News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 9

system ..... any TOS compatible, at least ST High Res

supports ... BubbleGEM, ST-Guide, Multitasking (esp. Magic), Res. enhancers

tested on .. Falcon TOS 4.o4

genre ...... puzzler

release .... current version o1/o4


Who had thought  that I will do another review of this game in that  short time?
The last  one was  done for  UCM 24 and since  this time, the update  and revamp
actions around this game have made big, very big steps forwards.

But so I just want to include parts of the old review here before I start to dig
around in the updated game...


"PEKING" is  nothing more and  nothing less  than a complete Mah Jong clone, the
puzzle game with the stones mixed on the desk, also in several layers, where you
have to remove  the whole bunch  of stones while  searching the  counterparts of
every  stone  but with  the  problem  that only stones on outer  borders  can be
removed and also  only if they  aren't overlayed by another stone. And since all
stones are included in very limited numbers, it is quite tricky, the smaller the
heap is going.


The many actions  around the game  haven't left back much of it. The biggest new
"feature" is the fact, that pure ST gamblers that just can play on the usual low
res resolutions, can't play the game anymore as it needs "a few pixels" more now
to show the complete stone heap on the screen.

Here it  is a bit confusing that the game is a GEM game but don't offers sliders
on the game window  to resize it and to make it digestible for ST low rez too.
As the game  also refuses to run in med res, ST gamblers just can  dig out their
old SM 124 and  play it there. This  is a big drawback, without  any doubt and I
wonder, why  the author is  still saying  32o*2oo are enough  while the smallest
tile set still needs at least 27o pixels in its height...
That this  really isn't true you can see right after loading the game. The intro
picture (if we can call it so) doesn't  matches onto  the screen anymore and the
informations on  it are completely  mixed up, and so it goes with several menu's
and the toolbox later on, that can't be used in low res anymore.

It looks like that if you start the game in ST Low resolution... arf...

Next problem. The game is optimized for MAGIC or other modern desktops, and this
seems to be the problem that I can't play the game in more than 16 colours on my
Falcon. The whole stone sets are fucked up then, if I try to play with 256 colz.
This is even  more worse as the  Xmas stone  set is just designed for  2 and 256
colours while the other available stone sets, original, traffic signs and flaggs
all support  16 colours, ... BUT... the flaggs don't support the monochrome mode
then... And here  I have to  ask if optimizing  for  Magic-what-else  means that
possibilities that SingleTOS is offering can be kicked out?! Very strange idea.

Interesting is the point that the author announced that the game runs a bit more
comfortable on Multitasking  systems, including  MultiTOS. In fact running it on
a, to say the truth, quite old simple Magic test setup bombed the game instantly
out. Also  a try with MultiTOS ended  in a halted  machine -every- time and so I
tested  on SingleTOS only. I don't know  how it works on good installed and fine
tuned Magic and MultiTOS setups, just try it by yourself.

Anyway, as you can  imagine, 16 colours  in at least 64o*48o makes the game most
playable on Falcon and I have to admit, that the stone sets look quite nice now,
but I still would  like to see  them in higher  colour depths, arf. The original
set offers wonderful drawn stones, the cards set is hard to recognize, the flagg
and traffic signs are ok but not overwhelming and  the xmas set looks very nice,
but only on the homepage of the author...

"playing" in ST Low... :/

The game  offers now  DMA sound  support on the usual machines (STE, Falcon, TT)
and will support also GEMJING in future versions (maybe?) as the button for this
is already included but in the documentation is mentioned that it wont work yet.
The  included  samples  are, erm, just  a few fx, including some  strange speech
samples if you try forbidden moves. If you try to play the game on machines that
don't  support DMA sound you  play in silence  then, no musix, no fx...  another
little drawback to the previous version.

Another feature is that the game supports also BubbleGEM now and so you get some
little  informations while right clicking  on several objects on the screen, but
the biggest  problem is still  ahead... the game is still completely in  german,
including  readme and  so on. Furthermore the german readme is only availble  in
ST Guide format and the help isn't available in the game itself even though I've
ST Guide installed. Dunno about this problem here.

And we  still have  new features  and changes. At first, the countdown of  still
existing tiles was removed, therefore  a help mode where the computer takes over
the next turn is still included. At next a toolbox can be called now that offers
a few icons in a window that feature all the  important game options so that you
don't must  to go into the  desk menu anymore  and with BubbleGEM installed, the
icons in the tool box are selfexplaining, if you understand german language.

The highscore  list is still included  as well as the two player mode, where two
guys can play on the same playfield move by move. Other features like exchanging
the background colours and stuff are included as well but don't change that much
on the game itself.

I have to say, I played around with the game a lot over the past days, it surely
makes still some fun even though it is still very hard to solve. On Falcon, even
without MAGIC or something  installed, it is still good playable, but taking the
focus onto  the ST gamblers that were nice supported with the previous versions,
the sky gets damn cloudy now.
They are damned  now to play in silence and monochrome  only that  doesn't makes
the game that cool anymore as not all stone sets run in monochrome and, overall,
in parts are hard to recognize in just two colours.

Ok... so we reached the final words...

"PEKING" is announced  as some kind of super  game on the homepage of the maker,
but if you don't own a finetuned and steady upgraded MAGIC environment, best way
also Jinnee as desktop, there isn't much left on  here. ST Users get a slap into
their face as they're  nearly kicked  out of the  game. On Falcon  the game runs
quite ok, offers some sounds and nice stone  sets, but wont run  under more than
16 colours as the colours get mixed up then. Before  I forget, best way would be
to  install some resolution  enhancer like Screenblaster  or BlowUp, as a higher
resolution is always better.
But  in the  end I doubt that  the latest revamping  of "Peking" was  the killer
idea, it leaves  just a very splitted  impression  now and falls  obviously back
again behind several other clones of that game idea.


Alive 9