Ocean software, due late November/early December 1990 but unreleased Original score: 80%, issue 3 Read the Commodore Format review Games were becoming more ambitious and complex by 1990, so the […]
- Ocean software, due late November/early December 1990 but unreleased
- Original score: 80%, issue 3
- Read the Commodore Format review
Games were becoming more ambitious and complex by 1990, so the success of simple block puzzler Tetris took the industry aback. A wave of clones and inspired titles quickly followed, ‘course, and this Japanese favourite (フリップル, or Furippuru to give it its Sunday name) is one of ‘em. Ocean got the European rights, and it became Plotting.
In this unreleased GS cartridge version you control a little brown creature called an Amsha. He lives on the left side of the screen and can only move up or down with a push of your stick. The blobby one is given blocks one at a time and it’s his job to match each one up with a block of the same pattern on the other side of the playing area. You do that by throwing it in such a way that it deflects off everything else and hits its twin. Those two blocks disappear, and you get another piece to play with until everything’s gone. This is 1990, so you’ve also got the legally required time limit.
It’s possible to eliminate more than one block at a time by plotting (it’s like when they say the film’s name in the film! – Ed) the right path, and later on things get mashed up when tubes appear that can redirect your block for better or worse.
This Commodore version lacks the two-player mode of some other ports, and it doesn’t have the neat level designer that gave the Amiga version its longevity. That’s disappointing, as the cartridge format could’ve accommodated this stuff. The cracked disk version we played involves some serious loading to allow for a lot of really glossy presentation, so it’s clear that the game was intended for the GS and not shoved on to the format as an afterthought – but fancy screens only carry a game so far. Reviews of the time were accordingly mixed. In ZZAP!’s 1990 Christmas Special, Phil King thought Plotting was “dull” and felt that the cartridge format hadn’t been utilised at all. Stuart Wynne liked the game but couldn’t understand the cutting of that two-player mode either. Over in Bath at Commodore Format Steve Jarratt was more positive. He loved the game’s presentation and the clever design which eventually forces you to think three moves ahead (but he wants to know why you can’t play against a friend too).
It’s a two minutes to pick up, ten minutes to put down style of thing is Plotting. At twenty quid it would’ve been an expensive tea-break game too – had it seen the grim light of a British winter day. Which it didn’t. So…
…WHY WASN’T PLOTTING RELEASED?
Yeah. It’s a funny one, this. It’s something that even Games That Weren’t are yet to get to the bottom of. The story from Ocean at the time was that the game’s code was “stolen”, but that seems to have been the standard fib when stuff went wrong (like with Parasol Stars, for example, when in fact that game had been destroyed by the programmer’s wife following an argument). It really isn’t clear why this one didn’t get to the shops – and we’ve done plenty of asking around! – but it’s certainly true that Plotting C64 has been floating around online for some years: download it here (the game loops after 32 levels, but the CF review suggests this is intentional. You’ve just got a tighter time limit – Ed). CF
CF SAID: “Addictive, once the logic and tactics have been sussed.”
WE SAY: Charming, but eventually dull.