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Creepy Mines 2.5

Quick and dirty: an interesting perspective, good ambience, challenging levels, and a good range of powerups makes this game addicting and fun to play. Slightly clunky graphics and a purely online high score system are the only real cons.

Download the demo here.


The actual review:

It seems like the popular thing to do among game makers is to take old standbys that have had mounds of spin-offs and make them 3D. The one that sticks out in my mind most was the commercially produced Frogger, but there are others. I'm surprised that there isn't some sort of 3D Minesweeper by now, but I expect it's only a matter of time.

Joining the ranks of these retro-classics cum 3D is Creepy Mines 2, an interesting little gem from Dan Lab Games. Creepy Mines 2 (not to be mistaken with the original Creepy Mines which was strictly 2D) takes the classic game of brickout to a whole new three dimensional level.

The premise of the game is simple. You are in a mine. It is creepy. Gather the crystals that are lying all over the place, and at the same time avoid the rather nasty little bugs and flying things that try to complicate your gameplay.

At the bottom of the screen you have your paddle, which is on a mining track that keeps it on the same plane. The small metal ball (or balls, depending on powerups and other things) all roll across the floor, and by moving the paddle back and forth you hit the thing and try to destory the cement bricks that are lying around. Crystals are hidden behind bricks, lying on top of bricks, and occasionally just right out there in the open. When the last crystal has been hit, regardless of whether the bricks are all gone, the level is over.

Admittedly, adding another dimension of play hasn't added that much except a different perspective from any other similar game and the possibility of having to destroy X number of bricks in order to reach the crystals, but it certainly helps to establish the ambience. From swinging lanterns on the early levels to conveyor belts and flying creatures dropping bricks on later levels, the addition of a ceiling allows for much more ambience to be created and well maintained. You are definitely looking into a creepy mine (or dungeon, or toxic factory, or...).

What really makes the game interesting, however, are the little dudes that run around your screen and make life difficult. Different levels have different nasty little creatures in them; the mine level has little dudes that when hit by the ball release the dreaded Moutchik powerup (don't ask me where they got the names), which gives you a paddle half the size of your normal paddle. Trying to avoid the obstacles that show up in your path makes the game much more varied.

Other powerups are called when some bricks are destroyed (as far as I can tell, this is largely random). All powerups change give you a new paddle, be it a magnetic one, one with an unlimited amount of extra balls that you can shoot (which basically wins you the level as long as you keep it), or one that is just huge. Figuring out how best to use these powerups takes a little skill, and basically just adds to the fun.

This is basically just an addicting little game, well executed and fun to play. The camera by default follows the paddle, which can make judging distances a little difficult, but for those who don't like this it is quite possible to make the camera show the entire area and stay in one place through the Options menu. The graphics tend to be a little square edged, but it isn't a big deal. For a shareware game, they're pretty impressively used.

The game has five levels, each with a large number of stages to work through, and promises to give anyone a good long amount of playing time. An online high scores system allows you to see where you are at against other players on a day to day basis (highest of all time high scores are also available on the website), and a passphrase system can help you out if you get stuck on a particular level (assuming that you can find the passphrase you need online). One downside of the passphrase system, however, is that you have to make sure you jot down the passphrase of the level that you finished on, or you will have to start over at the beginning when you run the program the next time. This isn't a big deal, though, especially since the passphrase of the last level you completed is displayed on the Game Over page.

As of the 2.5.1 update, the game also supports 3D anaglyph glasses, but since I do not own a pair of these I cannot say how that changes the game. Anyone who does own a pair is welcome to leave a comment to let us know how that aspect works.

Why the rating: I found this game to be a very fun distraction that could be played for just about any amount of time, and often, because of its addicting nature, made that amount of time longer than it probably strictly should have been. At $19 it is well worth the money it costs to register, and the demo allows you to play just enough levels to be able to decided whether it's a game for you. The graphics can be clunky and square (most of the time) but this is definitely a forgivable sin. Overall, I personally really liked this game, but must admit that it will not appeal to everyone (and the high scores which are only online could indeed be a pain for those with dial-up access), hence my giving it an eight. It is definitely worth checking out the demo and giving it a try, though.

Edit: I've adusted the rating for this game down to a 6. This is because while it is a good distraction, it is not as polished as I would like (and it has not withstood the test of time; I do not find myself playing this game very much any more). Realistically it probably deserves a 5, but this game (like so many of the ones that I've reviewed so far) gets a point bump for its unique approach to an old theme.

Posted on June 11, 2004 at 11:02 am
Games Playing:
Star Chamber
Kill Monty
 
Reviews:
Feeding Frenzy 2/16/2005
   
Gish 8/26/2004
   
tranquility 7/15/2004
   
Creepy Mines 2.5 6/11/2004
   
iConquer 5/27/2004
   
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