TurboGrafx history, being the first pressed-CD released by an independant developer after the "official" death of the console (the last official licensed releases were the "Dead of the Brain" games released as a single package in 1999). Implode hit Turbo Zone Direct's shelves in 2002, but it wasn't until 2005 or so that I picked up a copy. Truth be told, I just wasn't all that excited about the premise of Implode despite my predilection for the genre.

Gain bonus points at the end of each level for every clear line.

Implode proved itself to be a well-executed product after all, and something a little different than what I'd had in mind. At first glance, Implode looks like your typical dime-a-dozen Tetris rip-off but the concept is surprisingly significantly different. Colored blocks stack up one-by-one from the bottom of the screen and it's your job to clear clusters of three-or-more like-colored chunks. You'll get the occasional "wild" block that cycles colors to contend with as well as bombs that will clear all like-colored blocks from the play area. If at any point the stack of blocks reaches the top of the screen, it's game over for you. As inane and boring as this may sound on paper, the game is actually quite entertaining.

The first five or so levels can really drag on, especially once you've gotten the hang of the gameplay but by level 7 or so things really pick up the pace. (Luckily, the impatient can speed things up prematurely by pressing button I.) You'll start out dealing with only three colors, but Implode begins adding new colors every handful of levels. In addition, the speed at which blocks appear increases significantly by level 9 making for a challenge that calls for far less strategy than it does fast reflexes. Music is ambient techno/trance style stuff that I usually utterly despise, yet here it's not only inoffensive but actually works. Visuals are conservative but colorful, though the game could have used some backdrop graphics in place of a black void.

Bye-bye blue.

I ended up getting a lot more out of Implode than I'd bargained for, and it's the fast paced "twitch" action of the later levels that keeps Implode a mainstay of my puzzle game rotation. I also find it somewhat ironic that a game developed by an independant group of dudes in their spare time manages to succeed in so many areas that "big label" titles like KLAX and Hatris are so deficient.

Spin the wheel of fame.

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