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GAME FACT: Throw a block at several blocks that have the same pattern for point bonuses.
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Reviews (N-Z)

Plotting

 

MANUFACTURER: TAITO
1
989 (1-2 Players; Simultaneous)


 

 

Overview and game play

Plotting is one of the best puzzle games to have appeared in the arcades during the 1980’s and was moderately successful at the time of its release. It was also converted to several home computers such as the Atari ST, Amiga and C64. 1-2 players can play simultaneously and once coin is required per player. The game area is split in half with an area for player one on the left of the screen and player 2’s area is on the right. The first level is a training stage that enables the player(s) to learn how to play. The objective of Plotting is for the player to control a small blob, (called Amsha), either up or down the game area using the joystick while carrying one of a number different patterned blocks: grey X; blue Taito logo; red circle; and green square. Next to where the blob moves, there is a wall of patterned blocks. Pressing button 1 causes the players blob to slide the block he is holding either in a straight line, or if the blob is positioned higher than the wall, in a straight line and the down. The first block the blob has is one of three wildcard blocks that can be used against any block. If the pattern’s on the block the blob has thrown and the block it hits are the same, the block that has been hit will be removed from the wall and whatever block that was behind the hit block will be returned to the blob to throw at the wall again. The only exception to this is where two or more blocks that are behind or beneath the hit block are the same as the hit block, in which case all those blocks will be removed and the player will receive some bonus points. If the patterns on the block the blob throws and the block it hits are different, the block thrown will be return to the blob to throw again. If there are no blocks behind or beneath a block that has been hit, that same block will be returned to the blob. The player must continue throwing blocks at the wall until only a certain target number of blocks remain, which is specified at the top of the game area. The total number of blocks remaining is displayed at the bottom of the screen so the player can easily calculate how many blocks he needs to remove to meet the stage target. Once the required number of blocks has been removed, the current stage will be over and the player will then proceed to the next stage and continue the game to get the highest score possible.

 

 

During play, it is possible for the blob to have a patterned block but with no corresponding block available or accessible in the wall to throw it at. If this happens, a miss will be declared and the blob will be given a wildcard block to throw at the wall to continue the game. Once three wildcard blocks have been used, (including the wildcard block used to start stage 0) the game will be over. Players must therefore think carefully, especially in the later stages of the game, before throwing a block because the wrong combination of throws can result in a miss being declared.  As the game progresses, stationary barriers appear that prevent the player from throwing blocks at certain parts of the wall. A small arrow appears to show which parts of the top of the wall can be accessed by the player as the blob is moved up and down the play area. This further complication means players must think even more carefully, but players must think fast because a time limit is set for each stage and if the player does not complete the stage within the set time, the game will be over, (except in stage 0, the training stage).

Plotting is an addictive and fun puzzle game and the addition of a 2-player mode has added to the game’s appeal.

 

Graphics

The graphics in Plotting are average for a late 80’s game and are sufficient to convey the on-screen action. The backgrounds of the play area sometimes change and are subdued to allow the player to focus on the blob and blocks. The egg –shaped blob that the player controls is cute and has occasional little bouncing movements even when the player is not moving it. As it throws a block, the blob changes it’s shape to show that its pushing it forward. The blocks are animated well and spin back to the blob in a nice arc movement. Some humour is added when a miss is declared or when the game is over and the continue screen appears as the blob starts crying with tears being ejected from its eyes in a familiar cartoon style. The blob also shows happiness when completing a stage by jumping up and down. These animations add some humour to the game and help characterise the players blob and enhance the overall game play.

 

 

Sound

Plotting features a pleasant in-game tune reminiscent of some Amiga MOD tunes of the late 80’s. The tune is played throughout the game and is interspersed with a small jingle to indicate whether the player proceeds to the next stage or if the game is over. The sound effects are simple but adequate to represent the movement of the blocks

 

 




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