Author Topic: ChinnyVision - Klax  (Read 3008 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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ChinnyVision - Klax
« on: 23:13, 01 January 17 »
After the discussion we had about the standard version v the Plus version, I had a good play of it. Only difference I can see are a new title screen, some sound effects and a rather nice fade effect between screens. You have to wonder if they had originally planned to do more enhancements.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ4TLckjnBU[/youtube]
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Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #1 on: 05:58, 02 January 17 »
The GX4000 / Plus machines were so ill fated in retrospect. Had they been released a year earlier, I think more software houses would have felt like they had something to sink their teeth into, especially with the cartridge software.


But waiting until August / September 1990 when the writing was pretty much on the wall for the 8bit market was a death knell in itself. And with programmers already finding the CPC a nightmare to work with, I guess they figured that it wasn't worth putting additional effort learning the new features that weren't going to last pissing time, so any enhancements with the plus machines would have been fairly minimal as a result. It's a shame because there was so much potential there, but combining the short shelf life, along with so many software and hardware incompatibilities that crept up, it was just too little too late.


As it stands, Klax on the CPC was something I considered a triumph. Definitely one of the better games towards the end of the CPC's life and one of the more passable Tengen/Domark arcade conversions given some of the crap they'd churned out that year.  :)

Offline Nich

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #2 on: 12:36, 02 January 17 »
The number of conversions of Klax is quite staggering! This YouTube video from Gaming History Source shows over 20 conversions as well as the original arcade version. I had to laugh at the Atari 2600 conversion - and as Chinny points out, the BBC Micro version looks terrible in 4 colours!

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #3 on: 13:28, 02 January 17 »
The GX4000 / Plus machines were so ill fated in retrospect. Had they been released a year earlier, I think more software houses would have felt like they had something to sink their teeth into, especially with the cartridge software.


But waiting until August / September 1990 when the writing was pretty much on the wall for the 8bit market was a death knell in itself. And with programmers already finding the CPC a nightmare to work with, I guess they figured that it wasn't worth putting additional effort learning the new features that weren't going to last pissing time, so any enhancements with the plus machines would have been fairly minimal as a result. It's a shame because there was so much potential there, but combining the short shelf life, along with so many software and hardware incompatibilities that crept up, it was just too little too late.


As it stands, Klax on the CPC was something I considered a triumph. Definitely one of the better games towards the end of the CPC's life and one of the more passable Tengen/Domark arcade conversions given some of the crap they'd churned out that year.  :)


The thing is Amstrad had veto on titles going onto the system. So they could have said to Domark, 'needs more enhancements' but didn't. But they did tell Gremlin that Switchblade needed more enhancements and had to look better when the game first started. Note all the preview shots in Amstrad Action had a solid red sky!


But what I don't get is why bother doing the hardware fade and sound unless there was something in the contract that prevented straight CPC ports. Perhaps  Amstrad were so up against it that give the contractual agreement had been met they just had to get on with it in order to get the carts made.


It's all odd and nobody from Amstrad has ever spoken out about what the hell went on with these games.
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #4 on: 13:30, 02 January 17 »
The number of conversions of Klax is quite staggering! This YouTube video from Gaming History Source shows over 20 conversions as well as the original arcade version. I had to laugh at the Atari 2600 conversion - and as Chinny points out, the BBC Micro version looks terrible in 4 colours!


Poor old Beeb. It moves OK. Apparently if they had used the 8 colour mode the resolution would have been terrible.


While on the subject of colours, anyone ever try Klax on a GTM65? Can you play it?
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #5 on: 13:49, 02 January 17 »
Weird.  Had error when posting my comment... then I tried again and it said I already had done it but then I look and there's nothing. 


Anyways I was saying I think  I had this game but never got into it but nice to see the CPC having the best 8-bit port again.
Favorite CPC games: SwitchBlade, Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, Turrican II, UN Squadron, Oh Mummy

Offline andycadley

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #6 on: 14:15, 02 January 17 »


The thing is Amstrad had veto on titles going onto the system. So they could have said to Domark, 'needs more enhancements' but didn't. But they did tell Gremlin that Switchblade needed more enhancements and had to look better when the game first started. Note all the preview shots in Amstrad Action had a solid red sky!


Could have, but then they also needed titles to actually ship and so were never going to be overly critical. I think a decent looking Mode 0 game like Klax was probably more likely to get a pass than a relatively simplistic Mode 1 game with no immediate enhancements. Having lots of colours was seen as a key selling point and Amstrad didn't want 4 colour titles gracing every magazine review.

