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At last Domark seem to have hit the big one with
Split Personalities -- it proves that they don't need all the hype and silly costumes to promote a product if it's a good one. What they have here is an extremely addictive and original game. The characters that I've seen (only 4 at the moment) were all easily recognisable, and very well drawn in miniature at the side of the screen. The music is excellent, but there just isn't enough of it -- as soon as you get into the beat of one jingle it finishes! Split Personalities had me hooked for ages -- you'd be stupid not to see it.

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There are very few arcade puzzles on the 64 --
Zenji, Rock 'n' Bolt and Confuzion are the only decent ones which spring to mind -- so it's nice to see a new one appear, especially when it's as good as this. It's all very competent -- highly original and playable (although I still prefer the ageing Zenji) -- and although it has a somewhat limited appeal, it deserves to do well.

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Split Personalities
1986 Domark
Programmed by Mark Greenshields
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the seventeenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: July 21st, 1986).
 

SPLIT PERSONALITIES
Domark, 9.95 cass, joystick or keys


Remember the slide puzzles that you used to play around with when you were a kid? You know, the ones where you have to shunt around squares to form a picture. Well now this breed of puzzle has appeared again, but this time it has changed, growing more vicious and devious in its old age. This metamorphosis is courtesy of Domark, in the form of their latest arcade puzzle game, Split Personalities.

The object of the game is a simple one. Played on a 5 x 5 grid you must slide twenty squares within a puzzle to their correct positions to create a picture of a famous 'personality '. Well, it's not that easy -- if it was it wouldn't be much of a game, would it? No. The puzzle must be completed within a set time, displayed as a diminishing bar at the bottom of the screen, and failure to do so results in the loss of a life.

When play commences the puzzle area is empty. Moving the joystick right brings a spinning cursor out of the box in the top left hand corner of the screen. Moving the cursor back into the box and pressing fire shunts the puzzle squares into view. The squares then have to be moved to the bottom of the screen to avoid congestion at the top.

The walls of the puzzle normally stop the pieces from sliding off, but in the middle of three of the four walls mere are doors which open and close. If a puzzle piece is slid into a wall when the portal is open, then it whizzes straight through and has to be bought back into the play area from the box again. The wall also harbours another hazard -- electric buffers which push a piece back from whence it came. These buffers appear randomly and create havoc on higher levels.

Occasionally bombs are pushed into the playing area when bringing another puzzle piece into view. When one is shunted onto the screen its fuse ignites and you only have five seconds to shove it off screen through an open door. If the fuse burns down and the bomb detonates, than one of your three lives is lost. Bombs aren't the only things which appear on the screen -- other objects also get pushed out of the box and these include pistols, taps, diamonds, fuel, matches, bullets, hammers, ice cream, and cups of coffee. All of these objects have a purpose in the game, and if the correct items are pushed into one another they both disappear and a point bonus is awarded. For example, a primed bomb can be extinguished by shunting it into a tap for a 5000 point bonus.

Pushing a pistol and bullet together multiplies your score by two, and pushing two diamonds together increases your time limit by a minute. A fuel and a match together is trouble -- the resulting explosion takes another life. Other objects -- often associated with the character you're trying to piece together -- also appear. For example, Russian and American flags, and a finger on a button and a mushroom cloud pop out on the President Reagan screen, and can be pushed together for more points. If the wrong objects are pushed together then they both disappear and no score is given.

When you complete a level the computer adds up the bonuses scored and converts any time remaining into points. You can then start on the next character -- and there are quite a number of them . . . Ronnie, Maggie, Sir Clive Sinclair, Alan Sugar, Charles and Di, and Andy and Fergie all make an appearance. Later levels feature more bombs, and pieces start to ricochet off each another.

     

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I really enjoy playing this and I especially like the humour which comes across nicely. It's a sort of arcade puzzle where nifty finger-work and a swift train of thought are the key to completing a screen. One great point is that the game constantly keeps you on your toes, from the very beginning when a bomb is unavoidably shunted onto the screen, to the very end when your time bar is ticking away to just a few pixels and you still have five pieces to shuffle about -- nail-biting stuff indeed! The graphics are really good, with all the characters nicely portrayed, and the sound is happily jaunty, befitting the game. A great game this, original and witty and one which Commodore people ought to own.
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Presentation 90%

Good instructions and suitable options.

Graphics 92%
Excellent stuff. The characters are all well drawn and the puzzle pieces whizz about smoothly.

Sound 93%
A couple of neat little David Whittaker ditties burble away, and the sound effects are great
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Hookability 94%
Once you start playing you'll want to see who comes next.

Lastability 92%
Plenty of hazards on the high levels to confuse and confound for quite some time.

Value For Money 90%
Not overly expensive, and it's original, funny, playable and very addictive.

Overall 93%
Quite simply one of the best arcade puzzles on the Commodore.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (16 Oct 2007)

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