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Dr. Blob's Organism

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  Reviewed by Erica Grossman
June 25, 2003
 
  Type:
Publisher:
Developer:
Action
Cheapass Games
Digital Eel
   
       
 
When I was first asked to review this game, I took a look at the Web site and immediately knew I had to try it out. How could I resist a game that promised squishy, moist sound effects and the opportunity to blast amoebas out of existence? And not only did Dr. Blob's Organism live up to its claims of squishy, moist sound effects, it also impressed me with its simplicity and the short time it took me to become completely addicted to destroying protozoa.

The premise is ridiculously uncomplicated; mad scientist Dr. Blob has created organisms that are trying to escape from their petrie dishes, and it's up to you to stop them before they spread and take over the whole lab (and presumably, the world!). In order to do so, you must use the arrow keys to rotate the petrie dish so the organism is lined up with your blaster and you can shoot it into smithereens. As the levels progress, you are able to earn faster, better blasters and the organisms move and grow faster and gain the ability to block your attempts to destroy them. Several bonus levels are interspersed between the regular levels, and the power progression makes each level challenging and interesting.

When I first opened the game, I started to bemoan the fact that it's a full-screen game. Say it with me kids: Time-killer games shouldn't be full-screen. We play time-killer games when we are waiting for other things and we need to have our other screens accessible. We must multitask! But as I began to play the game, I realized this was no ordinary time-killer game. Yes, I'd play this game to kill time, but I'd also turn on my computer just to play this game. It is one of the few time-killer games to transcend its own boundaries and enter the realm of destination games as Tetris has done. Aside from the fact that it's fun and addictive, the game moves so fast that there is no way in hell that anyone would be able to multitask while playing this game. You need your full coordination and concentration to attack the slimy organisms before they escape, and soon enough you realize that you don't even want to try to multitask while playing this game.

The graphics are static (the game is played as if looking straight down at the petrie dish) but beautifully rendered; the wood grain under the dish is surprisingly realistic. And the squishy, moist sound effects? They're there along with background music that actually doesn't suck!

The only complaint that I had with this game (and what prevented it from getting a perfect 10) was the menu screen's erratic nature. The main menu screen is controlled by the keyboard (like the rest of gameplay), and didn't move smoothly or consistently. Sometimes one hit of the up/down arrow key would move the cursor in a different direction, or skip over options completely. The exit menu screen was even worse. If your game ends before you complete a level, you are given the option of trying the level again or exiting. Clicking yes restarts the level, clicking no exits to the main menu. Or that's how it's supposed to work, anyway. Most of the time I couldn't even get the cursor to highlight no, and when I could, it would restart the level anyway. I was stuck doing the old ctrl-alt-esc to exit the game, and that's just not right.

Aside from that minor annoyance, the game is fantastic. It's simple enough to keep even the most attention-deficit game players fascinated, and addictive enough to keep us blasting away at the organisms into the wee hours of the morning.

Screenshots
(Click to Enlarge)

 
 
Minimum Requirements...
Pentium II 350MHz; 64M RAM; OpenGL 1.1 compatible video card; 32MB hard drive space.
   

 

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