But what I don't get is why bother doing the hardware fade and sound unless there was something in the contract that prevented straight CPC ports.
It might be a simple as the developer wanting to try out the new hardware in some way and going for relatively minor changes to an existing codebase during porting so they could quickly roll things back if it got problematic. The thing about the code for Klax is that it's really weird in the way it's constantly re-locking the hardware back into the original CPC mode. It seems like something the developer wasn't entirely sure how they were supposed to use and so was being overly cautious about. They may even have been under the impression you had to do that, which would have made accessing the functionality very slow indeed. If you contrast it with titles like Robocop2 or Navy Seals (where the developers very obviously have a handle on the machine) they unlock the hardware at boot up and then leave it like that so they can quickly switch it in and out as needed.

Offline sigh

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #7 on: 14:47, 02 January 17 »
In regards to the sound effects of the tiles coming down on the PLUS version, I seem to remember having those sound effects on my 464 with the datatronics 64kb ram expansion.

Offline Nich

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #8 on: 16:04, 02 January 17 »
While on the subject of colours, anyone ever try Klax on a GTM65? Can you play it?

I haven't played Klax on a green screen monitor, but I remember seeing a very unusual listing in AA's Cheat Mode for Klax (issue 75 if anyone's interested) which changed tiles of a certain colour to a different colour. Apparently the author of the listing did it on behalf of a friend who must have had some type of colour blindness and couldn't differentiate between some of the tiles.

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #9 on: 17:23, 02 January 17 »
In regards to the sound effects of the tiles coming down on the PLUS version, I seem to remember having those sound effects on my 464 with the datatronics 64kb ram expansion.


I played on my 6128 and it was silent. Unless they messed up the crack for the copy online.
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Offline sigh

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #10 on: 17:36, 02 January 17 »

I played on my 6128 and it was silent. Unless they messed up the crack for the copy online.

That's strange! I definitely remember the "KLOW KLOW KLOW" sound of those tiles coming down the screen. I don't have my original copy anymore.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #11 on: 03:53, 04 January 17 »

The thing is Amstrad had veto on titles going onto the system. So they could have said to Domark, 'needs more enhancements' but didn't. But they did tell Gremlin that Switchblade needed more enhancements and had to look better when the game first started. Note all the preview shots in Amstrad Action had a solid red sky!


But what I don't get is why bother doing the hardware fade and sound unless there was something in the contract that prevented straight CPC ports. Perhaps  Amstrad were so up against it that give the contractual agreement had been met they just had to get on with it in order to get the carts made.


It's all odd and nobody from Amstrad has ever spoken out about what the hell went on with these games.


The whole handling of the Plus machines was such a mess that I doubt Amstrad themselves actually gave too much of a shit for too long, once 1990 ended, the Megadrive, the forthcoming SNES and the Amiga were the way to go in terms of sales, and Amstrad had two failing brands on their hands if you consider the Speccy +3 being a failure the year before despite TV advertising. Amstrad were looking to cut their losses and run.


Regarding the red sky thing on Switchblade. AA used to use the Multiface II to get their screen grabs for mag shots, and not all those grabs were always accurate for colours, so that *may* explain that.

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #12 on: 18:11, 04 January 17 »

The whole handling of the Plus machines was such a mess that I doubt Amstrad themselves actually gave too much of a shit for too long, once 1990 ended, the Megadrive, the forthcoming SNES and the Amiga were the way to go in terms of sales, and Amstrad had two failing brands on their hands if you consider the Speccy +3 being a failure the year before despite TV advertising. Amstrad were looking to cut their losses and run.


Regarding the red sky thing on Switchblade. AA used to use the Multiface II to get their screen grabs for mag shots, and not all those grabs were always accurate for colours, so that *may* explain that.


AA actually recounted the story of Switchblade IIRC so some improvements had been made. If it was the sky or not I don't know but I do know improvements were made due to Amstrads concern.


Regarding the +3, you are the first person I've heard to say it had done badly in 1989. Certainly the press coverage at the time including New Computer Express didn't reflect this. Amstrad's position was clear, they were fully behind the new CPC's and felt there was too much potential for competition between the +3 and CPC. They'd not had their eye on the CPC for years but this 1990 was different. Amstrad simply decided not to press the button on a manufacturing run in 1990, but there was still enough stock around for it to be in the shops for Xmas 1990 (with no marketing).


New Computer Express claimed the +3 had sold 1 million units. I have no reason to disbelieve them. The Spectrum was still the top selling home computer as a whole for 1989 in the UK. In fact (and don't quote me on this), it managed it every year from 1982 to 1990. Cheap = volume sales.


However the Spectrum did bomb in France despite heavy advertising from Amstrad. In fact surprising they bothered.
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Offline Nich

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #13 on: 20:27, 04 January 17 »
I played on my 6128 and it was silent. Unless they messed up the crack for the copy online.

I've tested both the original cassette and disc versions that are available from CPC-POWER and both of them have no sound effects when tiles are travelling down the conveyor belt.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #14 on: 03:18, 05 January 17 »

AA actually recounted the story of Switchblade IIRC so some improvements had been made. If it was the sky or not I don't know but I do know improvements were made due to Amstrads concern.


