Supaplex

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Supaplex
Developer(s) Think!Ware Development
Publisher(s) Dream Factory (Digital Integration)
Designer(s) Philip Jespersen
Michael Stopp
Platform(s) Amiga, MS-DOS
Release date(s) 1991
Genre(s) Scrolling tile-based puzzle game
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Floppy disk (1)

Supaplex is a video game created by Philip Jespersen and Michael Stopp, two Swiss students, and published by Digital Integration in 1991. It is an extended clone of Boulder Dash.

History[edit]

Designed as a version of Boulder Dash that could fit onto a floppy disk, the designers had a hard time for this approach in order to create better graphics. (The original Amiga Supaplex version had to fit on a standard 880kB floppy disk and it needed to run on a standard 512kB Amiga like the original A500 or A2000. In fact: The Amiga version could not be copied onto the hardrive due to copy protection and its custom disk format.)

The game comes with 111 levels though many unofficial level sets have been released that greatly increase that number. The game was released for Amiga and MS-DOS. (Two guys from the London region started to program a full version for the Atari ST, but it was never released, because of the limited graphical support.)

Due to hardware dependent programming, the PC version of Supaplex ran twice as fast as PCs became faster. Herman Perk disassembled the game, debugged it and re-assembled it again. The result became known as SpeedFix. Extra features have also been added without changing the game itself.

The developers of the game have declared the software freeware.[1]

Following the game's release, numerous clones and reimplementations for various platforms have been created, with additional features such as updated graphics and non-standard level sizes.[2]

The game[edit]

A partial screenshot showing a few elements of the game

Although the levels must be played in order, the game allows up to three levels to be skipped at any given time. Also, it was very easy to skip additional levels by editing the file that contained the list of levels successfully completed. The game is very challenging, but unlike many Boulder Dash-related games the difficulty comes from solving the puzzles in each level rather than from semi-responsive controls. Furthermore, Supaplex does not use time limits for solving the puzzles, unlike Boulder Dash.

Most objects are identical in behaviour to those in the original Boulder Dash.[3] Murphy replaces Rockford, who collects objects called Infotrons, which are reminiscent of schematic representations of atoms, instead of diamonds. Instead of dirt, the levels are filled with printed circuit board simply called base in the game's manual, and not lined with brick walls, but with computer chips and other hardware, and filled with Zonks instead of rocks. The enemies are moving scissors, called Snik Snaks, and electrons which resemble sparkling stars.

Supaplex introduces a number of new elements that were not present in Boulder Dash, including bugs, pieces of base that randomly cause a life-threatening electrostatic discharges, Ports, which limit Murphy's movement to specific directions, and terminals, which set off yellow Utility Disks. Utility Disks are explosive floppy disks and come in three different colors: Orange Disks work like Zonks, but explode when hit or when falling. Yellow Disks do not fall yet may be pushed in any direction, but not pulled (which allows creating Sokoban-like puzzles), and explode when the Terminal is used. Red Disks can be carried and dropped when convenient, exploding seconds after.

Supaplex is the first Boulder Dash-like game that is not fully grid-based: while the playing field is an obvious grid, the objects do not "snap" from one grid position to another, but can be halfway or "in between" grid positions while moving or falling. This behavior has led to a number of well-known bugs that can be turned to the player's advantage, many of which need to be exploited to complete fan-made levels. For instance, by turning around quickly, the player can cause an enemy or rock to "bounce" off Murphy.

The game also applies "gravity" on some levels, which means that Murphy will fall down empty spaces and will be unable to go back up, unless he climbs up by using bases. Gravity is not actually designated - the player can only notice via trial-and-error.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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