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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: December 31, 1998
While numerous PC games have been successfully ported to consoles, in recent years there have been remarkably few console games ported successfully to the PC platform. Now, I am not one of those PC snobs who looks down my nose at everything that comes out for the Sony Playstation or Nintendo 64; since I enjoy arcade games, it is only natural that on more than one occasion I see something on a console that I really wish would also become available on personal computers. Usually, though, these hopes are not realized.
One glaring exception to this pattern is the game I am now reviewing, Wetrix, which is developed by the British company Zed Two Limited and distributed by Infogrames Entertainment. This game was released first last summer on the Nintendo 64 platform and has been a smash hit, so now finally PC gamers are going to get a crack at it. In the game, you must carefully place falling block shapes onto a floating surface to form dams, so that when water falls it is contained. The longer you contain the water, the more points you get.
I can just hear the agonizing screams of sophisticated gamers now: “Did I hear ‘falling blocks’? Does that mean this is yet another boring Tetris clone? Go away and let me get back to Half-Life!” That late 1980s game, designed by the now-famous Russian Alexey Pajitnov, has indeed spawned a huge array of mostly mediocre imitations. Even as a real action-puzzle game fan, I must admit I am really tired of seeing the latest twist on a type of gameplay that seems to have largely run its course.
Well, Wetrix is a distant relative of Tetris (you can tell because the names sound a bit alike), but actually this new offering is more similar to other games. It reminds me most of Loopz, a now forgotten game Mindscape released at the beginning of the decade, where the goal is to make continuous enclosures out of randomly shaped blocks. It is a little like Lineup, a game from the Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection, that has you figure out ways to cram different shaped blocks onto a flat surface. In its race against time to contain water it is even a little like The Assembly Line’s Pipe Dream, the classic attempt to keep water flowing through plumbing pipes for the longest period of time. But Wetrix is really better than any of them.
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