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Explosive puzzling fun
If you like your games explosive and clever, with a hint of the puzzling genius seen in the likes of Tetris, Antrun and Lemmings, then this little known gem should be right up your alley. It takes an intriguing premise and turns it into an addictive game which will keep you coming back for more, thanks to its cunning and open-ended design. The basic concept of the game is to blow up buildings, with the player placed in the role of the boss of a demolitions company. The catch here of course is that you can't just go around nuking things with wild abandon to make the biggest explosion possible but you have to meet the needs of each individual client and do the job using the minimum amount of explosive and cause as little collateral damage as possible. Visually, the game is presented in 2D, with buildings showing their cross sections and structural supports to help you make your decisions and you must place your explosives (of varying kinds) into the optimal position to bring everything crashing down. You're also trying to use as few blast caps and detonation wire as you can, while you also have access to dampers to protect nearby structures. Once everything is placed, it's time to hit the trigger and pray that you've got it right. Operation Cleaner really is rather clever stuff and it is undeniably enthralling considering where best to place your limited supplies and it becomes quite nerve racking when you're ready to press the button. The only real problem is that the physics engine is rather simple, which is understandable given the game's age, and which gives rise to some odd and physically impossible situations. Apart from this though, Operation Cleaner makes for an entertaining time.