Regarding the +3, you are the first person I've heard to say it had done badly in 1989. Certainly the press coverage at the time including New Computer Express didn't reflect this. Amstrad's position was clear, they were fully behind the new CPC's and felt there was too much potential for competition between the +3 and CPC. They'd not had their eye on the CPC for years but this 1990 was different. Amstrad simply decided not to press the button on a manufacturing run in 1990, but there was still enough stock around for it to be in the shops for Xmas 1990 (with no marketing).


New Computer Express claimed the +3 had sold 1 million units. I have no reason to disbelieve them. The Spectrum was still the top selling home computer as a whole for 1989 in the UK. In fact (and don't quote me on this), it managed it every year from 1982 to 1990. Cheap = volume sales.


However the Spectrum did bomb in France despite heavy advertising from Amstrad. In fact surprising they bothered.


The +3 didn't do great as the +2 was still a strong seller, and there the disk library for the Speccy wasn't great at all so there wasn't a great incentive to buy a machine with the same amount of ram and a disk drive with expensive 3" disks and a lack of library. I'd find it very difficult to believe that the +3 in itself sold a million units! The +3 combined with the +2, sure, but not the +3 by itself. Amstrad did spend a small fortune on magazine and multimedia coverage (the ads were all over TV), while leaving the CPC pretty much in the cold that year.


I still maintain that the 464 and 6128 plus would have done a lot better had they been released a year earlier, I don't think the GX4000 stood a chance however, no way was anyone gonna pass up a SMS or a NES for it.

Offline Puresox

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #15 on: 04:49, 05 January 17 »
Right , I'm not trying to piss in the Cpc's Crisps , but My memories of Klax are not as rosy. I haven't yet played the Speccy version or the C64's , but I think I would rate the Speccy version above the CPC's in this case. Tengen did a reasonable job on the Amstrad , but the controls are not quite dialed in ,Not enough to feel you can master the CPC version , The controls are just a little too unresponsive and imprecise .
  I fired the game up again recently hoping to give it another chance. But unfortunately the controls just make the game not a fun experience . It is a shame cos it looks like they made an effort . I also have a slight gripe with the perspective of the Klax runway being wierd.
 Don't want to upset CPC lovers , It is just my opinion on the game . I rave about CPC games as well as moan at them . I'm sure there are many who rate it.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #16 on: 05:44, 05 January 17 »
Right , I'm not trying to piss in the Cpc's Crisps , but My memories of Klax are not as rosy. I haven't yet played the Speccy version or the C64's , but I think I would rate the Speccy version above the CPC's in this case. Tengen did a reasonable job on the Amstrad , but the controls are not quite dialed in ,Not enough to feel you can master the CPC version , The controls are just a little too unresponsive and imprecise .
  I fired the game up again recently hoping to give it another chance. But unfortunately the controls just make the game not a fun experience . It is a shame cos it looks like they made an effort . I also have a slight gripe with the perspective of the Klax runway being wierd.
 Don't want to upset CPC lovers , It is just my opinion on the game . I rave about CPC games as well as moan at them . I'm sure there are many who rate it.


I actually can't disagree with any of this. Although you could get used to the response time of the controls, but they were a little choppy. Puzznic also fell into that category in the same year and they had a real 'walking through treacle' feel to it. Although I did think Klax was a lot more bearable than Puzznic was, controls wise.

Offline Zoe Robinson

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #17 on: 17:20, 14 January 17 »
Quote from: Nich
The number of conversions of Klax is quite staggering! This YouTube video from Gaming History Source shows over 20 conversions as well as the original arcade version. I had to laugh at the Atari 2600 conversion - and as Chinny points out, the BBC Micro version looks terrible in 4 colours!


I have to disagree on the Atari 2600 conversion. Given the machine's very limited capabilities, they've managed to capture the spirit and feel of the game rather well. It's bold, it's definitely easy to work out what's going on and it seems rather fun to play. I like it!


I like the CPC version more, mind you. ;)


But the Game Gear version will always be my favourite, since that's the version I played back at the time. :)

Offline Nich

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #18 on: 21:51, 14 January 17 »
I have to disagree on the Atari 2600 conversion. Given the machine's very limited capabilities, they've managed to capture the spirit and feel of the game rather well. It's bold, it's definitely easy to work out what's going on and it seems rather fun to play. I like it!

Oh, I know the Atari 2600's specs are very limited. I can never get over the fact that it has no screen memory! However, it still looks incredibly sparse compared to all the other versions.

Offline andycadley

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Re: ChinnyVision - Klax
« Reply #19 on: 22:46, 14 January 17 »

Right , I'm not trying to piss in the Cpc's Crisps , but My memories of Klax are not as rosy. I haven't yet played the Speccy version or the C64's , but I think I would rate the Speccy version above the CPC's in this case.
The Speccy version is fine for the first couple of levels, and then the colour clash kicks in and it descends rapidly into a horrible mess where you really can't tell what's going on.