Laser Lock

Puzzle 2000 Windows Langsyne Games Reflex oriented Arcade style

Overly complicated and frustrating puzzler

While the concept behind this strategy/puzzle game is somewhat intriguing, it unfortunately confuses things by being overly complicated and frustrating and can only really be recommended for those with a lot of patience. The basic idea of the game is to save a group of scientists and soldiers from the machinations of a bunch of evil aliens and is combination of puzzle, strategy and artificial life sim. The gameplay unfolds via a 2D representation of a space station, where you can see the various trapped individuals as well as the invading hordes. Your job is to use items like lasers, airlocks and bombs to kill the aliens while minimising human casualties. These different methods use up various amounts of energy, which is only in limited supply and so which must be used with care, providing the game's strategic element. Now, in theory, this sounds like it could be an interesting little puzzler but a number of flaws prevent it from being so. Firstly, the visuals are so bland and unclear that it is far from obvious what exactly is going on. This is further compounded by the less than intuitive interface which just increases the frustration factor to the point where the entertainment value approaches zero. Also, while there are a number of methods available to save the colonists, the results are not always consistent, so despite any plans you might have, you are never quite certain if your approach is going to play out in the way that you expect. While an intriguing attempt at something original, unfortunately Laser Lock cannot really be considered much of a success. Stick to Lemmings if you want a game where you have to save things from an untimely death. It's a lot more fun.

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